Sharon Bakcht is one of our newest Board Members but she's already proven to be dedicated to making positive change with us at Words Alive! Sharon is a San Diego native and has 16+ years of experience in strategic planning, innovation leadership, and marketing strategy in a variety of sectors. She currently heads up early stage innovation programs at WD-40 Company for the Americas region. A native of San Diego, Sharon is passionate about fostering positive impact in the local community.
Sharon recently was awarded Leadership Volunteer of the Year at our 9th Annual Volunteer Appreciation Event. Sharon’s journey with Words Alive started three years ago when our partnership with San Diego Social Venture Partners began. She volunteered to serve as the marketing lead with our project and led our staff and leadership in developing and executing our marketing plan. She continues to provide support in her area of expertise on our marketing and communication committee.
Now, let's hear from Sharon herself!
What was your relationship with literacy as a child?
As a child I loved looking at picture books in Spanish with my parents, who emigrated from Mexico City. My parents mistakenly thought I could read before the age of two because I would memorize the words and say them at the right times.
When was the first moment you fell in love with reading?
As a preteen, I was a voracious consumer of The Babysitter's Club and Sweet Valley High series. I loved immersing myself in the lives of these characters and their worlds. I spent a lot of time checking books out of libraries!
How do you use literacy in your day-to-day life?
Literacy is an imperative for my success every day. I read for pleasure, read for work, and most importantly, I read to my 1.5 year old son, whose face lights up with wonder every time we read new stories and re-read beloved books like "The Hungry Caterpillar". One of my son's absolute favorite books was given to us by Words Alive - "How To Make Vegetable Soup" in Spanish and English. It's the best hearing that little voice say "tomato!" and "water the seeds!"
What impact would being illiterate have on your life? Would you have the same profession if you couldn’t read?
Would you have the same profession if you couldn’t read? Without literacy, I could not have achieved higher education in Psychology and Business Administration, and have the career I do today, leading product innovation programs at WD-40. Literacy is absolutely essential to my success.
What is your favorite book and why?
"A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius" by Dave Eggers. Some books touch your soul. This was one such for me. The way Dave Eggers writes gets straight to the heart of emotion, and revealed to me what it means to be vulnerable, loving, and humorous in the face of personal tragedy.
What was your favorite book as a child and why?
“The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein. I loved seeing the relationship between the boy and the tree evolve. Looking back now, I can see that the simplicity of the way the book reveals the moral of the story is brilliant.
Do you have a favorite memory relating to reading?
So many! I loved reading Armistead Maupin's "Tales of the City" when I was a young twenty-something living in San Francisco. I imagined a wilder San Francisco of the past.
What made you join the Words Alive board?
I am truly passionate about language, books, stories, and the roles they play in our lives. On top of this, the staff at Words Alive is top-notch. I couldn't imagine a brighter, more effective, and more dedicated team.
What has been your favorite aspect of being a Words Alive board member?
The adventure has just begun!