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Learn more about Sharon Hwang, our chief operating officer, and one of the Most Influential Women in Arizona for 2019 by Az Business and AZRE magazines.

GPEC Chief Operating Officer named one of Most Influential Women in AZ for 2019 by Az Business, AZRE magazines

Chosen out of nearly 2,000 womenSharon Hwang, our chief operating officer, has been named one of the Most Influential Women in Arizona for 2019 by AZ Business and AZRE magazines. She was one of 40 candidates selected by the magazines. 

Hwang’s excellent work ethic and attention to detail has made us a better economic development organization, and we are thrilled for her to continue pushing and improving our organization. We spoke with Hwang about her proudest professional achievement so far, favorite part about living and working in the region, and more.

Tell us a little bit about your role at GPEC:  

My job is to champion and challenge the team in its relentless pursuit of our mission. Daily tasks range from strategic brainstorming with our governing board to enhancing our internal processes.

What is your favorite part about living and working in Greater Phoenix?  

Access – both figuratively and literally. As one of the youngest top metros in the world, Greater Phoenix lends itself seamlessly to a myriad of professional possibilities and welcomes individuals. The vibrant juxtaposition of institutional enterprises and startup garages is unparalleled. Unlike in the eight other cities I have lived, I have easy access to parking, fresh produce, doctor’s appointments, you name it. I do not take any of that for granted.

What is your proudest professional achievement so far?  

Anything and everything I have done well has been under the aegis of a strong mentor, which I define as someone who truly, selflessly invests in another. My proudest professional achievement is to have proactively sought and earned the continued attention of the most dedicated mentors (including my parents) across multiple industries, successes and failures. I am lucky. 

What does being recognized as one of the Most Influential Women in Arizona for 2019 mean to you?  

At this point in my career, I have actively participated in a dozen professional and volunteer executive and advisory teams. This experience qualifies me to genuinely proclaim that GPEC’s leadership is one of the most dedicated, driven and cohesive teams with whom I have ever collaborated. They each spend 3,000 hours a year teaching me about how to contribute to the region. This recognition to me means that I have been a good student.

How do you stay organized?  

Lists, lists, lists… and a patient husband who supports my ardor for lists.

What do you like to do for fun?  

Binge-watch almost anything. I am the reason why subpar content is created.

What do you enjoy most about working in economic development?  

An old proverb says, “A society grows great when people plant trees whose shade they know they will never sit in.” Working in economic development means I get to be part of a cohort of like-minded servant leaders who ultimately share the same unapologetic agenda: to advocate for the current security and future prosperity of regional economies.

What advice do you have for other women in leadership? 

During our most recent team retreat, our head of research and analytics reiterated the century-old notion that we are prone to judging ourselves by our intentions, but others by their actions. My reminder to anyone, including myself, would be to minimize the double standard, and be as forgiving and demanding with others as you are with yourself. 


Congratulations to all the honorees! Meet the rest of them here.