Speakers and Special Guests
We are pleased to share this announcement about speakers, special guests and panelists at the Small Business Leadership Summit 2016!
We are thrilled to announce Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) will be delivering a keynote address at the Leadership Summit. Senator Merkley has been pushing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to crack down on predatory lending practices and provide strong consumer financial protections for small business owners everywhere. He recently introduced legislation alongside several Democratic colleagues that would target the predatory practices of some payday lenders. The Stopping Abuse and Fraud in Electronic (SAFE) Lending Act (S. 172) would crack down on some of the worst abuses of the payday lending industry, particularly online payday lending, and protect consumers from deceptive and predatory practices that strip wealth from working families.
United States Representative, 3rd Congressional District of Ohio
Congresswoman Joyce Beatty is serving her second term representing the 3rd Congressional District of Ohio that is wholly contained within Franklin County and represents 29 municipalities including Columbus, Bexley, Whitehall, Reynoldsburg and Gahanna.
As Member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Congresswoman Beatty serves on the powerful Committee on Financial Services and is member of two subcommittees: Housing and Insurance as well as Oversight and Investigations. The Committee on Financial Services oversees all components of the nation’s housing and financial services sectors including banking, insurance, real estate, public and assisted housing, and securities.
With her position on the Financial Services Committee, Congresswoman Beatty continues to be a proven leader in increasing home mortgage financial literacy, ensuring financial oversight, and expanding affordable housing opportunities. She has also been successful in increasing access to credit to consumers and leveling the playing field. In 2014, Rep. Beatty brought then-Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Donavan to the District to announce a $300 million project to revitalize the Near East Side, led by $30 million in federal funds.
In December 2014, Rep. Beatty was pivotal in securing nearly $4 million in federal funds for the Healthy Start program, to address Columbus’ infant mortality rate, which is one of the highest in the country. She has also introduced bipartisan legislation to combat child sex trafficking that was unanimously passed the U.S. House of Representatives in 2014 and 2015, and was signed into law as part of a larger measure, the Justice for Victims of Trafficking Act, P.L. 114-22, by President Obama on May 29, 2015.
Prior to her service in the U.S. House of Representatives, in 1999, Rep. Beatty was selected to serve in the 27th House District of the Ohio House of Representatives. She went on to serve 5 terms in the Ohio General Assembly. During her tenure, she rose to become the first female Democratic House Leader in Ohio’s history and was instrumental in passing legislation that improved the climate for economic development in the state.
Congresswoman Beatty graduated with a B.A. from Central State University, received her M.S. degree from Wright State University, and completed all but her dissertation for a doctorate at the University of Cincinnati. In addition, she has received two honorary doctorate degrees from Ohio Dominican University and Central State University.
Senior Policy Advisor to Hillary Clinton
Ann O’Leary is a Senior Policy Advisor to Hillary Clinton. Ann was most recently the Senior Vice President of Next Generation and Director of Too Small to Fail, a public action and awareness campaign jointly launched by the Clinton Foundation and Next Generation to provide parents the information and tools they need to boost their young children’s vocabulary development and close the “word gap.” Ann previously served as a lecturer in health law and social policy at UC Berkeley School of Law, executive director of the Berkeley Law Center on Health, Economic & Family Security, a deputy city attorney in San Francisco, legislative director to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, and she led the children and family policy team on the White House Domestic Policy Council under President William J. Clinton. She also served as a member of the Obama-Biden Presidential Transition Team, advising the incoming administration on early childhood education issues. She earned a B.A. from Mount Holyoke College, a Master’s on Education Policy from Stanford University and a J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law.
Senator Jon Tester is third-generation Montana farmer, a proud grandfather and a former school teacher who has deep roots in hard work, responsibility and accountability.
Jon and his wife Sharla still farm the same land near the town of Big Sandy, Mont. that was homesteaded by Jon’s grandparents in 1912. Jon’s parents believed public education and family agriculture are the cornerstones of democracy—and those values had a tremendous role in shaping Jon’s leadership.
After earning a degree in music from the College of Great Falls, Jon took over the Tester farm in 1978. He also taught music at F.E. Miley Elementary and eventually was elected to the Big Sandy School Board. Fired up by the Montana Legislature’s decision to deregulate Montana’s power industry (resulting in higher power costs), Jon ran for and was elected to the Montana Senate in 1998.
In 2005, Jon’s colleagues chose him to serve as Montana Senate President. The people of Montana elected Jon to the U.S. Senate in 2006 and again in 2012.
In the U.S. Senate, Jon is an outspoken voice for rural America. He is an advocate for small businesses who has hosted numerous Small Business Opportunity Workshops across Montana to serve thousands of business owners and entrepreneurs. He is a champion of responsible energy development, sportsmen’s issues, clean air and water, Indian nations, women’s access to care, and quality health care for all of America’s veterans—no matter where they live.
In the Senate, Jon serves on the Veterans’ Affairs, Homeland Security, Indian Affairs, Banking and Appropriations Committees.
