Giving back

Sharon MalheiroFor this alumna, improving her community is as important as career success

Recognized as a brilliant litigator, Sharon Malheiro has had a career filled with accolades.

In the last year alone, she received the Des Moines Business Record’s Women of Influence Award and the Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute Distinguished Civic Leadership Award. She was listed in The Best Lawyers in America for labor and employment law.

Building a Better Future

But for Malheiro, JO’78, LW’89, those things matter less than the effect she has had on the lives of others.

“If you don’t give back, you don’t make this world a better place, and I hope this is a better place when I leave,” says Malheiro, a senior shareholder in the Davis Brown Law Firm in Des Moines.

It’s a philosophy she developed during her days as a Drake student and embraced as a young lawyer.

“This concept of giving back is taught everywhere at Drake,” Malheiro says. “I was raised with that as an undergraduate and as a law student, and it just became a characteristic for me.”

Seeking Change

The obligation to serve is something she continues to preach now that she is president of the firm’s board of directors. Malheiro is the second woman in the law firm’s 82-year history to hold the position.

She also leads by example.

Throughout her career, she has been an advocate for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community. Currently, she serves as chair of One Iowa and the One Iowa Education Fund.

She has also supported those in need by serving on the boards of numerous nonprofits, including Employee & Family Resources, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Iowa and Family Futures Network.

“One of the things I was taught in law school was as a lawyer you have an obligation to serve your community,” she says. “This is my way of giving back.”

— Elizabeth Ford, JO’07, AS’07

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