Rayona Sharpnack is the founder and CEO of the Institute for Women's Leadership, an organization renowned since 1991 for its groundbreaking initiatives in leadership and organizational effectiveness. Drawing from highly successful careers in education, professional sports, and business, Sharpnack is an inspirational teacher, coach and mentor to senior executives across industries. She is also co-founder of GenderAllies, an alliance of inclusion professionals committed to full gender partnership.

Sharpnack's clients include Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, universities and nonprofits, including Pfizer, Gap Inc., Hertz, Cardinal Health, Teva Pharmaceuticals, Microsoft, Proctor & Gamble, Hewlett-Packard and World Pulse. Her masterful approach takes complex theoretical concepts and distills them into memorable and easily grasped learning. More than 20,000 women and men – from mid-level managers to C-suite executives – have relied on her and the Institute for Women's Leadership to coach them to achieve breakthrough results both at work and in their personal lives.

Her pioneering work has earned her numerous awards and appointment as Chairwoman of Leadership Development on the Women's Leadership Board of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.

Sharpnack has presented her outstanding achievements in advancing women leaders and building high-performance organizations to prestigious institutions and associations such as:

  • Harvard University
  • Stanford Business School
  • U.C. Berkeley's Hass School of Business
  • State of the World Forum
  • Canadian Federal Government
  • Australian Federal Government
  • Leadership America
  • Professional and Business Women of California

National publications, including Fast Company and The New York Times, have showcased herleadership model. The core of Sharpnack's success is a methodology she calls Leading by Context.

This paradigm-shifting approach is detailed in her book Trade Up: 5 Steps
for Redesigning Your Leadership & Life from the Inside Out.
Sharpnack is also a contributing author to the books Enlightened Power: How Women Are Transforming the Practice of Leadership and Goddess Shift: Women Leading for a Change, which counts Michelle Obama, Suze Orman and Oprah Winfrey among its contributors.