Shattering Glass Ceilings
Though she never described herself as such, Dr. Lord is recognized as a pioneer of the Women’s Movement in the 1960s and 70s, and has successfully argued for women to take on new positions and responsibilities in government, business, and the military. She has debated traditional thinkers such as James Kilpatrick at the National Press Club and Phyllis Schafly on regional television, persuading even hostile audiences to evaluate concepts out of their personal comfort zones.
At the University of Tennessee, she faced an Athletic Board who was convinced that “nobody would ever pay to see girls play ball,” explained to them about new legislation in the Civil Rights Act (Title IX) that would require universities to begin funding women’s athletics, and secured the first school funding for women’s sports teams.
From 1974 to 2016, the University of Tennessee was home to Pat Summitt, the winningest basketball coach in the NCAA (Men’s and Women’s Divisions) and to Lady Vol teams that are champions in multiple sports. (The Lady Vol Basketball Team Locker Room is named in Dr. Lord’s honor.)
Coach Summitt noted that “this awesome woman has broken more glass ceilings than you can imagine.”
Summitt described Sharon as: “an internationally acclaimed leader, management consultant and motivational speaker with a distinguished career in academia, business, and public service, Dr. Lord has devoted her life to ’empowering individuals and organizations to unleash their full creative potential: building bridges of understanding across genders, races and cultures; and anchoring the female principle on the planet.'”
In New Zealand, Dr. Lord was the inspiration for the creation of the Women In Management Network, and was keynote speaker at its first meeting in 1984. She also blazed a new trail by becoming a fellow in the Australian Institute of Management, one of only two American women to earn this honor.