The Top 100 MBE® Awards were created to recognize those innovative entrepreneurs who fuel the region’s economy through their innovation, sacrifices and dedication. Since 2007, The Top 100 MBE® Awards has been bestowed to over 700 minority and women-owned businesses in the mid-Atlantic region.
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A president's rise to the top
Sharon R. Pinder is an executive, business woman, entrepreneur, professor and public servant, who serves as the director of the Mayor’s Office for Minority and Women-Owned Business Development for the City of Baltimore since May, 2012. During the first two years with the City of Baltimore, Pinder created the first Mayor’s Advisory Council, won a $900,000 first time grant from the US Dept of Commerce to create a Minority Business Development Agency Business Center, and created the City’s first minority business development week along with the first City-sponsored mentor/protege program.
Prior to this appointment by Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, she was the CEO of The Pinder Group from May, 2007 until May 2012. From January 2003, until May 2007 she was appointed by Governor Robert Ehrlich as Maryland’s first Special Secretary of the Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs. Under Pinder’s leadership, GOMA was transformed from an ineffective agency to a model of advocacy. During the first three years at the helm, the number of contracts awarded to Maryland’s women and minority businesses increased from 15% to 22% and payments to them increased by $1 billion. She was also responsible for the creation of the Small Business Reserve (SBR) Program – the country’s first state level set aside for small businesses.
Sharon Pinder began her career in the information technology field in the late 1970’s . As one of the first African Americans to gain acceptance in Equitable Trust’s programming training class, she spent over twenty years as a software developer and engineer progressing through the management ranks working at corporations such as Baltimore Federal Financial, USF&G and ultimately with the General Electric Corporation where she led GE’s entry into the Internet in 1994. She created and implemented branding and the public image for GE’s initial site and commercialized GE’s products that used the internet as a secure channel to conduct electronic commerce.
In 1996 – 2000, Pinder launched a dot-com start-up business operation and provided e-business strategy, solution architecture, business process re-engineering and delivered M/Quest, Maryland’s first comprehensive economic development toolkit. From 2000- 2002 Pinder served as the President of a Baltimore-based software engineering firm and in 2003 accepted the Cabinet appointment from Governor Robert L. Ehrlich which began her career as an advocate for minority and women-owned businesses.
As CEO of the Pinder Group, Pinder founded the Top 100 MBE® Awards Ceremony – the only mid-Atlantic awards program recognizing women and minorities in Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia. She also created the “New Majority Initiative”, a think tank centered around the minority-majority.
In 2001, Pinder received her Masters of Science Degree in Technology Management from University of Maryland University College (UMUC) and in 2004 was recognized as UMUC’s Alumnae of the Year. As a Professor of Practice, Pinder has taught in both the undergraduate and graduate schools.
A recipient of numerous awards, in 2013, Pinder was inducted into the Baltimore Washington Corridor Chamber’s Business Hall of Fame. In 2014, The Sharon Pinder Scholarship Award for Entrepreneurship was created at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES).
Pinder is a graduate of both Leadership Maryland ’98 and the Greater Baltimore Leadership ‘14 programs and in 2004 was recognized as the Outstanding Leader of the Year by Leadership Maryland, Inc.
Married to Reginald Pinder, they have two children (Reginald Jr., deceased) and Biah.