Owen Sharp

Global CEO, Movember Foundation
BA (Hons) Nursing 1995

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‌What does Owen Sharp have in common with the likes of Hercule Poirot and Freddie Mercury during the month of November? That’s right, he sports a moustache. As the CEO of men’s health charity Movember, his role is to help raise millions of pounds in order to save lives across the globe. We caught up with him to find out more about the charity and his time at GCU. 

Growing up in Cambridge, Owen had a desire to study in Scotland where he and his family all originally hailed from. He initially had dreams of becoming a journalist and left high school to work at a local newspaper for a year. 

However, he was told that in order to progress further he would need a qualification. So he returned to college to study a variety of subjects which led to an acceptance letter from Aberdeen University to study English. 

In an unfortunate turn of events, the offer was withdrawn after his results revealed that he had failed economics. Whilst this would knock down the confidence of anyone, Owen felt inspired by his mother to work as a Porter in the Community Hospital where he soon became a friendly face, talking to patients and hearing their stories. 

It was only a few weeks later when he was asked if he would be interested in becoming a Health Care Assistant. Soon after this new and challenging role began, he was informed there was an error and he did indeed pass economics. 

Even though Aberdeen University respectfully honoured his place, Owen had a fresh outlook on life and also felt he would be lagging behind his peers starting so late into the course. 

This is how he came to study Nursing at Glasgow Polytechnic in 1991. With real life experience under his belt, Owen was ahead of the game. He continued to work hard to brighten the lives of patients during his studies and even the summer holidays. 

Looking back at his time at university, Owen said: “I absolutely loved my time at GCU. What I learnt equipped me for what I do now in ways I didn’t understand at the time. 

Owen found his calling is to help other people so it was only natural for him to be accepted into a graduate management trainee position with the NHS. His rapport with patients and inspirational leadership skills led him from management to senior management positions within healthcare and nursing. 

He said: “I came across guys every day who were facing incredible challenges in their lives. Some of them facing the end of their lives and it was scary, difficult and upsetting but I’ve never laughed as much as I did then.” 

His first voyage into fundraising was the charity Victim Support as the Deputy Chief Executive. He merged 77 charities into one national charity and significantly raised their public profile. After shortly becoming the CEO, he moved on to Prostate Cancer UK as the Chief Executive. 

Owen also oversaw the establishment of the new brand and launch of the highly successful Men United campaign, rapidly increasing funds raised and awareness of prostate cancer as the most common cancer in men. 

He was able to develop his true passion for men’s health awareness as well as establish contact with Movember since it’s the main partners of Prostate Cancer UK. In 2015 he secured a post within the moustache loving charity. 

Initially a Global Prostate and Testicular Cancer Lead, he quickly moved to Chief Operating Officer. Primarily based in Australia, where it was founded, they operate in 26 countries globally.

“Men’s health is an issue that affects all of us and by the simple act of participating in the month of Movember, you can help transform thousands of lives for the better,” he said.

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