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.

HBJ Women Who Mean Business

Women Who Mean Business: Sharon Birkman, CEO at Birkman International

Sharon Birkman is one of the Houston Business Journal’s 2018 Women Who Mean Business honorees in the Outstanding Business Leader in Professional Services category. Sharon spoke with Natalie Harms of HBJ about challenges she’s faced in her career, her biggest influences, and what most people don’t know about her.

Sharon Birkman, president and CEO at Birkman International

Category: Outstanding Business Leader in Professional Services

Education: Bachelor’s, University of Houston; Master’s, University of Texas Harvard Business School

Years in the industry: 22

Boards and affiliations: Board of directors, Houston Public Media Foundation; board of directors, Goodwill Industries; Chapelwood United Methodist Church; board of directors for Escape Family Resources

Read Sharon’s full interview with Natalie regarding her selection to the 2018 Women Who Mean Business list.


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:

Strategic Growth Forum and National Awards Gala

Birkman International to Host 2016 World Conference

The largest ever in the history of Birkman, the 2016 World Conference hosted in New Orleans at the Ritz-Carlton in the French Quarter on August 3-5th is attracting attendees from across the globe. Birkman users from six different continents will be in attendance, and speakers will be covering topics ranging from team building to career counseling to marketing for consultancies. Sharon Birkman Fink and Amy Shepley will be speaking at the opening session of the conference, announcing all of the exciting changes and innovations that Birkman is rolling out.

You can read the full press release about the Birkman 2016 World Conference here:

EY Entrepreneur Of The Year Award

Sharon Birkman Fink Recognized with the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2016 Gulf Coast Award

Ernst and Young has been awarding the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year® Award for 30 years. The award is one of the most prestigious and established awards that an entrepreneur can receive. Each year, Ernst and Young reviews many companies and entrepreneurs, selecting only the highest performing for this award.

Sharon Birkman Fink was a nominee for the award and attended the regional gala in Houston on June 16, 2016 at the Hilton Americas with her family and colleagues. At the event, she won in the Family Business category for carrying on the legacy of her father, Dr. Roger Birkman, and continuing to grow adoption of The Birkman Method® worldwide. Sharon Birkman Fink is proud to be an EY Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2016 Gulf Coast Award winner and will attend the EY Entrepreneur Of The Year National Awards gala in Palm Springs in November.

The Birkman press release:

The Ernst and Young press release:

2016 houston best and brightest

Birkman Wins for Third Consecutive Year as 2016 Houston Best and Brightest® Company

Birkman is delighted to announce that we’ve won the 2016 Houston Best and Brightest Companies to Work For® award – our third consecutive win at the local level.

Birkman was founded in Houston in 1951 by Dr. Roger Birkman, and his legacy is carried forward by his daughter Sharon Birkman Fink and granddaughter Amy Shepley. As a family company that works closely with organizational development and human resources departments, it is deeply ingrained in Birkman to take care of the employees that constitute the company. With flex schedules, monthly birthday celebrations, ample PTO, and company-sponsored professional development, the employees at Birkman receive cutting-edge HR benefits.

The Best and Brightest® organization assesses the HR commitment that companies make to attract and retain top performing talent. Companies that are graded the highest by their own team members are chosen for the Best and Brightest® award, which reflects an excellence in company culture.

To see who else won in the Houston competition and to learn more about the award, follow this link:

2015 Best and Brightest Companies

Birkman Wins Nationally in 2015 Best and Brightest Companies® Competition

Birkman wins for the second year in a row at the national level in the 2015 Best and Brightest Companies to Work For® competition.  In the competition, companies are graded by their own employees for their human resources initiatives and overall morale. As a personality assessment company, Birkman is committed to developing a rich culture for employees that motivates, challenges, and rewards productivity. Birkman heavily uses our own assessment within the company so that coworkers are more aware of each others’ needs for better internal communication and mutual understanding.

To learn more about the Best and Brightest competition and to see the complete list of 2015 National winners, follow this link: