Sharon Lechter is an entrepreneur, author, philanthropist, international speaker, licensed CPA, Chartered Global Management Accountant and, most importantly a mother and grandmother. A life-long education advocate, she is the founder and CEO of Pay Your Family First, a financial education organization. Regarded as a global expert on financial literacy, Sharon has served as a national spokeswoman and Presidential Adviser on the topic. In 2016 Sharon was appointed by Junior Achievement as a JA University of Success Founding Chancellor and in 2017 as Arizona Chairman for the 2020 Women on Boards initiative, which she continues to serve today.
Sharon has been a pioneer in developing new technologies, programs and products to bring education into people’s lives in ways that are innovative, challenging and fun, and remains committed to education – particularly financial literacy and entrepreneurship. In 1989, she joined forces with the inventor of the first electronic 'talking book' and helped him expand the electronic book industry to a multi-million dollar international market. Since 1992, she has dedicated her professional life and directed her entrepreneurial efforts in the creation and distribution of financial and entrepreneurial education books, games and other experiential learning products.
In 1997 Sharon co-authored the international bestseller Rich Dad Poor Dad, and has released 14 other books in the Rich Dad series. Over 10 years as co-Founder and CEO, she led the Rich Dad Company and brand into an international powerhouse. In 2008, she was asked by the Napoleon Hill Foundation to help re-energize the powerful teachings of Napoleon Hill just as the international economy was faltering. Sharon has released three bestselling books in cooperation with the Foundation, including Think and Grow Rich-Three Feet from Gold, Outwitting the Devil and her latest project, Think and Grow Rich for Women, released in June of 2014. She is also featured in the 2017 movie Think and Grow Rich: The Legacy and has released the book Save Wisely, Spend Happily in cooperation with the American Institute of CPAs.
Pay Your Family First’s financial literacy board game ThriveTime for Teens, an innovative, experiential and fun life and money reality game, has received coveted awards including a Mom’s Choice GOLD Award, Creative Child Magazine’s 2010 Game of The Year, Dr. Toy’s Best Vacation Product and a five-star rating from WTS Toy Reviews. Sharon is the co-author of Your Financial Mastery, a financial education college curriculum and recipient of the 2015 Excellence in Financial Literacy Education “Book of the Year” award presented by the Financial Literacy Institute.
Sharon is recognized globally as an expert on the topics of financial education and entrepreneurship. In 2008 she was appointed to the first President’s Advisory Council on Financial Literacy. The Council served both President Bush and President Obama advising them on the need for financial literacy education. In 2009 Sharon was appointed to the National CPA Financial Literacy Commission as a national spokesperson on the topic of financial literacy and was reappointed in 2014.
In 2012, Sharon suffered a devastating loss when her son unexpectedly passed away. While Sharon continued to work, something changed. She put herself on autopilot and stopped working to her fullest, stopped striving to be her best, stopped pursuing the excellence she knew she was capable of. It was in this realization that led Sharon to her next project, the Play Big Movement- a call to action, online course, and a forthcoming book about rising above whatever is stopping you from thinking and acting as to your greatest potential. With the Play Big Movement, Sharon is back and teaching the world how to take control of their time and money, live their legacy and create maximum impact.
A committed philanthropist, Sharon also gives back to world communities as both a volunteer and benefactor. She serves on the national board of the Women Presidents’ Organization, and the national board of Childhelp, a national organization founded to prevent and treat child abuse. Sharon has served as an Instructor for Thunderbird School of Global Management for both its Artemis Program and its partnership with the U.S. Department of State and Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women program. Sharon was the driving force behind the passage of Arizona SB1449 in June of 2013, a bill that requires financial literacy concepts to permanently be incorporated into economics standards and created a separate statue for those concepts.
Sharon’s contributions have been recognized globally. Childhelp has honored Sharon and her husband, Michael, as recipients of the Spirit of the Children Award. Sharon and Michael were recognized as an Arizona “Power Couple,” and Sharon was also named as a Woman of Distinction by the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America. She was honored with a 2012 Positively Powerful Women award for Philanthropic Leadership, by the Phoenix Business Journal as one of 2013’s 25 Dynamic Women in Business, and by National Bank of Arizona with the 2013 Woman of the Year award and Arizona Business Magazine as one of the 50 most Influential Women in Arizona Business. In 2015 Sharon was honored by Florida State University’s Women for FSU with a Gift of Wisdom Award, Women Presidents’ Organization with the Mary Lehman MacLachlan Economic Empowerment award and by the National Financial Educators Council as the Financial Educator of the Year for 2015. Sharon was also honored with the prestigious 2015 International Profilo Donna Award by Profile Woman. In 2016, she was awarded the Lifetime Achievement award by Habitude Warrior International and in 2017 with a Lifetime Achievement Award from The Best You. In addition, Sharon has the distinct honor to be the only woman inducted into the Personal Development Hall of Fame.