Acting Assistant Secretary, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Karen DeSalvo, MD, MPH, MSc, is the Acting Assistant Secretary for Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Her office, which leads development of HHSwide public health policy recommendations, oversees 12 core public health offices — including the Office of the Surgeon General – and 10 advisory committees. The office is charged with leadership in developing policy recommendations as they pertain to public health issues that cut across HHS agencies and operating divisions.Dr. DeSalvo also remains in her role as the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, where she continues to set high level policy and the strategic direction of the office, including efforts related to interoperability. The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) is at the forefront of the nation’s health IT efforts to adopt and meaningfully use health information technology, and collectively achieve health information technology interoperability, as a foundational element of better health for everyone in America. Dr. Salvo, a former Health Commissioner for the City of New Orleans, Senior Health Policy Advisor to New Orleans Mayor Mitchell Landrieu, and vice dean for community affairs and health policy at Tulane University School of Medicine, has focused her career on improving health care access for all. Dr. DeSalvo earned her MD and Master’s in Public Health from Tulane University, and Master’s in Clinical Epidemiology from Harvard School of Public Health.
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Small Business, Community Development, and Housing, U.S. Department of the Treasury
Jessica Milano is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Small Business, Community Development, and Housing at the US Department of the Treasury. Ms. Milano manages a portfolio of policy issues including small business access to capital, affordable housing finance, and community and economic development. In addition, her office oversees the Small Business Lending Fund (SBLF), the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI), and the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund. Prior to joining Treasury, Ms. Milano served as Senior Advisor to the Administrator at the Small Business Administration (SBA). Ms. Milano has extensive economic consulting and financial services experience. She previously held positions as Director of Research at Compass Lexecon, an economic consulting firm, and with Promontory Interfinancial Network, a financial services firm with a network of over 3,000 financial institutions. She also was a policy consultant at Civic Enterprises where she ran projects for a wide variety of clients including AARP, the Gates Foundation, OpportunityNation, and the White House Council for Community Solutions. Ms. Milano is the author of several policy reports for the Progressive Policy Institute/Democratic Leadership Council on topics including economic security, job creation, and investment and innovation. She holds a MA in Applied Economics from The Johns Hopkins University and received her BSc in Government.
National Co-Chair and Chief Policy Advisor, Donald J. Trump for President Campaign
Sam Clovis is the national co-chair and chief policy advisor to the Donald J. Trump for President Campaign. He is currently on leave from his position as a Professor of Economics at a small, private liberal arts college in northwest Iowa. Sam holds a Bachelor of Science degree in political science from the United States Air Force Academy, an MBA from Golden Gate University in San Francisco and a Doctorate in public administration from the University of Alabama. He is also a graduate of both the Army and Air Force War Colleges and studied national security affairs at Georgetown University. He is considered an expert in national security and foreign policy, given his education and experiences in those areas. He has regional expertise in Europe, the former Soviet Union and the Middle East. He has managerial and executive experience in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors. After graduating from the Air Force Academy, Dr. Clovis spent 25 years serving in the Air Force where he rose to the rank of Colonel. He retired as the Inspector General of NORAD and the United States Space Command and was a command pilot, gaining combat readiness in the F-106, F-4 and the F-16. He served two years in the Middle East combat arena, as well. He entered the private sector where was a successful businessman and has been teaching at various institutions part or full time for the past 20 years. Sam has been active in Republican politics in Iowa for the past several years. He has gained the reputation of being one of the most consistent and persuasive conservatives in the country and has been a strong advocate for the intellectual underpinnings of conservative thought. Sam is married to the former Charlotte Chase of Piketon, OH. He is originally from rural central Kansas.
Founder & CEO, Small Business Majority
John Arensmeyer has used his long experience as a business owner to build Small Business Majority into a nationally recognized small business organization and the leading advocate for critical public policy issues facing America’s entrepreneurs—particularly healthcare, clean energy, access to capital, immigration, financial reform and numerous workforce issues. The organization is focused on ensuring small businesses’ success as a critical component of our economy. John was the founder and CEO of ACI Interactive, an award-winning international e-commerce company. Information Week named ACI’s signature product one of the nation’s top 100 e-business innovations, and the company was cited by the San Francisco Business Times as one of the top 100 fastest growing private companies in the Bay Area. Earlier, John was the chief operating officer of a pioneering multimedia business and an attorney in New York. John is a frequent speaker on small business policy issues and a regular guest on TV and radio, including MSNBC’s Your Business, PBS NewsHour, Fox News, Bloomberg TV, NPR’s Marketplace,MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews and the CBS Evening News. In 2009 he served on a panel at the White House summit on healthcare reform. He testifies regularly before congressional committees, and has briefed White House officials and congressional leadership on small business policy issues. He serves on the Association for Enterprise Opportunity’s Economic Impact Council and Micro Capital Task Force. He recently led a study group at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Politics and serves on the board for the Insure the Uninsured Project.
President & Managing Director, Small Business Majority
As President & Managing Director, Rhett Buttle oversees all of Small Business Majority’s staff and operations, which includes policy, communications, development, outreach and research. In addition, he is responsible for the organization’s growing small business engagement work, which is done from 11 regional offices in nine states across the country.
Previously, Rhett was appointed to serve as the Director of Private Sector Engagement in the Office of the Secretary at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and as a member of the White House Business Council. In this role, he was the main liaison between the department and the business community. Rhett played key roles in many of the administration’s public-private partnerships, including efforts to increase the quality of care and spending of public healthcare dollars more wisely. Buttle also served as the Secretary’s liaison to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community (LGBT) during a historic time of progress for the LGBT community.
