ReachLocal - Sharon Rowlands

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Company: ReachLocal, Woodland Hills, CA
Entry Submitted By: Codey Communications
Company Description: ReachLocal, Inc. helps local businesses grow and operate their business better with leading technology and expert service for our clients' lead generation and conversion. A subsidiary of Gannett Company, Inc. (NYSE: GCI), ReachLocal is headquartered in Woodland Hills, Calif. and operates in four regions: Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America and North America.
Nomination Category: Individual Awards Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Female Executive of the Year – Business Services –11 to 2,500 Employees

Nomination Title: From a Successful Acquisition to Dozens of Awards to Helping Other Women - Why ReachLocal’s Sharon Rowland should be the Next Female Executive of the Year

Describe for the judges the activities and accomplishments of the nominated executive since the beginning of July last year (up to 525 words): TEXT REDACTED FOR PUBLICATION

Becoming a successful executive is no easy feat. Becoming a successful female executive can, at times, seem impossible. For Sharon Rowlands, CEO of ReachLocal, a successful software and services company that helps local businesses market and operate their business, the road to success has been filled with many triumphs and failures.

But thanks to unwavering persistence, hard work, and resilience, Ms. Rowlands has achieved a year punctuated by an abundance of accomplishments on both the personal and business front. In the last year alone, nearly a dozen awards have been bestowed upon both ReachLocal and its CEO. Most notably, Ms. Rowlands was named CEO of the Year by the prestigious CEO World Awards®, and under her leadership, ReachLocal won top honors in Google’s Innovator Awards. In addition, Ms. Rowlands’ much sought after digital marketing and operational expertise led to her appointment to Pegasystems’ board of directors. Pegasystems is a software company empowering the world’s leading enterprises with strategic business applications.

Beyond these many accolades, the recent and successful acquisition of ReachLocal by Gannett, a next-generation media company, and the parent company of hundreds of digital and offline media properties, including USA Today, is yet another striking accomplishment for Ms. Rowlands. Today, with Ms. Rowlands at the helm, ReachLocal is operating as an independent division of Gannett and is chartered with expanding the company’s digital and offline solutions worldwide.

Ms. Rowlands is also passionate about helping other women become successful and building other women up as leaders. She established the Wadobe Group, a women’s network, with this goal in mind. The group is a collection of senior business women with the mission of supporting each other and identifying ways to help younger women reach their business and personal goals. The name is based on the group’s motto: want what you have, do what you can, be who you are. The group meets several times a year to discuss business issues and challenges and build relationships.

She wants women to understand the power and importance of networking and building friendships with other women and aspires to amplify this spirit of female camaraderie within ReachLocal by expanding the company’s women in leadership program to offer mentoring.

This past year, she developed a research study on female CEOs and directors with Sabra Brock, the interim dean of Touro Graduate School of Business in New York. The study explored the leadership journey of 50 senior female leaders to identify their perspectives on factors that contribute to women leaders’ success, the sacrifices women often make, and obstacles that still exist for women leaders. This study underscored the importance of mentors, with 82% of respondents stating that a mentor had played an important role in their careers, among other important findings.

Keenly focused on the future, Ms. Rowlands plans to continue to leverage her business acumen to help local companies and business women alike meet their goals and thrive in 2016 and beyond.

Provide a brief biography of the nominated executive (up to 125 words):

Sharon Rowlands was named CEO of ReachLocal in April 2014. Ms. Rowlands has more than 20 years of experience leading multi-billion dollar companies serving small- and medium-sized businesses, financial markets, and enterprise customers.

From 2011 to 2013, she was CEO of Altegrity, which she transformed from a holding company into three independent business units, each with its own growth strategy. From 2008 to 2011 Ms. Rowlands was CEO of Penton Media, and prior to that she was with Thomson Financial, where she established the company as one of the most innovative partners to the global financial community. Ms. Rowlands received her Postgraduate Certificate in Education from the University of London and her Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Newcastle, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne.