Sharon Bown

Travels from: ACT

Change the way you see adversity

Categories: Adventure & Challenge, Leadership, Military Speakers, Most Popular, Motivational Speakers

Speaker Topics

  • Hearts that Rise
  • Leaders who Rise
  • Rise with Resilience

Full Presenter Profile & Bio

For many of us, Resilience describes our innate ability to recover from significant challenge. Our ability to access our unique psychological and physical fortitude to ensure that we continue to move forward. Yet, in times of extreme crises and war, our Resilience faces its greatest challenge, the horror of illness and injury, and of the death and destruction of humanity. This is Sharon Bown's story.

In 2004, Sharon sacrificed her health and fitness in the service of her country. Working in East Timor as a Royal Australian Air Force aeromedical evacuation nurse, Sharon narrowly escaped death when the helicopter in which she was travelling crashed in a violent storm. Suffering a severe spinal injury, a shattered jaw and aviation fuel burns, it was the unseen scarring of chronic pain and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder that threatened to reveal the limits of her resilience. Yet the test was far from over. As Sharon faced the brutal consequences of her service and sacrifice, she endured the loss of her mother to breast cancer, the loss of three friends and colleagues in another helicopter crash and the attempted murder of her policeman father.

Well within her rights to shy away from life, Sharon vowed to not only survive, but to continue to live. She successfully fought against the assumptions of others to continue to serve in the Australian Defence Force – mixing in political circles around the world as Aide-de-Camp to the Minister for Defence, commanding an Air Force health unit, and ultimately proving her capability as a commander in a theatre of war – Afghanistan. 

As a Registered Nurse and humanitarian, Sharon is a woman who embodies grace and compassion, yet the sheer strength and the courage she has displayed over a 16-year military career reflects that of a warrior. Sharon has witnessed the very best and possibly the greatest evil of humanity.

Today, Sharon continues to be of service to the men, women and families who serve Australia, providing a valuable insight into the sacrifice and unique qualities of their lives in the service of others. As a Member of the Council of the Australian War Memorial, she provides a voice for all who have served. Having recently completed a Bachelor of Psychological Science, Sharon matches her personal experience with theoretical insight, delving into the nature of survival, resilience, courage, and leadership.

As a speaker, Sharon is a beacon of hope for those facing adverse circumstances. She is an inspiring leader who balances grace with grit, and dignity with daring. Sharon is a compelling storyteller who will leave the audience spellbound as they journey through the life of a woman who simply wanted to be of service but in doing so would rise to be a leader whose example of courage in adversity would be her greatest gift to the world.


I would like to say a heartfelt thank you to Sharon for her involvement in, and contribution to, The National Police, Defence and Emergency Services Women’s Leadership Summit last week. The feedback from the delegates has been overwhelmingly positive.

Women and Leadership Australia

I have seen, heard and felt Sharon Bown lift audiences and take them on an emotional journey. In sharing her story in raw authenticity, she reveals not only herself, those remarkable lives she has touched and who have touched her – but also those privileged to hear her. The power is in the story but also in the story teller. In a world of so called ‘celebrity’, Sharon Bown is the real deal. She enriches any audience she addresses. Leadership can’t be taught, but it can be learned. Here is a magnificent exponent.

Brendan Nelson

Sharon Bown - Motivational Speakers

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