Before joining the administration, Rhett was Vice President, External Affairs at Small Business Majority. During his tenure, he launched eight regional offices and expanded the organization’s policy issue set. Buttle has also served in the Office of the President at George Washington University, in the Office of California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and has worked on several presidential, state and local campaigns. Rhett frequently engages with the media and has been featured in the New York Times, CNN, and several business publications. He has spoken on business issues at the Aspen Institute, the Harvard Institute of Politics and the Center for American Progress. He also serves on the boards of several organizations, including the Board of Directors at the University of San Diego.
Panelists and Issue Experts:
Assistant Administrator, Office of Women’s Business Ownership, U.S. Small Business Administration
As the U.S. Small Business Administration’s assistant administrator for women’s business ownership, Erin Andrew is the director of the SBA’s Office of Women’s Business Ownership. She oversees the agency’s efforts to promote the growth of women-owned businesses through advocacy and programs that provide business training and networking opportunities. Andrew manages a nationwide network of women’s business centers that provide training and counseling to hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs in every state and two U.S. territories. Her office also works with representatives in every SBA district office to oversee operations of the women’s business centers and coordinate services for women entrepreneurs. Most recently, Andrew served as director of the Innovation Clusters and Skills Initiatives in the SBA’s Office of Entrepreneurial Development. Prior to her work at the SBA, Andrew was a senior policy analyst at the National Governors Association. She has held positions at different levels of government, including at the Governor of Iowa’s Office as a policy advisor and at a local/regional development authority in Pittsburgh. She was also a senior consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton. Andrew holds a B.S. in business administration and ethics, and an M.S. in public policy and management, both from Carnegie Mellon University.
Executive Director, Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP)
Kristie Arslan, Executive Director Kristie Arslan is the Executive Director of Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP). WIPP is a nonprofit, membership organization working to increase the economic power and public policy clout of women entrepreneurs by providing business skills education, leadership opportunities for business and personal growth, and a seat at the table amongst policymakers in Washington, D.C.Kristie leads the organization in its efforts to advocate for women and minority business owners on policy initiatives that impact business health and growth. Additionally, she manages the development of WIPP educational programming and efforts to enhance member & coalition partner engagement. Before joining WIPP, Kristie served as the President of the National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE). Kristie’s many years advocating on behalf of the small business community as well as her personal experience as a business owner, has brought her critical insight on the issues affecting our nation’s women entrepreneurs.
Managing Director, Kogod Tax Policy Center
Prof. Bruckner is on the faculty of American University’s Kogod School of Business and is the managing director of the Kogod Tax Policy Center, which researches tax issues specific to small businesses and entrepreneurs. She previously worked for the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship (SBC) from 2009 through 2014, ultimately as Chief Counsel, where she worked on small business tax legislation and advised the committee and its chair on tax, labor and budget matters. As counsel for the SBC, she worked with U.S. policy makers and small businesses stakeholders across the political spectrum on small business tax legislation and to develop the tax title to the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-240). Prior to public service, Bruckner was a senior associate with the international tax services group of PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP – Washington National Tax Services (PwC-WNTS), where she advised clients on international tax issues. Before joining PwC-WNTS, she served as an associate in the employee benefits group of PaulHastings. Bruckner has an LLM in tax law from Georgetown University Law Center, a JD from George Mason University School of Law, and a BA from Emory University.
Founder of EcoVertex & Chair, Small Business Majority Board of Directors
With over 30 years of print and Web publishing experience with some of the leading publishing companies, Celia Canfield is a skilled communications expert. As an entrepreneur, Celia co-founded a successful custom content creation agency, Tendo Communications, where she helped some of the largest brands in the world achieve success with customer outreach programs. In 2007, Celia established a sustainability marketing consultancy firm, EcoVertex, which focuses on companies that are offering sustainable solutions and looking to have greater impact. Celia’s passion for combining her marketing expertise with important issues has resulted in her in-depth work with non-profit organizations such as Small Business Majority. She has also been a Board member of City Car Share and also serves as Board co-president of Impact100 Sonoma, a 250+ women’s giving circle. A regular speaker on the subjects of sustainability, social media marketing, entrepreneurship and energy efficiency, Celia has been featured at many conferences and is an adjunct professor for entrepreneurship and business management at Skyline Community College, San Bruno, CA.
CEO and Principal, Periwinkle Media Group
Jo Cato serves as Chief Executive Officer and Principal of Periwinkle Media Group, playing a pivotal role in the strategic direction of all clients within the agency. Cato has directed advertising, marketing and public relations campaigns for major corporations and public entities. She works closely with state and local elected officials, as well as corporations in the entertainment, medical, gaming, hospitality and transportation industries to fully engage in policy discussions taking place throughout the U.S. and abroad. She remains actively engaged in social issues which affect the Southern Nevada community.
From 1999 to 2011, Cato served the City of North Las Vegas as their appointed Planning Commissioner, where she served 10 years as Chairman/Vice Chairman.
From 2006 to 2009, Cato served as an adjunct faculty member at the College of Southern Nevada. In 2016, Cato returned to College of Southern Nevada where she is a Business and Entrepreneurial instructor in the Workforce Development Entrepreneurship Department. She is the author of Get Noticed: How to Reach and Retain Clients.
Vice President, Executive Director of the Institute’s Economic Opportunities Program, Aspen Institute
Maureen Conway is the vice president for policy programs at the Aspen Institute and executive director of its Economic Opportunities Program. She founded EOP’s Workforce Strategies Initiative and leads researchers and consultants in a variety of initiatives to identify and advance strategies that help low-income Americans gain ground in today’s labor market. Conway is a nationally recognized expert in sectoral workforce development. She co-edited the book Connecting People to Work: Workforce Intermediaries and Sector Strategies. She has consulted for the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and advised the Peace Corps on economic development programs in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. She has headed up workforce research at the Institute since 1999.
