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.