About Sharon

Self-fulfillment means something very different for each of us, and the paths we take towards self-fulfillment can sometimes appear unconventional.

My career has reached from New York City and Washington, D.C. to San Francisco and back – several times! I have over 30 years of leadership and senior management experience at nonprofit arts, culture, educational, philanthropic, and community development financial institutions. And I’ve also been a counselor at the high school and university levels; a theater stage manager and sound-and-lighting assistant technician; and worked on the options floor at the Pacific Stock Exchange.



I’ve moved on from positions without having my next job in hand, or even a clear idea of where “next job” would be or what it would look like. One memorable coast-to-coast move from Washington, D.C. to San Francisco came just three months after having moved in the reverse direction, from San Francisco to D.C.!


I consider myself a careful risk-taker. My choices have been grounded in a sense of internal faith in myself, an understanding that things would work out even when I wasn’t sure how. As a constant learner and student of the world around me, I’ve felt prepared for whatever might unfold. And every urge to move on has led me to new opportunities and experiences that have been richly rewarding and meaningful.


In 2010, after 14 magical years at Nonprofit Finance Fund in New York City, I began feeling that familiar “time to move on” urge. I’d been quietly interested in starting my own executive coaching business for some time, and it felt as if I’d reached a phase in my life where if I didn’t do it, it wouldn’t happen. I didn’t want to regret not trying – and I knew that I wanted the independence and responsibility.


I believe in my clients’ magnificence. I’m inspired by their courage as I help them perceive and achieve goals that truly reflect their values and desires. I know that the more I’m anchored in my own internal faith that I am strong, capable, and powerful – that I am magnificent! – the more I can transmit with integrity that experience to my clients.


Watching my clients find that internal confidence and strength in themselves is more rewarding than I had dreamed possible. And it leads me to imagine what it would be like if every person were doing something that brought true self-fulfillment. Can you imagine what a difference that would make to our world?



Professional Background

  • Nonprofit Finance Fund, New York, NY – Vice President, Knowledge & Advocacy
  • Independent Arts Consultant, San Francisco, CA – San Jose (CA) Office of Cultural Affairs
  • Grants for the Arts of the San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund, San Francisco, CA – Associate Administrator
  • City Celebration, San Francisco, CA – Coordinator, San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival
  • Columbia College, Columbia University, New York, NY – Director, Higher Education Opportunity Program
  • New Rochelle High School, New Rochelle, NY – Guidance Counselor
  • Harvard University, Cambridge, MA – Co-Director, Afro-Americans for Educational Opportunity

Education & Certification

  • The Center for Executive Coaching, Osprey, FL – Core CEU Executive Coach Training; accredited by the International Coach Federation (ICF)
  • The Coaches Training Institute, San Rafael, CA – Certified Professional Co-Active Coach (CPCC); accredited by ICF
  • International Coach Federation – Associate Certified Coach (ACC)
  • Columbia University, Teachers College, New York, NY – Ed.M., M.A., Applied Human Development & Guidance
  • Simmons College, Boston, MA – B.A., Psychology


  • Association of Nonprofit Specialists – Board Member; Chair, Educational Event Committee
  • Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, Member
  • Nonprofit Resource Group – Member
  • Institute of Coaching Professional Association, at McLean Hospital, Harvard Medical School affiliate – Affiliate Member
  • The U.S. President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities – Panel member
  • National Endowment for the Arts – Panel member, including the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act Panel


Learn more about my background and coaching services by visiting my LinkedIn profile at www.linkedin.com/in/sharonmcombs.

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