Vice President of Federal Government Affairs, National Association of Home Builders
Lake A. Coulson is Vice President of Government Affairs for the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). Lake directs the federal legislative program and manages the association’s political action committee and grassroots network to complement the lobbying efforts. Lake’s portfolio includes managing California’s federal legislative delegation. His policy experience has concentrated on tax, energy, environmental, and appropriations issues. Lake joined NAHB in 2012, and before coming to NAHB, he was Executive Director of Government Affairs for the National Electrical Contractors Association. Lake holds a B.S. in Economics from the University of Delaware and a Master’s in Public Policy from the University of Maryland. He resides in Gaithersburg, Maryland, with his wife and their three children.
Partner at Community Investment Management
Speaking at our “Alternative and Online Lending” interactive session
Olympia De Castro serves as Partner of Community Investment Management, an impact investment asset manager that provides debt financing to U.S. small businesses through innovative and productive financial technology lending platforms. Olympia’s responsibilities include strategy, investments and operations. Previously, she was a Director at Global Securities Capital Partners, a private equity firm focused on mid-cap opportunities in high growth, medium risk sectors in Colombia. Prior to that Ms. De Castro worked as a consultant at The Louis Berger Group, providing advisory to multilaterals and government on infrastructure related projects. In 2011 she worked at the IFC in the Global SME Banking group aimed at improving access to finance for SMEs globally. From 2009 to 2010 Ms. De Castro held a number of roles in the microfinance industry including portfolio management, investments and debt capital markets. Previously, she spent three years at Goldman Sachs’ Investment Banking Division and one year in its Private Wealth Management Group. Ms. De Castro received a M.I.A. from the Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and a B.A. in Finance from the University of Miami.
Executive Vice President of Policy & Regulatory Affairs, America’s Health Insurance Plans
Matthew Eyles is Executive Vice President, Policy & Regulatory Affairs at America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), the national trade association representing the health insurance industry. At AHIP, he leads the Policy & Regulatory Affairs function, including the Government Programs (Medicare and Medicaid), State Policy, and Product Policy departments. Matt joined AHIP from Avalere Health, a strategic healthcare advisory services firm based in Washington, D.C., where he was Executive VP with responsibility for the health plans and providers business, strategic communications business, and health reform team.
Previously, Matt was Corporate Vice President, Public Affairs & Policy at Coventry Health Care, Inc. (now Aetna). He led Coventry’s public policy, government affairs, and corporate communications functions and was a key advisor to the Board of Directors on all matters related to health reform.
Prior to joining Coventry, Matt was Vice President, Corporate Public Policy at Wyeth (now Pfizer). In addition, Matt has worked at Eli Lilly & Company in Indianapolis and began his career on Capitol Hill at the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). Matt has undergraduate degrees from The George Washington University in Political Science and History and a graduate degree in Public Policy from the University of Rochester (NY).
Senior Editor and Entrepreneurship Reporter for Forbes
Speaking at our plenary panel “Ensuring Our Voice is Heard-Telling the Stories of the Small Business Economy”
Loren Feldman is a senior editor at Forbes, responsible for entrepreneurial coverage in print and online. He also co-hosts The Digital Show on Sirius XM’s Wharton business network. Before that, he was small-business editor of The New York Times, where he created the You’re the Boss small-business blog. He has also been editor of the Web sites at both Inc. and FastCompany. Before going digital, he was a top editor and writer for print magazines such as Inc., Philadelphia, Manhattan,inc., the American Lawyer, Money, and George. He has also written for GQ, The New York Times magazine and The New York Times Sunday Business section. His writing and editing have been nominated multiple times for National Magazine awards, winning once at Philadelphia magazine as part of a team. And he has spoken and conducted interviews at numerous conferences and seminars on entrepreneurship. On Twitter, he’s @ lfeldman.
Founder, Chair of the Board and General Counsel for CFED
In 1979, Bob Friedman founded CFED (then, the Corporation for Enterprise Development) and continues as Chair Emeritus of the Board and General Counsel today. In that role, he helped create the US microenterprise, savings and asset-building fields and the international economic development and child savings fields. In 1999, President Bill Clinton honored his and CFED’s accomplishments with the Presidential Award for Excellence in Microenterprise Development. CFED’s pioneering policy demonstrations on self-employment, individual development accounts, child savings and manufactured housing have proven that low-income and even very poor people can save, start businesses, buy (and keep) homes, go to college and create economic futures for their families. Local, state and national legislation and practice have followed.
Based in San Francisco, Bob serves on several Boards, including Ecotrust, Child and Youth Finance International, the Butler Koshland Fellowships, the Rosenberg Foundation, The San Francisco Foundation and the Friedman Family Foundation. He is a past board member of Levi Strauss & Co. He is a graduate of Harvard College and Yale Law School. He is author of The Safety Net as Ladder: Transfer Payments and Economic Development, editor of Expanding the Opportunity to Produce and a contributor to numerous other publications.
Owner, Goodbee & Associates, Inc.
