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A day in the life of Sharon Benjamin



Senior Principal

Time at the clearing:

0 years

If there is one word to sum up my career: it’s pracademic, an amalgam of "practitioner" and "academic." I am very much an academic (I am on the faculty of the Master of Science in Organizational Dynamics program at UPenn), but enjoy putting what I teach into practice through my work at The Clearing. I have always been interested in what works and why it works and use that principle to teach our clients how to have better meetings, drive better outcomes, and ultimately create positive organizational change — whether that’s improving infection controls in hospitals or modernizing IT infrastructure for a large federal agency. Over the past 25 years, I have served as a trusted advisor to senior leaders in health care, federal agencies, and non-governmental organizations. Notable clients include the Administrator of the General Services Administration (GSA), the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), the World Bank, the United Nations Development Programme, the Gates Foundation, National Association of Counties, American Society for Public Administration, Population Council, and several regional healthcare institutions. In addition to my pracademic career, I am passionate about environmental issues and have served on the boards of over two-dozen nonprofit organizations including Plexus Institute,, American Oceans Campaign, Earthworks, and the advisory board of Oceana. I have also authored several publications, most recently Unexpected Gifts: Solve Tough Problems with Adaptive Positive Deviance, a piece that grew out of earlier work for which our team received recognition in The New York Times for application of Positive Deviance in healthcare as an “outstanding idea.” When I’m off the clock, you’ll find me with my husband trying to convince our quizzical Irish wolfhound — all 180 pounds of him — to play fetch or looking for the next, best French meal I can find. I received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Political Science from Taylor University, a Master of Public Administration from Michigan State University, and a Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior from The Union Institute & University.

My Typical Day: