Sharon Lawrence is currently the President/CEO of Voices for Children, the Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program for San Diego County. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, Speech Communications and Political Science from the University of Denver in 1985 and her law degree from the University of Texas in 1988 where she served as a student attorney for the Children’s Rights Clinic and managing editor of the Texas International Law Journal. Prior to joining Voices for Children in January 1997, Sharon specialized in medical malpractice defense work with the law firm of Lewis, D’Amato, Brisbois and Bisgaard.
Since Sharon’s tenure began, Voices for Children has increased its services to children by more than 800% and this year will provide more than 1,400 children with a CASA and all of the children in foster care will receive case assessment and monitoring services. Voices for Children has received substantial recognition including the Bank of America Charitable Foundation’s Neighborhood Excellence Initiative award and grant for 2007 and 2008.
Voices for Children was also previously honored by the United Way for innovative programming and was named by San Diego Magazine as the nonprofit organization of 2005. Sharon, herself, has received several awards. National CASA Association named Sharon the Executive Director of the Year for 2000 and San Diego United Way honored her with the 2004 Ben Polak Award for Outstanding Professional Leadership.
San Diego Magazine identified Sharon in its “50 People to Watch” article in 2006, and Harvard Business School alumni in San Diego awarded Sharon with a scholarship to attend its 2006 executive program in “Strategic Perspectives in Non Profit Management.” In 2008 Sharon was named “Woman of the Year” by San Diego Magazine and in 2010, the San Diego Business Journal recognized Sharon as a “Woman Who Means Business.” In March 2011, Assembly Member Nathan Fletcher honored Sharon with the “Woman of the Year” award for the 75th Assembly District. Most recently, Sharon and Voices for Children received the Honorable J. Clifford Wallace Community Service award from the J. Ruben Clark Law Society.
Currently, Sharon advocates for children on several committees including the Commission on Children, Youth and Families; United Way Child Abuse Prevention Vision Council; and the Juvenile Court Dependency Policy Group. Sharon’s community volunteer activities (past and present) include serving as a Municipal Court Judge Pro Tem (Small Claims), President of the Senior Community Centers Board, member of the National Conference for Community and Justice Board of Directors, Treasurer of the California Court Appointed Special Advocate Association, and Secretary of the Board of Trustees of The Gillispie School.