Sharon Johnson was born and educated in Johannesburg, South Africa, with degrees from Wits University in Industrial Psychology (Hons) and English Literature.
Sharon began her career in advertising, working in South Africa and across the continent, with career highlights including the ANC’s first election campaign and the launch and growth of MTN, Africa’s largest cellular phone network today. She relocated to Sydney, Australia working with leading brands on marketing communications strategies during a period when Asian markets were opening to globalization, increasing the demand and reach of internet, telecommunications and financial services, and when the notable impacts of climate change were first seen to damage industries from agriculture to retail.
As a consequence, Sharon relocated to the UK in 2001 to work in corporate sustainability with large global corporations across supply chain innovations and communications. She has consulted to FTSE500 CEO’s and a range of global Foundations to scale sustainable business with full regard for human rights and citizen engagement, and has designed and implemented global campaigns to increase citizen engagement in environmental and human rights issues.
Sharon worked as part of the team incubating The Elders in 2007, subsequently running their Human Rights Programme through to 2009; and returned as their Director of Campaigns for two years leading up to their founder, Nelson Mandela’s 100th anniversary to reinvigorate public facing impact, and drive civil society engagement with The Elders’ work. She now leads communications, engagements and campaigns at Global Optimism, the organization founded by former UN Climate Chief, Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac to precipitate action across sectors on climate change that will halve global emissions by 2030.
Sharon lives in North London with her husband. They have three children.