Enquiry List

Enquire Now

Sharon Bown

Travels from: ACT

Change the way you see adversity

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

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.

Speaker Topics

Hearts that Rise
In the depths of human crises such as war, we glimpse the very best and the very worst of humanity. The playing field of life is levelled to expose and magnify a shared vulnerability that is hard to comprehend day to. At the core of 'Hearts That Rise' is a simple message that as human beings, we share many more similarities than we do differences, and that in coming to accept this reality, our potential is infinite. Sharon takes the audience on an emotional journey full of heart driven storytelling that showcases the power of each human being to create impact. She shares tools and insights that will enable an audience to feel inspired to be the change the world so desperately needs and in doing so give birth to a greater purpose with a greater meaning in life. Audiences will rise from this presentation with a new perspective on the reality of life - inspired by acts of human kindness and compassion in the face of darkness. They will be empowered with the tools to create change in their own lives through harnessing their innate compassion and desire for greater social connection, creating communities built upon service and support.
Leaders who Rise
In an age defined by rapid change and disruptive trends, the ability to rise as a resilient and agile leader has never been more significant. Leaders must remain calm in a storm, be adaptive in thinking and agile in decision-making. Sharon shares leadership tools and insights gained in some of the most unpredictable environments on earth, managing situations beyond imagination. Sharon guides the audience through a step by step process that will enable any leader to not only rise from adversity but to embrace the growth that accompanies such a challenge. Audiences emerge from this presentation, inspired by the story of a humble girl from Tasmania who discovered her purpose was to live a life in the service of others, and in doing so, rose to give voice to the men women and families of the Australian Defence Force at the very top echelons of Australian politics. With resilience and deep courage, she rose to navigate danger in a way that enabled her to continue to rise, to be of service and to lead and inspire others.
Rise with Resilience
With the excitement and advancement of the technological revolution, humanity appears to have progressed to a world of opportunity and a more connected, globalised community, yet the more things change, the more they stay the same. The poorest communities continue to be ravaged by war, poverty and disease, whilst the affluent and prosperous battle with chronic disease and declining mental health. How do we find the strength to not only rise in times of crises but to grow and transform from adversity? In this presentation, Sharon takes the audience on an emotional journey where she explores the realities of service in developing and war torn countries such as East Timor and Afghanistan. Sharon shares insights gained from her own personal crises, including a near fatal helicopter crash, and empowers the audience with the tools she harnessed to rise and evolve into the powerful leader and advocate she is today. Audiences emerge from this presentation with a new perspective on resilience, and the knowledge that rising to the challenge of crises enables us to rediscover our personal and professional purpose in life.


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

Add to Enquiry List 

Enquire Now

Please fill out the form below to enquire about this presenter

First Name *
Last Name *
Email *
Phone *
Company *