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Recognizing 100 CEOs & C-level Executives
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Sharise Erby

Founder & CEO

Phenomenal Woman Empowerment Network

Location: Phoenix

Founded: 2013

Industry: Nonprofit

In 2006, Sharise Erby was excelling in her healthcare career and also navigating an abusive marriage, she said. She sought a safe space to share her struggles with other women and hosted an event called the Phenomenal Woman Conference. It was there that she realized the widespread challenges faced by women, and she knew she had to do more.

In 2013, Erby transformed the event into the Phenomenal Woman Empowerment Network (PWEN), establishing it as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Determined to make a lasting impact, Erby left her lucrative senior-level corporate job in September 2015 and dedicated herself full-time to running PWEN.

“In my career the most important risk I took was leaving my well-paying mid-level management position with a company ranked within the top 10 Fortune list to focus on my nonprofit organization,” Erby said. “Within 30 days, I was wondering if I made the right decision as I missed those direct deposits hitting my account. However, the sacrifice through the years has changed the lives of over 200,000 women along with mine and my family. I have seen amazing growth within my family as a result of my sacrifices and professional growth. As a result of the sacrifices I have traveled to locations that I once had only dreamed of, I have met people that I never thought I would know personally, and I have had a seat at tables that previously were not available to me.”

PWEN’s mission is to empower, encourage, equip and elevate women. The nonprofit provides education, training, skills development and support to help women achieve emotional and financial independence. The organization has impacted the lives of over 258,000 women, assisting 306 women in starting businesses, conducting more than 300 training events, helping 26 women pursue higher education and awarding $105,100 in collegiate scholarships and certifications.

The organization follows a four-pronged approach: EmPOWER, Encourage, Equip and Elevate. Through affordable and often free in-person and online development and training programs, PWEN increases women’s access to economic resources, job opportunities, financial services, skills development and market information.

PWEN currently has chapters in Phoenix, Tulsa, Las Vegas, Toronto and Jamaica, with plans to launch chapters in Tennessee, Texas, California and Arkansas.

Erby is an accomplished author, with three published books, Just Do You, Whole Women Win and Keep Your Knees Bent: Navigating the Seasons of Life.

Erby has been named a Woman Rising Up by Women on a Mission, received the Black Wall Street’s Community Leadership Award, the MOZ Award and the RSG Businesswoman of the Year award.

Most recently, Erby was awarded the 2023 MLK Living the Dream Award by the City of Phoenix Human Relations Commission.

She has been featured on various TV shows, radio interviews, and blogs, sharing her insights and inspiring others. Erby also serves on the Phoenix Women’s Commission, appointed by Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego and the City Council.

Presented by:

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Comerica Bank

A fun fact about Sharise is that she is actually a shy person, as a child when people would ring the doorbell, she would run and hide under her parents bed!!!Sharise admits that she is shy but she says the work she does is not about her it is about the people she is called to serve so she lives outside of her comfort zone!

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