GRADUATE DIPLOMA OF BUSINESS, (SECRETARIAL STUDIES), 1989 AND GRADUATE DIPLOMA OF EDUCATION (SECONDARY), 1992
A passionate desire to support teachers in managing their ever-increasing workloads was the catalyst for Sharon Grosser’s bold decision to quit her job as a secondary school teacher and embark on a career as an entrepreneur.
In 2006, after 20 years’ experience in education, Sharon and her husband Grant resigned from their jobs, mortgaged their house, and set about building a software company.
“We wanted to improve the lives of teachers,” says Sharon. “If you don’t look after teachers, then children are not going to get a good education. How can kids learn if their teacher is stressed and fatigued?”
Yet Sharon describes how in the early 2000’s teachers were leaving the profession ‘in droves’ because of the increasing demands of administrative workloads.
“Many of our good friends and colleagues were succumbing to burn-out,” explains Sharon. “Teachers were struggling with administrative requirements that took their time and energy away from planning and delivering great learning experiences for their students.”
“At the same time, technology started coming into schools with programs developed by software engineers who had no idea what teachers needed.”
Grant, in his role as a deputy principal, saw first-hand how the poorly designed software was compounding the problem. So, with Sharon’s support, he set about developing a user-friendly, all-in-one software platform specifically for teachers – and their company, SEQTA, was born.
Since those early days as a humble kitchen table start-up, SEQTA has grown into a multi-award winning software company with clients throughout Australia and South East Asia.
In addition to enabling teachers to complete all their administration in a virtual learning environment, SEQTA Software has developed into an interactive software application that also services parents, students and administrators.
Today SEQTA provides more than 455 schools, 30,000 teachers and 245,000 students with instant online access to everything they need in their school’s learning community.
Over the years Sharon has undertaken a variety of roles in the company, including Operations Director, CEO, and Director of People and Culture.
Sharon’s entrepreneurial success was acknowledged in 2016 when she and Grant were named Western Region Winners in the Entrepreneur of the Year Awards. In June 2018, SEQTA Software was inducted into the Western Australian Information Technology and Telecommunication Alliance (WAITTA) INCITE Awards’ Hall of Fame.
“It’s great to get feedback about SEQTA that you are helping teachers save time with the administrative tasks so they can concentrate on what they do best: teaching in the classroom,” says Sharon proudly.
A few years ago, Sharon stepped back from the day-to-day running of the business to concentrate on philanthropic causes close to her heart: assisting the Perth start-up community and mentoring teaching students at ECU.
“I feel really good about being able to be in a position to help where I can,” she says. “Young graduates can be completely overwhelmed when they start teaching so mentoring is important for retention in the profession.”
“Through SEQTA, Grant and I have also set up a number of awards to acknowledge teachers who are exceptional mentors.”
One of Sharon’s ECU mentors, the late Lincoln McCashney, has inspired the Grosser’s latest philanthropic endeavour.
Sharon describes how at Lincoln’s funeral, fellow educators spoke about the huge impact his mentorship had on their lives, inspiring them to become mentors too. Wanting to create their own lasting tribute to honour Lincoln’s contribution to education in WA, Sharon and Grant decided to set up a scholarship in his name.
The Lincoln McCashney Memorial Scholarship, worth $5,000, will be awarded annually to a third year ECU Education student who demonstrates the qualities that made Lincoln McCashney such an outstanding teacher, educator and mentor to so many ECU students. The inaugural scholarship winner will be announced in 2018.
Sharon believes that going forward, industry/university partnerships will be critical for ensuring success for graduates in the workforce.
“ECU is the centre for excellence in teaching and everyone loves the ECU teaching graduates. However once you graduate, my advice would be to stay involved with your university – if all the graduates keep going back and making connections between students and professionals, you never know where it will lead.”
Find out more information about the Lincoln McCashney Memorial Scholarship.