A father of four—I was born in Beth Israel Hospital and raised primarily in the South Ward of the great city of Newark NJ. My dad is the late Carl Sharif and my Mom is Deloris Dawson. I have four sisters and three brothers and a host of cousins who still reside in Newark. In fact… the matriarch of my family, my 93 year old Grandmother lives on South Orange Avenue.

I attended Newark Public Schools including Maple Annex, Dayton Street School, Maple Avenue School and Middle Schooling at Maple Lyons before graduating Science High School. I was accepted to the New York School of Visual Arts and I’ve spent the last 25 years as an executive creative and marketing director in corporate america.

My professional experience includes marketing communications, art design, creative direction, advertising, strategic planning, and brand management. In addition, I have extensive project and staff management, administrative, and financial oversight experience for companies ranging from small businesses to Fortune 100 companies in the publishing, communications, fragrance, housewares, marketing, and travel industries. 

I have always had a passion for improving the overall conditions of and provide opportunities for Black and Brown people in the inner city. I am a successful product of the Newark Public Schools and I believe every child in Newark deserves access to the same opportunities I’ve had.