Brittany Sharpton is using all her knowledge and resources to improve her community. With love, dedication and charisma, she’s helping South Florida’s Black community bridge the economic gap that is the root of many of its social problems.
Sharpton was born and raised in Miami. According to her father, Darryl, the 36-year-old has always stood out, not just academically but in sports and civic activities. From a young age, she and her two younger siblings, Darryl and Brooke, were taught the importance of character, integrity and hard work.
“Brittany is a visionary,” said her father. “She knows what she wants and tries to incorporate that into what her community or her peers need … She is a loving person. I am probably most proud of her for that attribute.”
Sharpton considers her upbringing crucial to her development.
Sharpton graduated from high school at the Maritime and Science Technology (MAST) Academy and continued her education at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, graduating in 2007. She began her career on New York’s Wall Street as a municipal finance analyst. After six years in New York, she returned to Miami and took a job as an economic consultant.
She quickly saw that the challenges her hometown city had faced when she was in middle school at Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart had lingered.
But, she said, “I eat challenges for breakfast.”
Sharpton felt compelled to be part of the solution, and in 2017 started Apexa Consulting, an agency that helps public and private entities solve complex problems by applying expertise in economics, strategy and valuation.
She also started a podcast, “Britt Happens,” that seeks to inform residents about what is happening in the city, and the country in general. It revolves around the idea that life’s best lessons occur outside of the classroom.
“I don’t know anyone, no matter how successful, who has not come across challenges or struggles,” Sharpton said. “[Those challenges] definitely help to develop character and make people more interesting and layered.”
Sharpton believes that “to whom much is given, much is required.” In support of that belief, she serves as the treasurer of Delta Sigma Theta, a sorority committed to the constructive development of its members and to public service with a focus on the Black community.
She is also a member of the Biscayne Bay chapter of The Links, an organization committed to enriching the culture and economic survival of African Americans and others of African ancestry.
Sharpton thinks big, explaining that she would love to recreate a Black Wall Street and envisions “an affluent sophisticated, progressive, high-achieving, sustainable African American city with well-educated Black children, banks, hotels, homes, restaurants, retail, airports, etc.”
Sustainability, she says, is key for keeping Dr. Martin Luther King’s dream alive, so she works hard at being a leader in the infrastructure and economic consulting space. She wants to address education, wage and infrastructure gaps.
Sharpton notes the Black community comprises about 15% of the U.S consumer marketplace, and contends that same percentage of corporate, contract advertising, and spending manager positions should be held by Black Americans.
But, she said, “we often represent less than 2%.”
She also believes accountability for those in positions of leadership is crucial: “It’s rewarding when I feel like I can contribute and leverage my experiences and expertise to help someone achieve their dreams.”
Daniela Jaramillo is an NBCU fellow at Florida International University.