Crain's Houston

If I Knew Then…. With Sharon Birkman


Birkman International is an occupational assessment company in Houston whose questionnaires are used by companies to determine employees’ interests, needs and behaviors. Its clients have included Wal-Mart, Boeing, Chevron, Tyson Foods, Proctor & Gamble and MailChimp. Since taking over the business five years ago from her father Roger Birkman, a psychologist who founded it in 1952, Sharon Birkman has modernized the company and doubled its revenue.

The Mistake:

Not trusting my gut. I happen to be a baby boomer. I grew up in an era when women weren’t expected to do high-level corporate work. When I was in my late 40s, I saw my parents struggle with their succession plan. I had been teaching college music and singing on the side but mainly raising three children.

But having seen my parents build the company from a startup in the ‘50s through some rough times, it was in my genes to see it continue. I also had a huge passion for the mission. So I came into the company in 2000 to see how I could help.

Read the full article from Crain’s Houston.

Women's Owned Company

Birkman International Receives Women’s Business Enterprise Certification

Birkman International, a business specialized in assessing human behavior and perception, is newly recognized as a Women’s Business Enterprise by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), the largest third-party certifier of businesses owned and operated by women in the United States. The certification is effective as of Aug. 30, 2018.

“Dr. Roger Birkman pioneered The Birkman Method and founded our company driven by his strong convictions and lifelong desire to empower others. We are proud to be certified as a Women’s Business Enterprise and continue his legacy,” said Sharon Birkman, CEO of Birkman International and daughter of Roger Birkman. “The WBENC recognition provides our company – and many of the businesses we partner with – an important vehicle to support diversity and empower lives.”

Read the full article from PR Newswire: Birkman International Receives Women’s Business Enterprise Certification

Goodwill Logo

Birkman and Goodwill Houston Work Together to Help Veterans Find Jobs

Goodwill Houston has launched a pilot program that offers qualified veterans the opportunity to take the widely respected Birkman assessment as part of their job placement process. Sharon Birkman, President and CEO of Birkman and Board Member of Goodwill Houston, helped facilitate the program’s launch by donating assessments for veterans and certification training for Goodwill employees leading the program. Steve Lufburrow, President/CEO of Goodwill Houston, says, “We appreciate this generous gift. We know it will help our teams match veterans with the best possible opportunities for successful employment.”

Birkman and Goodwill Houston developed this program to help veterans identify their unique strengths and better understand their career interests. Upon completion of the assessment, they are paired with a Goodwill employee who has completed Birkman Signature Certification for one-on-one coaching and mentoring. Elexa Orrange-Allen, Goodwill Houston Board Member and veteran, says, “No matter where an individual comes from or what his or her challenges have been, Goodwill gives hope by helping individuals with barriers to employment obtain jobs and create careers. Goodwill helps people support their families, gets homeless people off the streets, and gives people a second chance–including veterans struggling to reconnect when they return home.”

Read the full press release on PRWeb.


Making new hires feel like a part of the team can be difficult to navigate, but MailChimp has managed to develop an onboarding process that builds a sense of community, creates effective communication, and helps propel teams towards success. Before employees can begin working, they must participate in a robust welcoming program that pairs new hires with “Chimpanions”, have face-time with co-workers and the executive team, and attend trainings that make them feel welcome and supported from the get-go. MailChimp also leverages personality insights gathered from The Birkman Method to help employees develop self-awareness and understand how they fit into their teams.

Read more about how a company with 500+ employees and a tiny turnover rate of 4% prepares their new employees:

Dayton Business Journal: 4 Ways to Shape Your Work Culture into One That Rocks

Lunne Marketing Group examines how a company can capitalize on their potential for success by cultivating a strong company culture in The Dayton Business Journal. Several contributing factors include benefits, the company’s leadership, and most importantly, understanding the people. Asking the right questions such as “Do you have the right people on the team?” and “Do people feel inspired here?” can help drive a team towards achieving their goals. In addition, taking a personality assessment like The Birkman Method can enable team members to better understand one another, fostering an environment that is a catalyst for growth and collaboration.

Want to see other factors that influence a team and build up a company’s culture? Read the full article here:

Find your new job

AARP: Take These Tests to Find Your New Job

Career changes can happen at any point in life. Even for people who have found the career that they love, making a shift to a new company should be approached with intentionality and caution. Personality assessments can be useful as you look to find your new job or a second career, as they enlighten you to your motivations and behavioral strengths. In this article, AARP recommends some of the most popular personality and career assessments, including The Birkman Method®, for the job seeker.

Want to see the full list of tests recommended and read more from AARP? Visit the article here:

boss doesn't like you

Harvard Business Review: What to Do When Your Boss Doesn’t Like You

The Harvard Business review looks at the different reasons why a manager might not connect well with their reports, plus provides ideas for how to remedy the situation if you feel that your boss doesn’t like you. One of the points – if your boss doesn’t like your communication style – suggests to look at a personality assessment such as The Birkman Method® for insight. By looking at the details of your tUsual Behavior and your boss’s Needs, you can see where you may be unintentionally irritating them and try to shift your actions to align with what they desire from their coworkers.

You can read the full article at this link:

Executive MBA Students Juggle Careers

The Wall Street Journal: Interview with Dr. Roger Birkman

The Wall Street Journal sat down with Dr. Roger Birkman, founder of The Birkman Method®, to discuss his time in World War II. In 1944, Roger Birkman was a fighter pilot with the US Army Air Corps. His B-17 bomber was shot down by German forces while flying over France. He was able to avoid being detected by German troops and found refuge with residents of a nearby town, where he waited until Allied Forces forced out the German occupation several months later.

To hear Dr. Birkman’s recount of his time in France, visit “A World War II Soldier’s Hideaway in Belgium”:

successful career change

US News: 6 Tips for Making a Successful Career Change

The blog on US News & World Report’s website featured a post with Marc Miller, a career design specialist, on how to make a successful career change. The first tip is to “know thyself,” and Miller touts the importance of career assessments for finding clarity about your motivations, interests, and strengths. He recommends The Birkman Method® as “the most comprehensive assessment” for people that are having trouble self-evaluating.

Read all 6 tips and the full blog post here:

co-workers who need to lead

Chicago Tribune: Coping with Co-Workers Who Need to Lead

In their “Lessons for Life” section, the Chicago Tribune focused on dealing with co-workers who need to lead – the people who can’t handle not being in charge of the group. For people with a strong leadership streak who are constantly battling for authority, it’s important to look into why they have this behavior. Sharon Birkman Fink, President and CEO of Birkman, contributes to the article, sharing that some people are uncomfortable if they aren’t in a leadership role, just as others are uncomfortable when thrust into leadership. It’s important to look at your organization’s needs and see if there’s a way to put that person’s talents to work productively rather than trying to redirect their natural strengths.

If you want to read all of the suggestions from Sharon and the full article, follow this link: