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Meet the MSV Team: Sean Parker

Sean Parker

Executive Director

At Main Street Ventures (MSV), we strive to do one thing: Empower our next generation of entrepreneurs by helping provide capital, connections and education to help them take their idea from dream to reality. But who are the individuals working behind the scenes to support our region’s startup and small business community?

Meet the people who look forward to meeting you at Main Street: MSV Executive Director Sean Parker. 

Q: When did you officially start working at Main Street Ventures? 

Parker: It was in March 2023. I left Nike in May 2022 and took some time off to reconnect with my family after years of trying to find balance. Initially, I started off thinking that I would just take the summer off, justifying it by reminding myself that I needed a break because I’ve been working pretty much non-stop since I was 13. It was supposed to be the “Summer of Sean,” but it extended into the fall, and then I began thinking, “I can’t start looking for a new job at the end of the year.”

I was drawn to Main Street Ventures because of the focus on capital deployment. I love the mission – we’re helping entrepreneurs grow their businesses at a critical time in their life-cycle so that they can grow and become sustainable. We’ve got retail companies and this job gives me a chance to utilize my relationships and intimate knowledge of the industry to help those businesses realize their full potential.

Q: Are you married? Do you have any children and/or pets?

Parker: I’m married, going on 15 years this year – my wife’s name is Paaras and she’s awesome. There’s a lot of funny, unique things about our relationship. In many cases, we’re a complete oxymoron. She’s originally from Pakistan, so she’s Southeast Asian and I’m Black. I’m a Christian, she’s Muslim. Our whole relationship is built on embracing the similarities and not giving a damn about the differences.

We have two wonderful kids in our 12-year-old daughter, Layla, and our 8-year-old son, Elijah. Layla is our artistic child as she’s into singing, theater, photography and she does hip-hop dance. Elijah is our 8-year-old basketball-loving kid who also just got into YouTube with his own channel. His Youtube name is “Spicy Dorito Bubby.” I’m teaching them both to be entrepreneurial.

Our dog is a Bernedoodle, a Bernese Mountain Dog and poodle mix, named Teddy Peeindagrass (which is a play on legendary R&B singer Teddy Pendergrass). He’s the best dog I’ve ever had. Now I understand why people love animals – not enough to let him sit on the couch or lick my face – but enough to know his birthdate and to make sure he’s always ok.

Teddy is a pandemic puppy. I got him in February 2020 right after Kobe Bryant passed away because I was pretty sad about that and since work was shut down, I got a chance to be with him all day, every day for several months. Paaras didn’t want a dog, so I had to find one that didn’t shed, make a mess in the house or bark a lot. He’s 90 pounds of love, gentleness and constant positive energy.

Q: How would you describe your role at MSV and how do you work with MSV Activators (those who have received grant funding from the organization)?

Parker: My role is to raise awareness of the organization and the great work that we do. It’s to raise money so that we can provide more grants and level up services to our activators. And most importantly, it is to remove obstacles so that my team can be great. 

Q: Why is the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky region a great place to start a business?

Parker: There’s a good combination of resources, whether it’s simply knowledge or capital. We have our universities/research institutions and strong companies, so on paper, we have everything an entrepreneur needs to be successful. I’m a firm believer the next P&G, Paycor, MedPace or Total Quality Logistics is going to be homegrown. We have all the ingredients to make it happen, we just need to support early-stage companies so that can become growth companies. 

Q: What can the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky region do to help entrepreneurs and startups?

Parker: This is the same thing that I said when I was in education on the board of Cincinnati Public Schools for a short period: This region would be amazing if the adults were focused on who we’re here to serve and not our egos. The resources that we need are here. People just need to serve and then get out of the way.

Q: If you were to ever start your own business, it would be ...?

Parker: If I ever started another business, it would be business number five for me. I’ve learned something different from each of the ones I ran previously. 

It would be to grow my public relations company and focus on helping people tell their stories and connect to the right resources to help them make their dreams a reality.

Q: What is the best part of your job?

Parker: Talking to business owners and figuring out what it is they need. I’m fueled by helping other people.

I’ve worked for some of the best companies in the world and made more money than I ever thought I would and still found a way to not always be happy. I’ve learned my happiness doesn’t come from rising up the corporate ladder. It comes from helping people and giving back. My mental health is in the best place it’s ever been. I wake up every day not just thinking about how I can advance my career, but thinking about how I can help someone overcome obstacles that they’re dealing with.

Q: Do you have any hidden talents?

Parker: I don't know if it's hidden because people that know me know, but I'm the best reception dancer that you've ever seen. I have an alter ego that I go into – “Sean Travolta.” 

It’s hard for me to remember organized, choreographed steps, but if I can freestyle, man, you better open up a Soul Train line for me at your wedding reception because I’m going to tear it up, humbly speaking. 

Q: Is there a story that you feel either represents Main Street Ventures and/or why you enjoy what you do?

Parker: We have an entrepreneurial camp for high school students called Inventure Entrepreneurship Academy. It’s a week-long camp where they get in groups and create a business idea and pitch it at the end of the week. We utilize mentors and subject matter experts. I use it as an opportunity to reach out to people I know and everyone I reached out to, like 70 people, showed up. I was so excited to see them all there showing up for the next generation. 

Growing up, one of the household teachings I had was you have to work twice as hard to get half as far – don’t ask anyone for anything. I have a network because I’m always willing to help others, but I’ve never asked for anything. Getting over that mentality is huge in helping others to realize it’s okay to ask for help to grow their business. 


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