Co-founder / CEO UrbanAdserve L.L.C. New York City, Age: 35
Sheila Marmon was offered “a fabulous corporate job” in the midst of national economic struggle and uncertainty. She opted to help African American- and Latino-owned small businesses to grow because she believed that she “should be building businesses and wealth in the Black community.” She carries out this personal mission through UrbanAdserve L.L.C., an online advertising network she co-founded to connect leading brands with urban “trendsetters.”
“With UrbanAdserve, we took a generic concept and evolved it to develop a digital media company to address multicultural consumers that create real economic value for us and for others,” says Marmon. “The nature of our business is such that ninety percent of our business expenses go to support other minority entrepreneurs! So as we grow our enterprise successfully, we are recycling our dollars within our community in hopes to have an even greater impact.”
Marmon graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University and with an MBA from Harvard University School of Business. A member of the NextGen Network, an affiliate of the Executive Leadership Council, she previously was director of Multimedia Strategy at Essence. “Prior to business school, I was a consultant, which provides a great foundation for solving business problems, analytics, attention to detail, grace and poise under pressure,” she says.
Marmon says mentors encouraged her to think big, take risks and start her own business. “New challenges make me thrive. [I enjoy] new problems and the freedom to come up with a creative answer,” she says.
Quote: “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined.” – Henry David Thoreau
Favorite book / author: Paulo Coelho
What actress should play you in a movie: Joy Bryant
Favorite sports team: Los Angeles Lakers
First job: Ironing my grandfather’s dress shirts (25 cents, long sleeve; 15 cents, short sleeve)
Number of countries visited: Close to 30
Favorite charity: A Better Chance Inc.