How to Discover Yourself | Sharon Birkman Fink | Purse Power

Jean Kelley Interviewer
Jean Kelley Interviewer

Purse Power

Ep. 247 - Sharon Birkman Fink is the chairman and CEO of Birkman International; she is the second generation at the helm of the family-owned behavioral and occupational assessment company. Interviewer Jean Kelley is a leadership development practitioner; she and her associates work with students to find a college major and work with parents who are investing in their children's future. In this episode, Jean interviews Sharon on the history of Birkman assessments and her duties since she took over the company’s leadership from her father. Listen in to learn about the power of being an inclusive, humble, resilient, compassionate, and curious leader. You will also learn how the Birkman assessment can help you understand your personality and the kind of leader you are.

Key Takeaways:

  • How to be an inclusive, humble, resilient, compassionate, and curious leader
  • How the Birkman assessment and coaching can help you understand the kind of leader you are
  • Start honoring your interpersonal needs like you do your physical needs for your wellbeing
  • Why you need to be at least 21 years to get accurate results from the Birkman assessment
  • Why good empathy and social skills are the right qualities of a good CEO

“Seventy percent of the time, we as humans behave in such a way that is not necessarily the same as how we want to be treated.’- Sharon Birkman Fink

In this episode you will learn:

Sharon on how her father’s leadership role in World War II inspired him to start Birkman [5:01]

She explains how she ended up taking over Birkman’s leadership after her dad’s retirement [12:57]

The power of having a reliable team to help you accomplish your duties as a leader [16:30]

Why she delegates operations to different department heads since it’s not her stronghold [19:22]

The similarities and differences that show up for people who take the Birkman assessment test [20:53]

How the Birkman method can help people choose a college major or career direction [23:17]

How the Birkman assessment can be used in smaller companies for career transition and pathing [26:33]

Birkman assessment benefits in helping you honor your phycological and interpersonal needs [31:45]

She describes Birkman’s two types of consultants plus the type of clients they target [36:43]

Success stories of the Birkman assessment plus the right age to get accurate results [39:54]

The work Birkman does with churches and schools as part of their community service [45:49]

Why married or engaged couples should opt to do a Birkman assessment [48:27]

The data that Birkman provides to help you understand the real dynamics of your relationships [50:41]


Sharon Birkman began her role as Birkman International’s President and CEO in 2002, becoming Chairman & CEO in 2019. As the daughter of company founder and influential industrial-organizational psychologist, Dr. Roger W. Birkman, Sharon cultivated her deep expertise in human perception and organizational behavior through her lifelong interest in The Birkman Method. Before succeeding Dr. Birkman as CEO, Sharon served in several roles including Vice President of Corporate Relations, Training, and Career Coaching.

Sharon’s leadership has been instrumental in ushering into a new era of product development, technology, and training initiatives during a time of unprecedented growth.


Sharon and the business have been recognized with a multitude of awards. These include EY’s Entrepreneur of the Year in 2016, the Women President’s Organization’s Mary Lehman MacLachlan Award for Economic Empowerment in 2017, Houston’s Best and Brightest Places to Work For from 2014-2020 and 2022, National Best and Brightest Places to Work For (2014-2020), the Houston Business Journal’s Women Who Mean Business Award in 2017 and 2018, and as a Houston Power 50 Woman Leader in 2018.


Sharon volunteers her services as a Board Member of Houston Public Media (NPR and PBS), Goodwill Industries of Houston, and as a lay-leader for Chapelwood United Methodist Church. She also served as a long-time Board member for ESCAPE Family Resource Center.


She co-authored the book “The Birkman Method: Your Personality at Work” (2013) and authored the book “Creatures of Contact” (2020) by ForbesBooks.


Sharon has an M.A. from the University of Texas and is a graduate of the Harvard Business School’s OPM (Owner/President Management) program.




Donna Miller is the founder and CEO of Purse Power, Let's Share the Journey. Purse Power promotes women-led, women-owned businesses by providing a Google extension that allows everyone who visits your website to locate nearby businesses.

Let's Share the Journey holds calls at 10 AM Central every Friday to learn from national leaders to share expertise, ideas, and support. One week a month features Zoom Room networking. We support Donna's endeavor and have provided the speaker calls in a podcast format. Please join her on Friday mornings! You can register for the calls here.

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