About Sharon

Sharon's Story

Sharon opening front door of home holding her dog

I often say that the path to the Global Chief Diversity Officer role at Walmart began long before I was born. I learned about hatred and intolerance because my parents were from two very different religious and socioeconomic backgrounds. Relatives felt comfortable making negative comments and expressing inappropriate stereotypes.

My parents made several purposeful parenting decisions that shaped me into the person I am today. When I was five years old, my parents moved one thousand miles away from relatives to stop the cycle of negativity and disrespect. When I was twelve, my parents who were strong supporters of the civil rights and women’s rights movement, moved our family to a neighborhood that was predominantly African American and Hispanic. I was the only white girl at the slumber parties I attended.

My family was not welcome in our new neighborhood and we experienced acts of vandalism at our home and family business. I was never afraid; I just wanted to make friends and fit in. I wanted someone to sit with on the school bus every day.

Our family lived in the neighborhood for 30 years and it taught me a valuable lesson: we are all more alike than we are different. Each of us want to be respected, valued, included and loved. I have made it my life’s mission to be inclusive and to help others be inclusive of all people.

Sharon sitting in a parkI joined The Harwood Institute in 2015 as a member of the Board of Directors. The Harwood Institute’s mission is to create communities where everyone comes together amid their differences to bridge divides, build capacity, and tackle shared challenges to create a more equitable, fair, just, inclusive, and hopeful path forward. Additional information about The Harwood Institute can be found at https://theharwoodinstitute.org/mission.

For over the past thirty-five years, The Harwood Institute has worked in communities such as Flint, MI; Jackson, MS; Newark, NJ; and Newtown, CT after the tragic mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary. Rich Harwood, President and Founder, has authored two books which describe the approach and impact of The Harwood Institute: Stepping Forward and Unleashed.

Avid Book Reviewer

Sharon holding a bookAs a young child, Nancy Drew fueled my imagination and adventures. My best friend, Lila, and I used to pretend we were Nancy Drew. We captured notes on the activities of our neighbors just in case there would be a major crime to investigate.

I eagerly anticipated trips to the local library, bookstore, and bookmobile to whet my voracious appetite for books. I explored many genres and loved being transported to other worlds without needing to leave my room. Books have fueled my imagination and taught me to think big and to move confidently in the direction of my dreams.

I joined Goodreads in July 2015 and began writing reviews and connecting with other book lovers. I have currently rated over 1,000 books and written over 500 reviews. I am rated as one of the top book reviewers on Goodreads.

Sharon having coffee with a friend over a book

Books have the magical power to bring us together.

Please join me on Goodreads and let’s connect over some terrific books!

Storytelling Author

Stories are what make us human. We tell stories to connect with each other. Stories are human currency. Stories have the power to bring us together to share and heal.

Thuhang Tran and I share her powerful odyssey from Saigon to the United States in Standing Up After Saigon.

Page Turners

Book Trailer

Inside the Story

Standing Up After Saigon

Sharing an extraordinary journey of resilience and love through overwhelming hardship, Standing up after Saigon: The Triumphant Story of Hope, Determination, and Reinvention is the memoir of Thuhang Tran as told by author Sharon Orlopp.

Contracting polio at age two and falling victim to the oppressive regime that overtook Saigon after its fall in the Vietnam War, Thuhang has led anything but an easy, ordinary life. Her father, Chinh, was lost to Thuhang and her family in the evacuations from Saigon, and for fifteen long years they remained separated—but desperate to reunite. Orlopp documented decades in the lives of Thuhang and Chinh to capture their incredible tale of triumph over adversity.