Executive director &

nonprofit management


Career path:

Executive Director and Nonprofit Management


The Canterbury, a Life Plan Community


Bachelor Degree, Utah State University

MS in Gerontology, University of Southern California, Leonard Davis School of Gerontology

Doctorate Candidate in Behavioral Health, Arizona State University


Meet Sharon Pewtress, the Executive Director of The Canterbury, a Life Plan Community. She is responsible for the operations, management and day-to-day business where older adults reside. Sharon’s formal education includes a Bachelor degree from Utah State University, Masters degrees from Southern Oregon University (Management) and the University of Southern California Leonard Davis School of Gerontology, Columbia University (Internship in Building Community), and is working on her Doctorate of Behavioral Health at Arizona State University.

Sharon’s passion for engaging students to join the field of aging services began when she was first introduced to the wide range of opportunities as an AIT at Pacific Retirement Services. In this role, she was exposed to all aspects of aging services; from clinical care and operations management (i.e. hospitality, culinary, marketing, etc.) to new business development, technology, design and construction project management. It was then that she realized if students knew that they could gain experience as well as creatively contribute to a greater purpose, more would not only join these efforts, but could help improve how these services are being provided in the future. However, she soon realized that this recruitment also increased the need for mentors to provide opportunities for these new leaders, as well as retention. This led to the formation of the LeadingAge national’s young professionals network.

For Sharon, it's more than a job, but a calling. As she has been provided many unique opportunities during her career, she believes that it is her responsibility to pay it forward. She believes in making a meaningful impact and inspire others to exceed even their own wildest expectations; believing in and leading them to not only reach, but exceed their potential. She promotes innovation that will enhance the lives of her residents such as the Wellness Toilet study in partnership with SchwabCare and Stanford University; developing technology that will simplify their lives to decrease isolation and improve engagement; as well as creating career pathways for her team members at all levels of the organization. Seeing these efforts come to fruition are what motivate her to continue with this mission and purpose.

Sharon's Career Advice: "Once you find your passion then dive in, head first and pour yourself into it; you will never regret it and the reward will always exceed the effort!"