Hodges joined the Association of Women's Business Centers as CEO in January 2019 and is charged with bringing about enhanced sustainability and increased capacity to the association and its members. When AWBC and the national network of Women's Business Centers were confronted with effects of a global pandemic in early 2020, Hodges and the advocacy team sprung into action. While Women's Business Centers responded tirelessly to small business concerns in their communities, Hodges and the team championed their efforts to secure resources.
Thankfully, members of Congress foresaw the important role that Women's Business Centers would play in an economic disaster and appropriated record-level emergency funding (CARES Act) to be administered by the United States Small Business Administration (SBA). In addition to $150,000 awarded annually to each Women's Business Center, centers could access up to $420,000 of CARES Act funds giving them access to $570,000 in a single fiscal year. In addition to their own annual fundraising efforts, this unprecedented combination of funding is the highest level of funding than at any other point in history. Women's Business Centers leveraged this infusion of funds into tremendous impact.
Hodges and the full AWBC team will remain steadfast in their commitment to the growth and strength of the Women's Business Center network. Her immediate priority is the modernization and re-authorization of the Women's Business Center program while building capacity throughout the growing network of 140 Women's Business Centers.
She was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, attended high school there and studied abroad in Spain where she received a dual Spain-U.S. high school diploma. Having graduated with honors, Hodges earned her BA International Studies from the University of Evansville in Indiana. She attended graduate school in Washington, DC at The George Washington University and has never stopped learning. She enjoys live rides on her Peloton, long runs on the C&O Canal Tow Path and sunny afternoons on her stand-up paddle board.
Director of Education and Engagement
As an Education and Engagement Director, Karina serves The Association of Women’s Business Centers through her combined skills in Communications, Hospitality, and Program Development. Her studies focus on International Communications at The City College of New York. She is driven by her passion for cultivating personal growth and resiliency in under-served communities through effective collaboration.
Growing up, Karina spent her time between the Dominican Republic and New York City where her adoration for people and culture bloomed into continuous volunteer work throughout her career. She is closely involved in her community through advocacy, peer support, and program implementation; having achieved the development of a Mindfulness-based resilience strategy offered in New York and Southwest Florida.
During her leisure, Karina enjoys camping at national parks, yoga on the beach, and exploring local restaurants.