National Institute of Minority Economic Development
Roberta McCullough serves as Senior Vice President of Operations for Institute Capital, a CDFI program for the National Institute of Minority Economic Development. She leads her team to provide investment capital for affordable housing developers, small businesses, and community-based organizations. Additionally, encouraging HBCU collaboration by training, educating, and funding its future entrepreneurs in their student bodies. McCullough has continually served the economic development industry for over 30 years to alleviate systemic economic injustices. She holds a BS in Mathematics from Shaw University.
Pathway Women’s Business Center/
In March 2008, Amy Bunton joined Pathway Lending and currently serves as President of the newly created Pathway Women’s Business Center. While at Pathway Lending, Amy created and launched the $50 million Tennessee Energy Efficiency Loan Program and oversaw the execution of the Tennessee Energy Education Initiative which educated more than 2,500 individuals and companies on the benefits of sustainability and energy management practices.
Amy has extensive experience in working with entrepreneurs and has owned several businesses including a furniture manufacturing company whose most recognized piece was the button tufted “Chesterfield” sofa. Many of the distinctively styled pieces can still be seen on movie and television sets today even 20 years later.
During the Klassi Duncan Head shots taken at the City Park in New Orleans, Louisiana on Wednesday, October 24,2018. (Photo by J.R. Thomason | www.vpjr.com)
Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation
New Orleans, LA
Klassi R. Duncan currently serves as Vice President of the Center for Entrepreneurship & Innovation (CEI) at the Urban League of Louisiana based in New Orleans, LA. CEI operations include: the Women’s Business Resource Center, the Contractor’s Resource Center, and the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development DBE Supportive Services Program. The CEI provides small business education, counseling services, and access to resources to women and minority entrepreneurs across Southeast Louisiana. Under her leadership, the Women’s Business Resource Center was awarded the 2019 Region VI Women’s Center of Excellence Award and the 2017 Women’s Business Champion Award by the U.S. Small Business Administration, Louisiana District Office for their work in promoting and developing women-owned businesses across the region. Prior to joining the Urban League of Louisiana, Klassi served as the Director of Business Support & Evaluation for the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program at Delgado Community College, New Orleans, La.
Anne Flynn Schlicht
Center for Women's Entrepreneurship at Chatham University
Anne Flynn Schlicht joined the Center for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Chatham University (CWE) in 2006. Anne received her Masters of Business Studies in Entrepreneurship from the University of Limerick, Ireland and a Best Practice in Teaching Entrepreneurship Certificate from the University of Cambridge, UK. Anne is a professor of entrepreneurship at the Center for Entrepreneurship Studies at the University of Limerick, Ireland, a certified Kauffman FastTrac Facilitator and as a business consultant, Anne has presented at seminars and conferences internationally. In 2016, Chatham University was awarded a Women Business Center (WBC) grant by the SBA and Anne was appointed as Director of Chatham’s Women Business Center (CWBC). In 2018 CWBC was awarded the National Women’s Business Center of the year.
Vice Chair, Advocacy Chair
Helen Gordon Davis Centre for Women
Ann W. Madsen is the Executive Director of The Helen Gordon Davis Center for Women in Tampa, Fl., a nonprofit whose mission is to help women succeed personally and professionally. The Center operates six distinct programs, including the only SBA-designated Women’s Business Centre (WBC) on the West Coast of Florida. Madsen, who is an experienced entrepreneur (she founded two firms), launched the Women’s Business Centre in 2013 and secured funding from the Office of Women’s Business Ownership the following year to make the national resources of the SBA available to aspiring and nascent female entrepreneurs. Ann is a former journalist whose professional experience extends across corporate, academic and nonprofit sectors.
Vice Chair, Membership Chair
WBC of Northern Ohio
In 2018, Nicole was announced the Director of the Women’s Business Center of Northern Ohio. Nicole’s responsibilities include implementing new WBC entrepreneurship curriculum and programming, one-on-one coaching, organizing and leading training and workshops, and managing the day-to-day operations. Nicole cultivates relationships within the community and works to ensure the WBC executes on its goals to level the playing field for women entrepreneurs, who still face unique obstacles in the world of business today by providing the much-needed support system, coaching, and fundamentals. As an entrepreneurial-minded individual, Nicole brings a vast knowledge of business strategy. She has worked across a range of industries to deliver programs that aligned with the organization’s strategic vision.
Vice Chair, Fund Development Chair
Idaho Women’s Business Center
Diane Bevan serves as the Executive Director of the Idaho Women’s Business Center and CEO of the Idaho Hispanic Foundation. Diane has built her career on making connections and building business. She started her first business in high school designing and sewing prom dresses and has been an ongoing entrepreneur in some capacity. With a Communications / Public Relations background, she has used her combined skills to create multiple businesses in 4 states . As the first CEO of the Idaho Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in 2017, her mission was to bridge cultures and communities. In 2018, she founded the Idaho Hispanic Foundation,(501c3) and remains its CEO. In 2019, she was awarded the Women Business Center grant from the SBA and now serves as the Executive Director bringing education, training and business development to women across Idaho. She is Board member for the Idaho Foodbank and Valley Regional Transit. She is a 2019 and 2020 Idaho Business Review top 50 Women of the Year. She is in her 4th year as a Commissioner for Meridian Development Corporation Urban Renewal Agency.
