Age: 38, Information Technology (IT) Architect
IBM, New York City
Sharon Fortune Bowden takes every setback in stride. “I see everything as God’s plan and timing,” explains the IBM information technology professional. With her title, advisory information technology (IT) architect, Bowden helps clients choose — and use — the right technology to enhance their products, services and industries as a whole. Too often, as a girl in Washington, D.C., she would see her peers make poor choices with their limited resources. “I found that the more information that was made available to individuals, the better decisions they were able to make,” she says.
Bowden began her IT career at Information Systems Support Inc., a contractor to the U.S. Department of Army and Navy, where she was an intern. She was the principal IT consultant to PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting from 1999 until IBM acquired it in 2002. A strong advocate of arming people with relevant information, she uses her IT expertise in community service as well. Most recently, she set up a technical resource room for student participants in the 2009 Thurgood Marshall Leadership Institute, which they used to research their assignments. She was also the director of the Barbara Jordan Mentoring Program for the Brooks Memorial United Methodist Church, where she coordinated programs to empower girls to make informed life choices.
Bowden holds master’s degrees in information system management and program management from DeVry University’s Keller Graduate Management School; a bachelor’s in business administration, information systems, from Bowie State University and completed graduate work in computer engineering at Southeastern University. When she is not designing technical solutions, you can find her in her kitchen preparing her specialty — applesauce smoked barbecue chicken for hubby, Richard, and son, Sheik.
Favorite book: Jazz by Toni Morrison
Favorite charity: Ivy Rose Foundation
Countries visited: Brazil, Haiti, Holland
Favorite sports team: WNBA/Liberty
Sport you play best: Swimming
Favorite comedian: Dave Chappelle