It should come as no surprise that Sharon Carry’s first job, when she was 13, was working in a garden centre. After all, the President Emerita of Bow Valley College has demonstrated a lifelong talent for planting seeds that sprout and weave themselves into the fabric of the community.
A fourth-generation Calgarian, Sharon has also been a rolling stone over the course of her life and career in post-secondary administration, counting 38 moves throughout Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario. And with each move she has touched the lives of students and sunk roots deep into her newfound home.
A champion for social justice, particularly for women and marginalized people, her 14-year stint at Olds College highlighted for her the symbiotic relationship post-secondary institutions play not just in the lives of students, but for the surrounding community.
She was a single mother with a young daughter at the time, and she wanted to embrace the town in the same way it had embraced her. So, she rolled up her sleeves and volunteered countless hours on committees to contribute to a vibrant community, from building recreational infrastructure to founding events that are still going strong.
From 1997 to 2017 Sharon served as President and CEO of Bow Valley College, overseeing its transformation from a quiet vocational school under direct day-to-day management of the Alberta Government when she took the role, to the largest college in the province and an entrepreneurial leader in online learning today.
Sharon’s social-justice mindset guided the creation of innovative programs to support disadvantaged students, such as the Centre for Immigrant and Intercultural Advancement, the Corporate Readiness Training Program and Connexion Carrière.
During her two decades at Bow Valley College, the school touched the lives of more than a quarter-million students, many of them Indigenous people or newcomers to Canada, planting the seeds of a better life for themselves.