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.
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.
North Dakota Women's Business Center
Christy Dauer, senior program director for the North Dakota Women's Business Center, is a results-driven, visionary leader who specializes in business strategy and program development. Christy is a passionate lover of community; she founded multiple projects and non-profits on a path to success including business development, strategic, implementation, fundraising, board development, recruitment, and retention. In her state she is known as a champion for the “underdog” and a serial volunteer. On a state level, Christy serves on the Commission for the Status of Women and the Main Street Initiative advocating for equity for women and economic advancement opportunities. Prior to joining the Women’s Business Center, she was a volunteer joining from her corporate career where she managed sales teams and local market leaderships throughout the Western half of the United States. Christy currently serves on the AWBC membership committee.
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.
Women's Business Center of Richmond
Shara is an accomplished economic development professional with a decade of experience designing and executing small business development programs, optimizing commercial space usage, fostering strategic partnerships, and implementing outreach strategies for small and minority-owned enterprises. She has also established programs that help businesses navigate local, state, and federal government contracting and resources.
As a true entrepreneur at heart, Shara founded Caniventures, a consulting firm that assists new cannabis entrepreneurs, and SG Consulting, where she offers grant writing and project management services. Throughout her career, Shara has impacted over 4,000 entrepreneurs in the Washington D.C. Metropolitan area and secured over $2.1 million in new funding. Her most notable program, CEO Growth Academy, saw its inaugural cohort collectively acquire $14.2 million in contracts while participating in the program. Additionally, Shara conducts workshops for aspiring and existing entrepreneurs in collaboration with local community development organizations.
Shara graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Marketing from Hampton University and obtained her MBA from Howard University. She currently serves as Program Director for the Women’s Business Center of Richmond and is a member of the young professional BRIDGE Board at the Metropolitan Business League. In her free time, she enjoys attending local festivals and exploring Richmond's picturesque sites.
Women's Enterprise Development Center
White Plains, NY
Nikki A. Hahn, WEDC's CEO, brings a wealth of development experience to the nonprofit sector. Ms. Hahn was previously with Volunteer New York! where she developed corporate social responsibility programming for local business leaders. In addition, she has served as the chair of the Scarsdale School Board Nominating Committee, President of the Junior League of Central Westchester, and the Client and Partner Development Director of The Acceleration Project. Ms. Hahn is actively involved in many community initiatives and currently serves as Vice President of the Westchester Children's Chorus Board of Directors as well as on Cure JM Foundation's Board of Directors as the Development Director and Chair. She earned both a Master of Public Administration and a Bachelor of Science degree from New York University.
Gwen Pokalo Hart
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.
Tarsha Polk Hearns
The Dallas Entrepreneur Center
Tarsha Hearns is the Sr. Director of Ecosystems at the Dallas Entrepreneur Center; a 501c3 nonprofit that drives innovation and economic impact by helping entrepreneurs start, build and grow their businesses. As senior director, Tarsha leads a team that provides business support services through programs such as the City of Dallas’ B.U.I.L.D Small Business Ecosystem and the SBA Community Navigator Pilot Program. Tarsha was the founding director at the LiftFund Women’s Business Center in Dallas. The first center launched in the City of Dallas. With 20 years of entrepreneurial expertise as a business owner, Tarsha has received numerous awards for her entrepreneurial endeavors, for her leadership and for her dedication to serving women and minority founders. Tarsha lists winning a contract with the National Football League for Super Bowl XLV as her biggest career defining moment but her passion is to inspire people to live their dreams through entrepreneurship.
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.
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.
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.
Board Member, Governance Chair
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.
weVenture WBC at Florida Tech
Kathryn Rudloff joined weVENTURE Women’s Business Center in the Bisk College of Business at Florida Tech in January of 2020. As Executive Director, Kathryn oversees the center’s low and no-cost business education programing. During her tenure, she has helped modernize WBC operations, expand support for businesses in distant areas of the expansive region, and increase the number of ethnic and racial minorities the center serves. She has secured over $1.2 million dollars in additional grants and donations to support the program. Prior to joining weVENTURE WBC, Kathryn worked in strategic messaging, communications and fundraising for political committees, campaigns and business advocacy groups in Washington DC, California and Florida. She has worked on campaigns at every level – local, state, federal and even a 2007 presidential campaign as Florida Director of Field Operations. Kathryn currently serves on the AWBC Advocacy Committee.
Board Member, Advocacy Chair
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.”