Who We Are

Who We Are

More than 2,500 women globally have become engaged in Great Dame initiatives since we launched in 2009. More women are joining the community every day. The three women behind the organization are a dynamic team of mother and daughters: Sharon Kelly Hake, Heather Cassey and Deirdre Hake.

Sharon Kelly Hake, President and CEO

SH Headshot_2009Sharon’s passion is finding the “great dame” in every woman. Sharon launched Great Dames, Inc. as a way of connecting and mobilizing women kindred spirits with purpose. She has enjoyed a lifetime of inspiration from remarkable women and men, including her father who taught her the value of creating a legacy and provided the inspiration for her new company.

Prior to launching the company, Sharon had a successful career as a global marketing leader at DuPont as she led global teams to define the competitive landscape, market needs, and offering gaps around areas of focus for several different businesses. Her growth recommendations integrated market insights into customer needs, channels, brands, technology and strategic relationships. Sharon had a chance to spread her wings in corporate life, holding positions in finance, marketing, communications, corporate social responsibility and public affairs during her career.
She holds an MBA in finance and marketing from the Fox School of Business at Temple University and a BS degree from Penn State. Married to her best friend, Glenn, she is the mother of two amazing daughters, Heather Cassey, Great Dames co-founder and Deirdre, a Great Dames principal.


Heather Cassey, Co-Founder & Director of Operations

heather 2014_sqFor Heather, “GreatDameness” is all about implementing ideas that make the world better. For more than half her life, she has been involved in work that focuses on giving back, especially in helping disadvantaged children and mothers enhance their lives.

As a teen, she worked at Variety Club, a Philadelphia organization that has been serving children with disabilities since 1935. After graduating from Penn State in 2004 with a degree in psychology, Heather worked in the autistic support program at Melmark, a well-known organization that provides residential, educational, therapeutic, and recreational services for children and adults with developmental disabilities.

She then continued her global travels throughout Asia, Europe and the United States working with organizations focused on helping families. Bi-lingual, she spent two years living in Spain. Heather recently earned a Master’s Degree in Applied Behavior Analysis from Temple University and became a Board Certified Behavior Analyst as a way of continuing to expand her knowledge and capacity to help those who need it. Heather now resides in Philadelphia where she works to inspire other women to become Great Dames. 


Deirdre Hake, Program Director

DIDI websiteFor Deirdre, Great Dames community includes a group of millennials who call themselves “City Sisters” in Philadelphia. Deirdre started the group as a way of connecting like-minded women who wanted to pay it forward, improve their community and forge friendships in a large city. Deirdre has spent a lifetime doing similar work, as a community service volunteer during high school, a lion ambassador at Penn State, a staunch advocate for kids who needed mentors at Big Brothers Big Sisters in Philadelphia, and in her current role as External Relations Director at SPARK to find resources for youth to get them internships for real world career experiences. For Deirdre, “GreatDameness” is all about to helping youth find their “spark” and discover their potential She helps plenty of Dames do that, too!

Deirdre graduated from Penn State in 2008 with a degree in Spanish. She has studied abroad in China and Spain and is a world traveler.