Since her company got off the ground in 1994 as a two-person operation, Goodbee & Associates has grown to become one of Colorado’s most successful woman-owned engineering firms. The full-service technical consulting firm, made up of 14 employees, many of whom are longtime engineers, has been involved in nearly every major transportation project in the Denver and Front Range region. Lisa began her work with Small Business Majority in 2012 when she joined us in Washington, D.C. to discuss some of the biggest issues facing small business today with legislators and officials on Capitol Hill and at the White House. She has met with President Obama, Vice President Biden and a handful of other entrepreneurs to discuss the country’s fiscal problems, and has been in a small group roundtable with Secretary Clinton to discuss STEM and women business owner issues. In her spare time she is devoted to advancing opportunities for women in the work place by testifying at the state and local level on equal pay, family friendly work policies and gender equity.
Senior Vice President, New Initiatives, Association for Enterprise Opportunity
Tammy Halevy joined AEO in April 2010 as Senior Vice President, New Initiatives. With over 20 years of experience in the private, public and non-profit sectors, Tammy brings leadership, experience and knowledge to AEO, its members and partners. At AEO, Tammy is leading the design, incubation and launch of programs and partnerships to better serve members and pilot innovations for the field. Prior to joining AEO, Tammy was a consultant at McKinsey & Company, where as part of the corporate finance and strategy practices, she led client and research projects primarily focused on reaching new markets and structuring complex partnerships. She has also held positions in the US House of Representatives, The Overseas Development Council and Kroll Associates. Tammy received a Masters Degree in Law and Diplomacy from The Fletcher School at Tufts University and a BA from The Johns Hopkins University.
Executive Director, Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce
Carrie Hamblen is originally from El Paso, Texas where she attended the University of Texas at El Paso. In 1992, she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Broadcast Journalism from UTEP. She earned a Master’s Degree in Communication Studies in 1995 and a Masters of Public Administration from NMSU in 2014. She began working as a student employee at KRWG, the NPR affiliate at NMSU, in 1992 and was promoted to Operations Manager in 1997. In 2012, Carrie became the CEO/President of the Las Cruces Green Chamber of Commerce, an organization that focuses on creating support for local businesses and creating more awareness about sustainable communities. Carrie serves as the liaison between the Green Chamber and private, nonprofit, and governmental entities. The Las Cruces Green Chamber has been a strong advocate for protecting open spaces, tourism, and local businesses.
Washington Bureau Chief of the Business Journals
Speaking at our plenary panel “Ensuring Our Voice is Heard-Telling the Stories of the Small Business Economy”
Kent Hoover is Washington bureau chief for Bizjournals.com and American City Business Journals, a chain of 40 local business publications around the country. He’s been writing about small business and business-related legislation, regulations, government programs and political issues since 1999. Before that he was editor of the Washington Business Journal and the Orlando Business Journal. He’s also worked for newspapers in Atlanta and Nashville. He’s a native of Kingsport, Tenn., and a graduate of Duke University, where he majored in history.
Executive Coach and Personal Brand Strategist
Vaneese Johnson, The Boldness Coach™, is an Executive Coach and Personal Brand Strategist. She helps business professionals amplify their brand presence, grow their business and make a purposeful difference in the world.
She teaches and empowers women entrepreneurs her proprietary success fundamentals of Branding Out Loud Daily (BOLD), Branding their Innovated Gifts (BIG) and being Branded and Distinctive (BAD) to accentuate their professional presence with authenticity and authority. As as social media enthusiast and professional development trainer, Vaneese customizes and delivers a relevant social media curriculum for industry leaders to enhance their personal brand presence by optimizing their use of social media platforms. She has facilitated a number of industry discussions related to personal branding trends, technologies and resources for today’s professional.
One of Vaneese’s passions is supporting local community organizations that focus on empowering residents in their career and entrepreneurial endeavors. She currently serves as a Small Business Event Planner for Richmond Main Street in Richmond, CA. Until recently she also served as a Board Member at Urban University in Oakland, CA.
Vice President of Financial Security, AARP
Gary Koenig leads a team of economists, attorneys, and policy experts who work on economic and consumer security issues at AARP’s Public Policy Institute (PPI), which analyzes and develops policies related to the financial security of the population ages 50-plus. Gary and his team work on issues including the adequacy of Social Security benefits and retirement savings, older workforce issues, and consumer financial protections. Gary has worked on retirement security issues for almost 20 years. He began working at PPI in September 2008 as a senior strategic advisor focusing on policy reform for Social Security and retirement savings. While at PPI, he wrote several papers about Social Security reform, tax policies for retirement savings, and the economic well-being of older Americans. Before joining AARP, Gary was an economist for the Joint Committee on Taxation in the US Congress, where he specialized in employer-provided pensions and retirement plans. While at the Joint Committee, he coauthored the first paper that evaluated the retirement Saver’s Credit. Gary is a member of the National Academy of Social Insurance and serves as a board member for the Employee Benefit Research Institute.
Vice President of Business Development and Innovation at Prudential Financial
Speaking at our “Asset Building and Entrepreneurship” interactive session
Bennett is responsible for Innovation for the Institutional Investment Solutions business lines within Prudential Retirement, where he develops new markets and brings new solutions to those new markets. These solutions include new products and capabilities. Bennett’s areas of focus include Small Market Retirement Coverage, Health Savings and Funding Solutions, and Emerging Savings markets. Bennett joined Prudential Retirement in September 2013. Prior to his current position, Bennett was responsible for annuity product design, pricing, profitability, and inforce management for MetLife’s Annuity Products Division. In this role, he ensured achievement of targeted returns and appropriate levels of risk-taking, while leading the effort to offer innovative products. Prior to the acquisition of Travelers by MetLife, Bennett was responsible for Product Development, Risk Management, Finance and Fund Management for the Retail Annuities Division of Travelers Life and Annuities, a subsidiary of CitiGroup. Bennett began his career with Travelers as a member of the Actuarial Management Development Program.
