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Sharae Sledge seeks a greater sense of purpose with “In HER Element” scholarship

Meet the recipient of our Spring Scholarship!

Sharae Sledge always knew that she wanted to be, as she says: “an exemplary woman of leadership” after completing her degree and achieving her goal of a six figure salary before the age of 40.

Behind the achievement of this goal lies years of work building a career in accounting, first at Dakota County Community Development Agency (CDA) then seven years of night school (with some of those years as a single mother) – while working a full time day job – to achieve the Bachelor’s Degree she knew she needed to advance her career. Then came experience building as an accountant with the City of Edina, Assistant Controller for Girl Scouts River Valleys, Finance Manager for the City of St. Louis Park and a new role of Director of Finance for Minneapolis Downtown Council and Downtown Improvement District.

Sharae says: “It sounds cliché, but my career journey has consisted of a great deal of hard work and dedication. I have earned every ounce of what I have achieved over the years.”

However, despite this career growth and achievement, in recent years Sharae has been sensing a gap. Sharae wants to inspire others to achieve their goals – especially other women of color but she isn’t clear on that path ahead.

She explains: “I want to find perspective on what I want my life's next steps to be, and how to plan for it. I am a person who likes to set goals and then work towards achieving them. For the last couple of years I have been questioning my long term goals, doubting myself, and struggling to find purpose outside of my everyday expectations. I have things that I know I would like to accomplish but need to understand what is attainable, what makes sense, and simply what will make me happy.”

Sharae was inspired by her sister-in-law, a recent In HER Element graduate. “We both had babies recently and talked about the frustrations of dealing with parenthood, postpartum depression, and balancing family life with work. She explained how In HER Element had helped her discover what she really wanted in life – work/life balance. It was such an inspiration to me because I yearn to know what it is that I want next!”

Sharae is looking to find balance in putting herself first and taking care of others. “Women professionals are pulled in various directions and we strive to meet the expectations of everyone else, without considering ourselves most of the time. When we do consider ourselves, or put ourselves before others, we are questioned, frowned upon, and we feel guilty. I am a prime example of a person who feels guilty when I put myself first. I need to find a way to maintain my success without the stress of juggling the obligations that I have at work and at home.”

Paula Winkler, co-founder at The Disruptive Element says “We are thrilled to award Sharae this Scholarship. She has shown huge determination to build her career to this point and has a significant opportunity ahead of her with her new role. In HER Element is the perfect program to help Sharae find clarity in her purpose and to remind her of her strength and own innate value as she takes this next step. We know that whatever the outcome, she will achieve her goal of inspiring others!”


About In HER Element

In HER Element is a transformative leadership program that inspires women leaders to ignite and live their potential. Our unique program combines neuroscience and mindfulness with coaching and community to foster real change in all aspects of work and life.

Learn more about how In HER Element can benefit you or your team (Women’s Leadership Development Cohort Program | In HER Element (


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