NORMAN — University alum and former pom-pom girl Sharen Jester Turney has discovered the secret to business success and breaking the glass ceiling — work hard, lead from your values and end up as the CEO of a brand for women, run by women.
Turney is president and CEO of Victoria’s Secret, and the successful Ardmore native spoke this week at a one-day symposium on the University of Oklahoma campus hosted by the Oklahoma Women’s Philanthropy Network.
“When I travel around the world, one of the first questions people ask me is, ‘Where are you from?’” Turney said.
She suspects that question is primarily inspired by her Oklahoma accent. Turney said she is proud to be the daughter of a farmer and an auctioneer.
She grew up on a farm and didn’t travel much in those days, or have time and money for manicures and pedicures.
But Turney’s father told her not to be intimidated by people who knew things she didn’t know.
He said there would always be someone smarter, but they wouldn’t know the things she knew about chickens and peanuts.
Turney was not intimidated.
She attended OU and discovered she enjoyed business classes. She had learned the value of hard work, responsibility and curiosity while growing up, and those attributes helped her become successful in college.
One business class had the students set up a fake company. Turney was surprised when the professor named her as CEO.
Turney attended OU during the Barry Switzer days when football got most all of the attention.
A new basketball coach wanted to garner more support for the basketball team, so a pom-pom squad was created. Turney made the squad.
“We were asked to be ambassadors for the University of Oklahoma,” she said, remembering the squad once performed a ribbon cutting to commemorate the opening of an oil well.