Head of Policy and Advocacy at Fundera
Speaking at our “Alternative and Online Lending” interactive session
Brayden McCarthy is Head of Policy & Advocacy at Fundera (www.fundera.com), an impartial online marketplace that transparently connects small business owners with the financing options that best suit their needs. Brayden previously served in the Obama Administration, most recently as Senior Policy Advisor in the West Wing Office of the White House National Economic Council, where he helped coordinate economic policy development across the Administration, particularly on U.S. business competitiveness issues. Prior to joining the White House, Brayden served at the Small Business Administration, where he was responsible for policy development and reported to Karen Mills, the Administrator of SBA. Brayden began his career in investment banking at Lehman Brothers. Brayden is a leading advocate for greater transparency in the online lending sector, and has authored a series of recent op-eds to that end, including an op-ed in Forbes earlier this year calling for the industry to align on a Small Business Borrowers’ Bill of Rights. He also co-authored a Harvard Business School report on the state of small business lending and the role of online lenders with former SBA Administrator Karen Mills, which was released in 2014 and has been widely cited in national media publications and the lending industry.
Senior Vice President, National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce
Sam McClure serves as Senior Vice President at the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. In this role, Sam oversees the Affiliate Relations, External Affairs, and Supplier Diversity departments and is a member of the NGLCC executive leadership team. In 2014, Sam led NGLCC’s legislative campaign to pass the historic California Assembly Bill 1678, the first law of its kind in the nation which added certified LGBT Business Enterprises (LGBTBEs) to the Supplier Diversity program of the California Public Utilities Commission. In 2015, she lead the team that achieved the first statewide Executive Order to add not only LGBTBEs, but also Disability Owned & Veteran Owned Business Enterprises (DOBEs & VBEs) to the small business development opportunities in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. She is a leading voice on organizational development strategies and LGBT business inclusion. Sam’s work was recently published in Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Civil Rights: A Public Policy Agenda for Uniting a Divided America, an edited volume detailing the remaining battles in the movement for LGBT equality. Driven by entrepreneurial spirit and an appetite for community and economic development, she is a passionate advocate for the LGBT Community and a champion of Business Equality.
CEO Headframe Spirits & Headframe Spirits Manufacturing
Courtney and her husband John own Headframe Spirits and Headframe Spirits Manufacturing in Butte, Montana. They opened both businesses in 2012, and were named Entrepreneurs and Ambassadors of the Year by Governor Steve Bullock in 2014 and 2015, as well as Small Business Champions of the Year in 2016 by the Small Business Administration. Headframe Spirits currently employs 26 individuals and has made an economic impact of over $4 million in their community.
Headframe Spirits produces micro-distilled spirits from Butte, Montana including the award-winning Neversweat Whiskey, High Ore Vodka, Anselmo Gin, and their flagship product, Orphan Girl Bourbon Cream Liqueur. Headframe Spirits operates a tasting room, manufactures state-of-the-art distillation equipment, and offers co-packaging/production to the distillation industry. Headframe Spirits is the only company in the world which produces continuous flow distillation equipment for the micro-distilling industry.
Courtney is passionately engaged in developing corporate culture and establishing leadership roles for her employees. She is also committed to fostering opportunities for other Montana entrepreneurs through the Distiller’s Guild of Montana, and has been featured in Forbes, Huffington Post, Entrepreneur and Popular Mechanics Magazine, and has also been a TEDx speaker.
Managing Director, IBS Global Consulting Inc.
Tonya McNeal-Weary is the Managing Director at IBS Global Consulting Inc., a woman-owned global management consulting firm with offices in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Founded in 2009, IBS Global Consulting specializes in providing innovative marketing and business development solutions for small and medium-sized companies looking to expand internationally.
Mrs. McNeal-Weary is the Founder and Executive Director of the Michigan Association for Female Entrepreneurs (MAFE), an award winning non-profit organization based in Detroit. She has earned numerous awards including the World of Difference 100 Award (The International Alliance for Women), Outstanding Volunteer Award (Center for Empowerment & Economic Development), Entrepreneurs of Distinction Award (Corp! Magazine), Women Making a Powerful Difference Award (Ebony Magazine), AXA Achievement Award (National Association of Women MBAs), and Entrepreneurship 101 Award (Consortium for Entrepreneurship Education) for her outstanding leadership in the field of business creativity and entrepreneurship.
Mrs. McNeal-Weary holds an Executive Diploma in Management Consulting from Grenoble Ecole de Management (France), an MBA in International Business from Walsh College (USA), and a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing with an emphasis in Advertising and Promotion from Davenport University (USA).
Vice President of External Affairs, United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Albert Morales uses his years of experience working as a senior official with the Democratic Party to advance the interests of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce as its Vice President of External Affairs.
More recently he served under the Chairmanship of Debbie Wasserman-Schultz where he served as Director of Hispanic Engagement and Deputy Director of the party’s overall engagement efforts. Before returning to the DNC he formed Albert Morales Strategies, LLC where he focused on business development efforts with technology firms seeking to enter the government affairs and public opinion space. Mr. Morales also served as a Vice President for Cassidy & Associates.
