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 25,000 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 128,000 contacts with legislators at the local, state and federal levels. These efforts staved off $200 million in funding cuts and added a $75 million increase in funding for adult education. In addition, Bonney has diversified and increased revenue streams for the organization.