Sharon Jackson, Founder and CEO of the European Sustainability Academy, Crete (ESA) is also Director of Carlton CSR Ltd. UK, Associate Faculty at Cranfield School of Management (since 2003), Associate Scholar at University of Cumbria, Institute for Sustainability and Leadership (IFLAS), Visiting Lecturer at Murray Edwards College- Cambridge University (Gateway Programme) and Visiting Research Fellow at Athens University of Economics and Business.
Business & Strategy, Environment & Sustainability Leadership, Collaboration & Team
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“The Green Leader”
Sharon Jackson, Founder and CEO of the European Sustainability Academy (ESA) is also Director of Carlton CSR Ltd, Associate Faculty at Cranfield School of Management, Associate Scholar at University of Cumbria, Institute for Sustainability and Leadership (IFLAS), Visiting Lecturer at Murray Edwards College and Visiting Research Fellow at Athens University of Economics and Business.
The topics of sustainability, green economy, responsible leadership are no longer aspirational goals for corporates, they are mandatory requirements to ensure that we as a species have a habitat on this planet in the future. But with little guidance, organisations are left confused and frustrated with how to incorporate new policies into their existing culture… which is where Sharon’s expertise transforms the workplace.
Sharon fully understands what situations companies are currently in and the complexity of strategic change due to her extensive first-hand experience. In her 20s she was awarded her first board appointment and continued to hold many international senior executive and directorship positions over the next 30 years. Her roles always have a focus on responsible business development, leadership and strategic change in both enterprises and NGOs.
In 2011 she built the European Sustainability Academy (ESA) in Crete as a bespoke, off-grid, biophilia designed, immersive and experiential learning, international centre for sustainability leadership development. Her diverse business skills include international business development and implementation of global trading agreements. Her vision to build ESA evolved from her extensive global experiences in business and academia and a personal frustration at ‘ineffective’ approaches to leading sustainable businesses.
Before embarking on a teaching and research career in 2000, Sharon worked for 15 years in senior roles in the electronic component sector, developing business through global distribution and OEM supply chains.
In 2000, she gained her ‘Certificate in Further and Adult Education Teaching’ and left the industry to develop executive learning programmes in the context of leading responsible business principles at the core of business strategy. Since then she has developed ground-breaking ‘Corporate Responsibility Leadership’, immersive learning programmes for directors and senior managers which are delivered in wilderness and mountainous places of natural beauty in Europe, Australia and China.
Sharon believes that every business must adapt to be a ‘sustainable enterprise’ and in a fast changing ‘VUCA’ world where ‘certainty’ no longer exists, business leaders and senior managers need to learn new skills for ‘Adaptive Leadership’ in organisations. This includes focussing on developing a sense of ‘Sustainable-Self’, personal adaptation and resilience for surviving and thriving through times of change.
Sharon designs bespoke learning programmes which include practical application of the findings from her own longitudinal research interest in how human sense-making and social identity are at the core of converting intention into ‘collective and individual action’ in organisations. Her programme designs include Action Learning, Story-Telling, Stakeholder ‘deep understanding’, immersive learning processes and blended learning (online groups) to unpick the complex issues of making sense of sustainable business, values driven leadership and ethical decision making.
Each September, at ESA- Crete, Sharon hosts a Women Empowerment (WE) facilitated knowledge sharing, ‘rich’ learning event and annual awards gala. She has also curated and hosted TEDxDrapanosWomen, the first TEDxWomen event in Greece.
Overall, Sharon stimulates innovative and profitable businesses to align values-based leadership with organisational sense-making.
Back casting and horizon scanning –m aking sense of sustainability in Tech
- How to make sense of sustainability in organisations
- How to engage others to convert sustainability intentions in to action
- Resilience and adaptation in the face of climate emergency
- The positive impact of Green Building and Biophillia design on health and well-being
Sharon will touch a nerve in you that’s hard to ignore. I attended a CSR Leadership Forum in Tasmania with Sharon in 2004. The following year I was running Australia’s first CSR Summit and subsequently founded Models of Success and Sustainability – better know as MOSS – Australia’s Industry Body for Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability. Sharon spoke at our first Summit and has been a great advocate and supporter ever since.
