A life-long education advocate, Sharon Lechter is the founder of Pay Your Family First, a financial education organization, and YOUTHpreneur, an innovative new way to spark the entrepreneurial spirit in our children.
Sharon helps shape the state of financial literacy in our nation and how best to promote a financially literate populous through her appointment to the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Literacy. She and the 18 other members of the council were selectively appointed by the President for their expertise in financial education and serve a two-year term. As a council member, Sharon is directly responsible to the President and Treasury Secretary for creating interesting and innovative ways to influence financial education.
Sharon is an entrepreneur, author, philanthropist, educator, international speaker, licensed CPA and mother. She has been a pioneer in developing new technologies to bring education into children’s lives in ways that are innovative, challenging and fun, and remains committed to education – particularly financial literacy.
“Our current educational system has not been able to keep pace with the global and technological changes in the world today,” Sharon says. “We must teach our young people the skills – both scholastic and financial – that they need to, not only survive, but flourish in the world.”
Sharon travels nationally and internationally to speak on a range of topics from educating children and adults on taking control of their personal finances to the entrepreneurial business strategies she used in building international success.
“Sharon’s passion for entrepreneurship is matched by her dedication to education,” says Mary Lou Bessette, a longtime business leader and executive director of strategic initiatives at Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business. “Her personal mission is to instill financial literacy worldwide. Sharon’s writings and leadership, especially with women and children, demonstrate that she is uniquely positioned to change the world through education.”
In addition to her work with children, Sharon is a passionate advocate of women entrepreneurs and business women and often works with them to help expand their goals. She has written a regular advice column for Arizona Woman Magazine and speaks to various women’s groups in cooperation with PINK Magazine. Each year, in cooperation with the WPO and Sam’s Club, Sharon holds an event at 8-12 Sam’s Club with the Girl Scout’s of America to teach young girls financial lessons through interactive games.
Sharon is known world-wide as the co-author of the international best-selling book Rich Dad, Poor Dad and the Rich Dad series of books. During her 10 years with the Rich Dad Company, it grew into an international powerhouse with over 20 books, board games, Web sites, CDs, audio cassettes and seminars. Rich Dad, Poor Dad has been on The New York Times Best Sellers List for over six and a half years and is available in over 50 languages and sold in more than 108 countries. More than 27 million Rich Dad books have been sold around the world.
In 2007, Sharon left the managerial board of The Rich Dad Company to pursue focused work on financial education for children and families, as well as to continue work on improving our nation’s educational system. It was this passion that led her to recently launch Pay Your Family First and YOUTHpreneur.
A committed philanthropist, Sharon also gives back to world communities as both a volunteer and benefactor. She is a member of the Business Advisory Council for the Attorney General of the State of Arizona. She has served on the Dean’s Council 100 of the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University and as a member of the advisory Board of the Spirit of Enterprise at the W.P. Carey School of Business. Sharon serves on the national board of the Women Presidents’ Organization, the advisory board of EmpowHer (a Web site to help women with their health issues) and on the national board of Childhelp, a national organization founded to prevent and treat child abuse.
In 2002, Childhelp honored Sharon and her husband, Michael, as recipients of the Spirit of the Children Award. In 2004, Sharon and Michael were recognized as an Arizona “Power Couple,” and Sharon was also named as a 2005 Woman of Distinction by the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America.
Sharon graduated with Magna Cum Laude honors from Florida State University with a degree in accounting, then joined the ranks of a Big Eight accounting firm. Sharon has held various management positions with computer, insurance, and publishing companies while maintaining her professional credentials as a Wisconsin CPA, and a member of the AICPA (American Institute of Certified Public Accountants).