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Sharif Tarver '16

Getting Down to Business

Starting a non-profit organization is the pipe dream of many. Making the first steps can seem logistically daunting, though, and maintaining the business end is ostensibly exhausting.

Those fears didn’t impede Sharif Tarver, a sophomore sustainable-business major and communications minor from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, from establishing himself as a trailblazer before enrolling at Green Mountain College.

Sharif founded and manages a non-profit named Philly’s Future Talent. “It’s a business to help artists develop their talent and repertoire, teach people how to get sponsors and give them exposure,” he said. “I have six staff members back at home. It’s a day-to-day commitment for me while at school; sometimes I’m making phone calls while in class!”

Philly's Future Talent landed some artists in the recently released Jay'Z Made in America documentary directed by Ron Howard. The film made its debut on the Showtime Network last month.

"Jay'z talked about how he struggled, failed, and then eventually became successful," Sharif said. "We illustrated his story when we persuaded Livenation to allow us to perform. We had some challenges in persuading them to let our artists perform but our 'grit' got us in the show!"

GMC came into Sharif’s life through a high-school counselor’s guidance. “The financial aid here is very good, and I was drawn to the sustainability commitment,” he said, “and I’ve found that GMC allows me to step out of my boundaries, get closer to the community and get involved.”

Sharif’s work stretches between Philadelphia and Poultney. On his agenda besides running PFT, he lives on and is a sustainability floor member, is the Treasurer of the Student Campus Greening Fund, works two positions in the dining hall, is a promoter in Philadelphia and is playing Muley and Uncle John in the upcoming theater production of Grapes of Wrath.

Sharif aims for a future outside of United States boundaries. “I’d like to live in Vancouver,” he said, “the balance between metropolitan and nature there is really nice. They’re also sustainably focused; I’m drawn to that.”

In terms of a career choice, he listed a few options: “I’d like to be a hedge-fund manager, a patent attorney or an entrepreneur and philanthropist,” he said. Looking at Sharif’s already impressive resume, it’s easy to believe he’ll find success.

By Tim Halteman ‘15
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