Sharon Bonney began her career with COABE as a part-time administrator in 2009, moving up in the organization as she showed an unparalleled commitment to the field of adult education. Sharon has helped advance the organization on a number of fronts, including managing efforts to move it from a 1,300-member group in 2009 to 28,000 active members in 2020.
She was the guiding force behind designing and implementing a new national conference model; developing new state, national and workforce partnerships with more than 100 organizations; rebranding the COABE research journal and a related research-to-practice initiative; and designing all new professional development offerings, including webinars that engage have engaged more than 50,000 members. Bonney spearheaded the development of the internationally acclaimed, six-time award-winning Educate and Elevate public awareness campaign, which brought much-needed visibility to the value of adult education and prompted more than 150,000 contacts with legislators at the local, state and federal levels. These efforts staved off $200 million in funding cuts and added an $82 million increase in funding for adult education. In addition, Bonney has diversified and increased revenue streams for the organization, and envisioned, designed, and implemented many new and innovative strategies for the organization.