In Honor of Sharon Swartworth

In Honor Of Sharon T. Swartworth

  Chief Warrant Officer 5 Sharon T. Swartworth (deceased)

Leaders empower others, listen, think strategically, innovate, make thoughtful decisions, show empathy, adapt, delegate, communicate, remain committed, stand with their team, inspire and exude positivity.

Long-time ILTA peer, Sharon Swartworth Chief Warrant Officer 5 exemplified these traits in all of her work for the U.S. Judge Advocate General's Corps (JAG) and when volunteering for ILTA. To honor Sharon, ILTA developed the "Sharon Swartworth Leadership Development Seminar" in 2004. At ILTACON in 2004-2012, 2014 and 2016 US Army JAG Corps leaders have provided education and insights for ILTA members. In 2013, we developed an annual full day conference separate from ILTACON in honor of Sharon and dedicated to instilling the leadership skills Sharon learned in the JAG Corps, to ILTA members. Many ILTA members have shared their Sharon Swartworth memories.

ILTA volunteer, Cathy Reilly, said Sharon was a “force of nature” both professionally and personally who was “smart, personable, caring and stepped to the front of the line.” She also shared her last conversation with Sharon before her final dangerous tour to Iraq to meet with her team. “I remember hearing the route they would take and asking if she really had to go - her response was that her soldiers were out there and the she needed to show them that they were important and she supported them.” Chief Warrant Officer Five Charles Poulton (retired) also asked Sharon to not go on the tour. He explained, “She then told me that if it was me that I would also go. She was correct and the respect I gained for her and her mental was just doubled! Leadership comes in many forms of actions and people, but in Sharon's case, she was leadership."

ILTA volunteer, Joy Heath Rush said, “Sharon Swartworth exemplified servant leadership… She earned that respect by working side-by-side with the “JAG guys” (her team) and other ILTA volunteers. She never asked anyone to do anything she wouldn’t and couldn’t do herself.”

Ted Glutz, Chief Warrant Officer (retired) and Director of Sales and marketing at Innovative Computing Solutions shared, “She could identify the most pertinent forums where great minds developed even greater ideas, and even better, create the most obscure impromptu think tanks, to build solutions to issues that prior to these gatherings, fell into the “it just can’t be done” category. These gatherings were so different in spectrum, from a noisy pub at a high bar table with stools and a few bodies crowded around and the note-taker repurposing napkins to capture flowing ideas, to quiet, focused conferences and symposiums numbering in the thousands. Most importantly, these thoughts and ideas were never lost on her. From the most mundane ideas, to the best thought-out plans, you could count on her follow-up and tenacity to make sure every idea was revisited, considered, and taken to the next level if it had merit.”

This annual event is inspired by a true leader, Sharon Swartworth. She was a soldier, a legal administrator and a committed ILTA volunteer leader — the embodiment of a leader in all aspects of her life. In an article published just after her death, an Army leader said, "What people recognized in Sharon was her ability to develop a vision for an organization and, more important, to implement that vision through persistence, toughness and tenacity. ... Without Sharon's leadership, these changes have slowed, but her vision and drive were unmistakable, and these changes are being carried out by others."

Seeing Sharon's great aptitude for leadership demonstrated the importance of training all of our ILTA peers in leadership. A leader can lead from any level of an organization. Leadership is a state of mind where one solves problems and inspires others. Thank you, Sharon, for being the ILTA’s inspiration to continually cultivate new leaders.