At the DNC, Morales spearheaded the party’s 50 State Strategy aimed at Hispanics, where he developed new models for DNC’s interaction with the Hispanic electorate. Also at the DNC, Mr. Morales served as Regional Political Director for the Committee’s 2000 Redistricting Project.
Additionally, Morales worked for the Democratic Governors Association (DGA) as Federal Liaison and Policy Advisor to DGA Chairman Governor Bill Richardson. A native of Fort Worth, Texas, he now lives in Riverdale Park, Maryland with his wife, Amelia, daughter, Martha, and several household pets.
Lerner Family Associate Dean for Public Interest & Public Service, George Washington University Law School
Alan B. Morrison is the Lerner Family Associate Dean for Public Interest & Public Service at GW Law. He is responsible for creating pro bono opportunities for students, bringing a wide range of public interest programs to the law school, encouraging students to seek positions in the non-profit and government sectors and assisting students in finding ways to fund their legal education.
For most of his career, Dean Morrison worked for the Public Citizen Litigation Group, which he co-founded with Ralph Nader in 1972 and directed for over 25 years.
He currently teaches constitutional law, is a member of the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers and was its president in 1999–2000. Among other positions, he served as an elected member of the Board of Governors of the District of Columbia Bar, a member and then senior fellow of the Administrative Conference of the United States, a member of the American Law Institute, and a member of the Committee on Science, Technology & Law of the National Academy of Science. He is a graduate of Yale University and Harvard Law School, served as a commissioned officer in the US Navy, and was an assistant U.S. attorney in New York.
Senior Vice President of Strategic Initiatives, National Health Council
Dr. Eleanor M. Perfetto was named Senior Vice President of Strategic Initiatives for the National Health Council (NHC) in July of 2015, and holds a part-time faculty appointment at the University of Maryland, Baltimore School of Pharmacy where she is Professor of Pharmaceutical Health Service Research. Her research and policy work primarily focus on patient engagement in comparative effectiveness and patient centered-outcomes research, medical product development, patient-reported outcome selection and development, and health care quality. Dr. Perfetto holds BS and MS degrees in pharmacy from the University of Rhode Island, and a PhD from the University of North Carolina School of Public Health with concentrations in health policy and epidemiology.
Founder and President of Washington D.C.-based consulting firm The Raben Group
Moderating our plenary panel “”If You’re Not at the Table…”-Ensuring the Small Business Voice is Represented”
Robert’s aggressively bipartisan approach was honed during a highly respected legislative career that began on Congressman Barney Frank’s (D-MA) staff and culminated in House Judiciary Committee Chairman Henry Hyde’s (R-IL) endorsement of his appointment to the Justice Department as Assistant Attorney General for Legislative Affairs. Robert built a reputation for collegiality and effectiveness through collaboration with Republican members and staff on issues including patent reform, database protection standards, and copyright liability. In 1999, Mr. Raben’s reputation and effectiveness caught the attention of the White House, earning him an appointment as Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General and, subsequently, Assistant Attorney General, Office of Legislative Affairs. After graduating from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and New York University School of Law, Robert was an associate with the law firm of Arnold & Porter. Soon after, he joined the faculty of Georgetown University Law School as an adjunct professor. In 2002 Robert founded The Raben Group and serves as President. Additionally, Robert is the President of the Hispanic Bar Association of DC Foundation and currently chairs the Hispanic National Bar Association’s Endorsement Committee.
Executive Director of the Financial Security Program, Aspen Institute
Ida Rademacher is Executive Director of the Financial Security Program at the Aspen Institute. Her career has been dedicated to researching how policy and regulatory changes in labor and financial markets influence household economic decision-making and opportunity.
She was previously the Chief Program Officer at the Corporation for Enterprise Development. In that and earlier roles as Vice President for Policy and Research and Director of Research, Rademacher initiated many of the organization’s most innovative projects including work with the CFPB on the Consumer Financial Well Being Metrics Project, and with the Department of Treasury on the Bank On and Financial Access and Integration projects. She also developed the Behavioral Economics Technical Assistance (BETA) Project, and led the creation of Upside Down, a project that examines the ways that the U.S. income tax code generates disparate wealth building opportunities for American taxpayers.
She currently serves as a principal with the Pew Charitable Trust’s Financial Security and Economic Mobility Project, and on a number of other editorial and advisory boards. She worked previously as a senior researcher at the Center for Applied Behavioral and Evaluation Research at AED, and as Associate Director of Aspen’s Workforce Strategies Initiative.
Executive Vice President of Policy and Research at PhRMA
Speaking at our interactive panel, “Healthcare: The Value of Prescription Drugs”
Lori M. Reilly is Executive Vice President for Policy and Research at the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA). Ms. Reilly leads PhRMA’s policy and research department in the development and implementation of strategies to successfully navigate the ever-changing federal health care landscape, working to advance policies that encourage medical progress and patient access to the fruits of pharmaceutical innovation. In addition to her public policy work, Ms. Reilly is a frequent presenter on industry-related issues and an industry spokesperson. Prior to joining PhRMA, she was counsel at the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Commerce. And before joining the House Commerce Committee, Ms. Reilly was Chief of Staff/Counsel to Rep. Jon Christensen, a member of the House Ways and Means Committee. Ms. Reilly received a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where she graduated with Honors, and a J.D. from the University of Nebraska College of Law. She is a Member of the Virginia Bar and currently resides in Alexandria, Virginia with her husband and their four children.