Vice Chair, Capacity Building Chair
Center for Women & Enterprise
Gwen Pokalo joined CWE’s exciting tradition of developing & delivering high quality programming and technical assistance to women in business. She holds an MS in Community Development & Economic Development from the University of Vermont, where she developed a microbusiness incubator to assist emerging Vermont value-added-food and artisan entrepreneurs through a retail store and academic technical assistance model. Most recently, Gwen worked as Director of the Women’s Small Business Program and was awarded Vermont Business Magazine’s Rising Start Award. While there, she further developed the 25-year-old organization to expand offerings in business planning, personal finance, and networking.
She is delighted to have opened and currently direct the Center for Women and Enterprise Vermont.
New Economics for Women Women’s Business Center
Los Angeles, CA
Ruth Garcia-Corrales is the Director for New Economics for Women- Women’s Business Center. For her leadership, innovative workshops, providing access to capital, and exceeding the Center’s goals, Ruth was awarded The Women’s Business Center of Excellence Award for District IX from the SBA. Before the Women’s Business Center Ruth managed the West Valley Business Source Center a program from the Los Angeles Mayor's Office. Ruth is the former Consul General of Republic of Costa Rica for the U.S. West Coast, appointed by the President of Costa Rica. She holds a degree in Engineering from the University of Costa Rica, co-founder of the Central American Federation of Nations, composed of all the Consul Generals of C.A., working together on issues affecting their communities. She is the author of What it Takes, from $20 to $200 Million.
Dr. Dannellia Gladden Green
Women’s Business Center
Dr. Danni Gladden Green is a seasoned leader with strong entrepreneurial instincts. She has demonstrated success in varied professional capacities that include engineering, strategic marketing, contract negotiation, economic inclusion, human capital management, supply chain and general management. Her industry and experiential expertise include Wireless Communications, Consumer Electronics, Device Manufacturing, and Healthcare. As the founder of SAGEsse Consulting LLC, Dr. Danni’s firm consults in the areas of market strategy and business development. With an industry pedigree that includes semiconductors, consumer electronics, and healthcare, she has held senior leadership roles of increasing complexity, responsibilities and budgets with Texas Instruments, Motorola-Freescale, Dell Computers and Owens & Minor. Standing up a new Women’s Business Center in Richmond, Dr. Danni assumed leadership of this program of the National Institute for Minority Economic Development in January of 2021.
Tarsha Polk Hearns
LiftFund Dallas Fort Worth Women’s Business Center
Tarsha Polk Hearns is an experienced professional with over 20 years of combined marketing, sales, corporate training and entrepreneurial expertise. Affectionately known as, the Marketing Lady, she currently serves as the Director of the LiftFund Dallas Fort Worth Women’s Business Center. Tarsha leads a team that provides training, guidance and resources to entrepreneurs seeking to start or grow a business. Tarsha is an engaged member of the local business community and has received numerous awards including Dallas Start-Up Week’s Entrepreneur Evangelist of the Year, 40 Under 40 in Collin County, Business Person of the Year, Women in the Media Award and the Leadership Award from National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO). She is an advocate for women and minority businesses and uses her gifts and talents to make an impact in the community. She is past president of NAWBO’s Dallas chapter, served on the DISD Minority and Women Business Enterprise Advisory Committee and was a founding board member of the Collin County Black Chamber of Commerce.
San Diego & Imperial Women’s Business Center
San Diego, CA
Katty Ibarra is the Director of the San Diego & Imperial Women's Business Center, hosted by Southwestern College. Katty is a bilingual small business owner excited to empower female entrepreneurs by leading the WBC, creating programs, providing business advising, and training to secure women's economic justice and entrepreneurial opportunities. Katty holds a Bachelor of Arts in Graphic Design from the Universidad del Valle de Mexico and a Master's of Science in Marketing from National University, with extensive branding, marketing, and social media experience. Katty owns a binational marketing firm and has more than 15 years of experience in small business and marketing strategies.
California Capital Women’s Business Center
Sophia Kanaan is the Director of California Capital Women’s Business Center, a mission based non-profit dedicated to serving underserved communities in the Sacramento region. With a Master’s in Public Administration from McGeorge School of Law and bachelor’s degrees in Sociology and Women’s Studies from the University of California, Davis, Sophia is passionate about community growth and the success of small business owners and entrepreneurs. In her free time, Sophia loves to spend time with her husband and 2 year old daughter.
