Why Sharifa Murdock Is Determined to Open to Others the Opportunities They Deserve

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For Sharifa Murdock, the road to success would have been a bit more challenging if not for an opportunity she was given in her teenage years.

“Sam [Ben-Avraham] made me the woman I am in business today,” said Murdock, whose career in fashion started as a salesperson at the retailer’s New York City store, Atrium, when she was just 16 years old. “Sam [helped] me understand how to speak and work with people, and how to have patience. He also made me understand how to be noticed in rooms without saying much.”

She eventually reached the manager level at Atrium, but Murdock really hit her stride in the trade show world. She was the director of sales at Project, a show Ben-Avraham founded, and years later the two would team up to create Liberty Fairs.

In the years since, Murdock — who will speak at FN’s Women Who Rock event on June 5 in New York — has dedicated much of her efforts to opening doors for others. For instance, she co-created the Envsn Festival, an organization focused on supporting the needs and foundational skills of Gen Z and millennials of color. She also serves as the chief impact officer at Kith, where she leads its philanthropic arm, the Kinnect Foundation, which launched in 2021.

To execute the Kinnect Foundation mission, Murdock has assembled a team of six women: director Emily Ades; Alani Noelle, community and content lead; Francess Henry, senior coordinator; Sabrina Lee, executive assistant to the chief impact officer; and Kith director of communications Rachel Golden.

“My director and me are the older people on the team, and being able to learn from younger people, to me, is super important,” Murdock said. “It keeps us relevant, it keeps us in the know. We come with wisdom, they come with facts. They come with, ‘This is what we need to be doing now,’ and we come with, ‘This is how we used to do it.'”

Having had the door opened for her, and having opened the door for others, Murdock is focused on continuing to be a conduit for opportunity.

“Growing up as a Black woman in Brooklyn, you are not given anything. Someone gave me an opportunity. I will be damned if I don’t give other people an opportunity off of my back,” Murdock said. “I want to give as many people as possible opportunity to be in spaces and rooms where they feel like they weren’t ever accepted.”

A version of this article appeared in the June 3 print issue of FN, as part of the “Women Who Rock” special section. On June 5, FN and Two Ten Footwear Foundation will honor these women at a live event in New York City.

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