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Vol. 12, No. 41, April 24, 2000

 Portrait of a Rotarian: Sharon Edberg

Sharon Edberg
Sharon Edberg

Thirteen years before she became the BBRC’s 13th president, Rotary was forced to admit women into membership. Sharon Edberg has been down that road before and has carved a successful career as a manager and consultant to various non-profit endeavors. A native of Mankato, MN, Sharon’s father was a farmer. She attended Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, MN, a liberal arts school with an opportunity to forge a business degree, with a minor in music.

Her first job was in market research for Proctor and Gamble. Her work took her to Seattle for the first time and she was impressed. During that period, she met Gordon Edberg at a mutual friend’s wedding and within a year, the two were married. Gordon is from St. Paul and attended the University of Minnesota.

Gordon’s course of study was architecture and he took a job with Ellerbe, a Seattle architect. The couple then moved to Anchorage, where Gordon was assigned, but returned to Seattle five years later when he joined a group of architects opening their own firm, Edberg, Christiansen and Heidenreich (ECH), which is in business successfully to this day.

Sharon, after raising her two children, began working in the not-for-profit arena. One of her first jobs was to coordinate the volunteers for the Street of Dreams, which jointly co-sponsored the event with Children’s Home Society. She followed consulting not-for-profits for a number of years, until about ten years ago, when she entered the workforce full-time.

Sharon’s first position was as Director of Planned Giving for the Red Cross, where she worked in areas of strategic planning and board development. Her next position was with Wesley Homes Retirement Community, where she was the driving force behind development of the community’s Foundation.

Sharon has just completed her first year in a new position as Executive Director of the Northwest Burn Foundation. This organization provides burn prevention education and support services to burn survivors and their families. “We sponsor a successful summer camp for over 100 youngsters, ages 7-17, at a camp near North Bend. The Foundation was established in 1982 … we now have a staff of nine, with offices in Ballard. There is a huge need for our services.”

Sharon cited programs in scald prevention aimed at the parents of children 4 and under. “We do programs in the schools, with our primary focus on young parents. We have a kit they can request free of charge and good information on what to do if someone is burned.” The NW Burn Foundation works closely with Harborview by maintaining three apartments close to the hospital for family members of burn victims undergoing treatment and paying the salary of a doctor who brings service to the burn survivor support group. The Foundation serves a five-state area, Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Montana, and Alaska.

In addition to her current job, Sharon serves on the Board of Trustees of the Children’s Home Society and is a past president of the Washington Planned Giving Council. She recently stepped down as Co-Chairperson of the Leave a Legacy Project.

The Edberg children are Kyle, a CPA for Hagen Kurth & Perman in Seattle, married to Heather, who is completing her PhD in Chemistry at the UW; and Kim, a graphic designer for Gervin in Seattle. The Edbergs have recently moved from Mercer Island to Fremont, making the morning commute easier for both Sharon and Gordon. Gordon just completed his two-year term as Mayor of Mercer Island, after serving eight years on the City Council.

As far as Rotary goes, Sharon has been a mega-active member since joining in August of 1992. Howard Johnson was her sponsor, Bob Moloney was President. “I remember thinking that there must be something special about this club with a guy like Moloney cavorting around as president. I’m a morning person and I loved all that action in the morning!”

Sharon jumped right in and became the Raffle Site Coordinator. She was also a member of the Foundation Committee and Club Service II Director. Then, in 1997, she was elected to the post of President-Elect, serving under Chuck Barnes. She became the Bellevue Breakfast’s 13th president on July 1, 1998.

Her Rotary memories include several work parties where the people being helped pitched in and were so grateful for the Club’s effort. She remembers, particularly, Sue and Ron Healey and Bob McKorkle at those events. She fondly remembers handing out door prizes at the District Conference in Wenatchee during the reign of Governor Dick Clarke . “How could you forget the wonderful Rotating the Wheels banquet at Sadru Kabani’s home … I even had a song dedicated to me!”

“PETS, the President Elects Training Seminar, always validates how great the BBRC really is, when you hear from so many clubs who have ongoing problems. My attendance at the Indianapolis Rotary International Convention showed me about the enormous size of Rotary … thousands of people from all over the world attending. It was a real eye-opener for me.”

This next Rotary year, Sharon will serve as Co-Chair of the District Conference, to be held in Vancouver, B.C., April 26-30. As for her, Rotary “makes the opportunity for wonderful friends as well as providing extremely meaningful community service that you just couldn’t do by yourself.”

Obviously, Sharon Edberg loves Rotary and continues to serve in most meaningful ways.


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