Jacksonville Women’s Business Center
Possessing a keen ability to navigate resources and connect with people, Jackie is director of the Jacksonville Women’s Business Center, a program that oversees the expansion of entrepreneurial and economic development of women business owners and leaders in Northeast Florida. In addition to serving as the center’s liaison with the U.S. Small Business Administration’s North Florida District Office, she oversees all JWBC operations including client programs, community partnerships, media relations, fundraising and its ATHENA Powerlink professional mentoring program. In her first year, she supervised a digital transformation that allows entrepreneurs to participate in educational programs online and implemented an online classroom with a help desk for virtual communication and efficient mentoring feedback. Jackie has launched two programs including Peer Pitch and Mentor Connect and is getting ready to pilot Hyper Connected Mentoring which will prepare women business owners for in-depth discovery and training to grow their business.
Mary Anne Petrillo
West Women’s Business Center
Mary Anne Petrillo has been CEO of the West Business Development Center host to the Mendocino Women’s Business Center since 2017. She was hired to build capacity and deliver new programs to meets the needs of women entrepreneurs in the new rural economy. She came to this position with decades of management experience and business ownership. Petrillo's resume includes over 25 years of strategic marketing and communication experience in education and the high-tech sector. She began her career as an entrepreneur, running her own communications agency in downtown San Francisco, serving clients in the financial, healthcare, and construction industries. Previously working for Cisco’s Corporate Social Responsibility global efforts, she created high profile media campaigns for Cisco Networking Academy and brokered partnerships with Intel, Microsoft and Apple in support of education and lifelong learning. In her role as a non-profit leader, she advocates regionally and nationally for rural small businesses to have equal opportunities to unlock their innovation and growth potential.
El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
The El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s mission is to be the preeminent resource for the success of small, minority, veteran, and women-owned businesses. Ramos-Davidson’s vision led her to take that mission and transform it to full entrepreneurial generating complex. She managed to bring three important centers to one convenient location, a key component in economically enriching the borderland region. The Entrepreneurial Technical Assistance Centers comprise of the Minority Business Development Agency (funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce), the Women’s Business Border Center (funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration), and the Texas Business Opportunity & Development Center (funded by Texas Department of Transportation). Borderland businesses are able to access quality and valuable networking events, seminars, capital, technical assistance, certifications, and procurement opportunities. It is because of these initiatives that in 2001 Ramos-Davidson received the U.S. Small Business Administration Minority Advocate of the Year Award.
Women’s Center for Entrepreneurship Corp.
Rana Shanawani is the Executive Director for the Women’s Center for Entrepreneurship Corp. in Chatham, NJ (WCEC). Before working at the WCEC, she was a non-profit consultant helping international organizations in strategic management. In 2004, after working as a UN consultant for several years, she served as the CEO of BIDAYA, a chapter of the Prince’s Youth Business International in Syria. BIDAYA’s main objective was to provide under-served entrepreneurs with training, micro-loans, and mentoring. During her tenure there she received the Takreem Achievement Award for Best Young Entrepreneur and was selected to meet with President Barack Obama and Secretary Clinton at the Presidential Summit on Entrepreneurship. Ms. Shanawani has received her Masters in Public Health from Johns Hopkins, and her Bachelors in biology from Cornell University. “I look at entrepreneurship, and all development work, through a health and human rights lens. When socioeconomic human rights are secured for entrepreneurs, it cascades into public health improvement for all.”
DC Women’s Business Center
Heidi Sheppard has been leading the DCWBC since September 2020. She brought her extensive experience working in support of economic development along with her collaborative leadership style, to the Center. Prior to the DCWBC role, she served on the Partnership Team at the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) developing strategic partnerships with other federal agencies to further MEP’s mission. She led the Advanced Manufacturing Jobs and Innovation Challenge initiative, a five federal agency effort to grow and strengthen manufacturing industries in regional economies. While at MEP, Heidi went on a detail to the National Endowment for the Arts where she researched the value of industrial design for small and medium sized manufacturers and co-authored a report, “Industrial Design: A Competitive Edge for U. S. Manufacturing Success in the Global Economy”.
She served as the Senior Program Manager for the Maryland Incubator Program at the Maryland Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO) and was instrumental in expanding both the incubator assistance program and the network of incubator facilities for the State of Maryland.
Missouri Women’s Business Center
Jessie Yankee is the Director of the Missouri Women’s Business Center, a program of Central Missouri Community Action. The MoWBC is dedicated to providing small business development assistance to aspiring women, with a focus on low-to-moderate income and minority entrepreneurs. The MoWBC is also a partner on the ASPIRE MO project, an entrepreneurial course offered to incarcerated women. Prior to her role at the MoWBC, Jessie owned and operated a successful and award-winning small business providing commercial IT services, which was sold in 2017. She also previously worked for the Small Business Development Centers as a Research Analyst. Jessie holds an MBA from William Woods University, and received her B.S. in Business Management from the University of Missouri. Jessie is an active member of the Columbia community, serving in various Chamber of Commerce roles and as a member of the Boone County Historical Society Board of Directors. Jessie is a mother of 2 and enjoys many hobbies such as teaching group fitness and biking the local trails.