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.
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.