If you want to awaken what it means to be a responsible Leader or business entity and embed sustainability into your business, government or community and are based in Europe – then Sharon is someone you must meet and connect with. Her knowledge, wisdom and passion has led her to live sustainability in every regard. Her centre in Crete a model of best practice. I hold Sharon in the highest regard both personally and professionally and credit her for where I am today. So don’t delay – if you want to change your world and enhance your business, connect with Sharon.
Anne-Maree McInerney, Sustainability Innovation, Education and Investment!
Sharon is a passionate, unstoppable force. She works tirelessly for a better understanding of what sustainability means in all its complex aspects, and how each of us can – and must – make a real and meaningful contribution to building a better world.
David Dowse, Communications, Training, Writing
Sharon is ‘passion for sustainability’ personified. A true, genuine sustainability advocate committed to drive positive change and impact to companies, organisations as well as individuals. A gifted public speaker who is able to draw the attention of the audience and keep it to the very last moment. An educator, researcher and author, Sharon walks the talk and converts ‘intention into action’. Her ability to develop and deliver sustainability leadership learning programs and action plans through effective stakeholder engagement ensure unparallel quality of capacity building and professional competencies development.
Michael Spanos, Founder & Managing Director, Global Sustain Group
Sharon is a leader and forerunner within the global sustainability sector. She’s a highly experienced and knowledgeable educator and has both an academic and practical background, the proof being in the European Sustainability Academy in Crete, which she has raised with her bare hands from the local earth and soil and created a global community there. She’s one of most genuine and driven people I’ve ever met, yet she’s so caring, funny and heart-centred. I’m honoured to have collaborated with her at the TEDx Drapanos Women’s Event in 2018 and a workshop for entrepreneurs in Chania, where she’s proven her abilities to bring a functional, world-wide community together to create a better world. When Sharon speaks, she means business and she can shift mountains with her words.
Mi Elfverson, Founder, The Vlog Academy
“Sharon brings a passion and dedication to anything in which she becomes involved. She is committed and honours her commitments. She has a practical concern for individuals and individuals’ rights. Her voluntary work with women refused asylum and facing deportation demonstrates this concern – and her determination to stand up for what she believes in, even if it is sometimes, not an immediately popular cause. Sharon also brings energy and vitality / fun to what she does – traits which as a chairman of different types of organisation, I consider very important and positive attributes.”
Emeritus Professor, David R.Grayson CBE, Cranfield School of Management.
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but Sharon, and what she has created at ESA in Crete, exceeded my expectations in every way, and that doesn’t happen often…
Toby Webb, Founder, CEO Ethical Corporation. London, UK
In building ESA, Sharon has created an amazing realisation of a very important vision which matters to all of us across the globe. It will bear amazing fruit.
Anne Lonsdale CBE, Provost, Nazarbayev University, Kazakhstan
Sharon creates the most Breathtaking, Inspiring and Empowering Educative Experiences at the beautiful ESA in Crete, which she created as a visionary.
It has been my upmost Delight to be a part of the ‘sacred ‘SISTA CIRCLE’ of Women Empowerment on those Hallowed Grounds!
Sharon has built a loyal and Formidable ‘TEAM ESA’ and a global community who work together to ensure that Everyone who goes to ESA is feels prepared in continuing to ‘ARIZE’ and to Break New Grounds! I thank Sharon for making my heart dance!
HRH Princess Moradeun Adedoyin-Solarin
Sharon gets you thinking about dilemmas you face. Her style definitely got us all talking and thinking about ethics and increased our awareness about how hard some sustainability decisions may be to make. She delivers very practical with absolutely pertinent content which reinforces the impact in real life work situations. She has a very neat approach to teaching stakeholder negotiation. A wide range of issues were covered and now I am convinced why Sustainability is very relevant to my company and my role.
Facilities Engineer, global mining company, South Africa
Sharon is one of the most passionate, energetic and determined persons I have ever met. Over 10 years I watched her design, plan and achieve every goal she set herself both in her business and personal life. Her enthusiasm and dedication to creating change is commendable and inspiring. Sharon has always cared deeply about this planet, its inhabitants and its future. More importantly, she uses her beliefs, skills and experience to make it a better place for both this and future generations.”
Brenda Boardman, Unipart, UK