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Sharon Johnson

Strategic Communications & Engagements

Sharon brings more than two decades of strategic communications, movement building and campaigns experience to Global Optimism’s work.

She has consulted to FTSE500 CEO’s, driven programmes for global philanthropic foundations and built civil society campaigns across climate change, gender equality, digital inclusion, human rights and access to justice. She has designed and implemented global advocacy campaigns, including leading work that helped to define the transformational long-term goal for net zero emissions by 2050 and ensure it was embedded into the landmark Paris Agreement.

Prior to joining Global Optimism, Sharon was Director of Campaigns for The Elders, a group of former world leaders brought together by Nelson Mandela, where she led their efforts to inspire and build collective courage and action around the world in a range of advocacy areas including universal healthcare, climate change, access to justice, peace and human rights.

Sharon lived in Sydney, Australia from 1996 until 2001, leading strategy for a global portfolio of well known brands, during a period of rapid globalisation and digital transformation in the Asia-Pacific region. Witnessing the notable impacts of climate change on industries from agriculture to retail during this time activated her commitment to shifting practices to those that are more sustainable and equitable.

Sharon began her career creating marketing initiatives and campaigns in Africa, with highlights including the ANC’s first election campaign in South Africa, and the launch and growth of MTN, Africa’s largest cellular phone network. Sharon Johnson was born and educated in Johannesburg, South Africa, and holds degrees from Wits University in Industrial Psychology (Hons) and English Literature.

Sharon is a Trustee and Board member of Namati, the world’s largest grassroots legal empowerment organisation and is an advisor to the co-Presidents of the Club of Rome and the Office of the Founder at The Graça Machel Trust. Sharon lives in London with her husband, where they have raised three nearly grown up children.

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