Chief Strategy Officer, The Credit Junction
Sergio Rodriguera Jr. is Chief Strategy Officer at The Credit Junction (TCJ), a data-driven lending platform providing working capital to small and mid-size businesses. By coupling technology and data mapping, TCJ can better assess the health of a small business, as well as give those businesses a more transparent experience and provide loans up to $5M. Also, he is an advisor at ArmorText, a mobile security platform and District Ventures, an angel investment group. Most recently, he was a Professional Staff member with the Committee on Financial Services in the U.S. House of Representatives where he worked on technology and trade issues, including cybersecurity, sanctions and mobile payments. He serves as an Intelligence Officer in the US Navy Reserves. In early 2009 he was recalled to active duty as a Naval Reserve Intelligence Officer in Kabul, Afghanistan where his medals include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Navy Commendation Medal and Humanitarian Medal.
Deputy Director of Public Engagement, White House
Julie Chavez Rodriguez is Special Assistant to the President and Senior Deputy Director of Public Engagement. In this role, Julie manages a team of associate directors who work with leaders in the LGBT, AAPI, Latino, Veterans, Youth, Education, Labor, and Progressive communities. Over the past four years, Julie has worked in the Office of Public Engagement, supporting efforts to reform the nation’s immigration system, improve services for veterans, and increase access to affordable, quality health care, among other issues. Julie has also worked in coordination with the White House’s National Security Council on efforts to normalize the United States’ relationship with Cuba, in addition to responding to the migration of Central American children and their families. Prior to joining the White House, Julie served as the Director of Youth Employment at the Department of the Interior and the Deputy Press Secretary to former Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. Before joining the Administration, Julie served as the Director of Programs at the Cesar E. Chavez Foundation.
Small Business Reporter at the Associated Press
Speaking at our plenary panel “Ensuring Our Voice is Heard-Telling the Stories of the Small Business Economy”
Joyce Rosenberg is a small business reporter and columnist for The Associated Press. Since 1999 she has covered a wide range of small business topics including politics, the economy, employment, management and marketing. She has been with the AP since 1977, having worked in the Broadcast Department and New York City bureau as well as the Business News Department, where she has held reporting, editing and management positions including financial markets editor. She is a graduate of Bernard M. Baruch College and Brooklyn Law School. She is also a New York State licensed psychoanalyst with a small practice, which qualifies her to be called a small business owner.
Founder and President, Business Management Associates, Inc.
LaJuanna Russell is founder and president of Business Management Associates, Inc (BMA), a business process and human capital management firm with more than 90 employees. Ms. Russell possesses more than 20 years of experience in all aspects of business operations and government contracting, serving federal and state governments and international entities. Ms. Russell founded BMA in 2006 to continue the initial software life cycle development work she began during her consulting career, but with an emphasis on the integration of people and process. She has developed BMA from the ground up, establishing the technical and operational infrastructure, and the employee and client-focused culture her firm is known for. BMA was recently named to Inc.’s 5000 List of the fastest-growing private companies in America for 2015. In addition to her certification as a Six Sigma Green Belt, Ms. Russell holds a Bachelor Arts degree in Communication Studies from Virginia Tech and an accelerated MBA with concentrations in International Business and Finance from the George Washington University. LaJuanna has recently been selected to participate in the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program.
Research Associate, BBC Research & Consulting
Clinton W. Saloga is a research associate at BBC Research & Consulting, where his work focuses on the economic impacts, financing, and planning of public parks and facilities, as well as private enterprises. Prior to joining BBC, Saloga worked as an assistant policy analyst at the RAND Corporation, where he focused on economic development policy and emerging industries. He has contributed to reports for the United Nations and National Institutes of Health, and presented his work at the World Bank, USAID, and multiple international and domestic policy conferences. Mr. Saloga holds Masters degrees in Policy Analysis (Pardee RAND Graduate School) and Economics (Wichita State University), and a Bachelors of Science in Business Administration (Kansas State University).
Director of the Office of Health Reform, Department of Health and Human Services
Meena Seshamani is the Director of the Office of Health Reform at the Department of Health and Human Services, where she drives strategy and manages the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and delivery system reform. Recently she practiced as a head and neck surgeon at Kaiser Permanente in San Francisco. From February 2009 to November 2010, she served in the Office of Health Reform, first as Director of Policy Analysis and then as Deputy Director. She received her B.A. with honors, magna cum laude, in business economics from Brown University, her M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, and her DPhil (PhD) in Health Economics from the University of Oxford, where she was a Marshall Scholar. She completed her residency training in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
President of Madison Services Group
Speaking at our plenary panel, “If You’re Not at the Table…”-Ensuring the Small Business Voice is Represented”
Ann Sullivan is the President of Madison Services Group and NextWin Services, woman-owned companies that provide government relations and federal business development services. She brings many years of government relations experience in the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives. She currently leads the policy teams for the largest national association of women business owners and women in business, Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP), the Association of Women’s Business Centers (AWBC), the National Association of Workforce Boards (NAWB), the California Association for Micro Enterprise Opportunity (CAMEO), the HUBZone Contractors National Council, as well as the national voice for microbusiness, the Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO). She is recognized as the driving force behind implementation of the Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) Federal Contract Program. Ms. Sullivan is part of the MCCC GovConNet Council and also serves on the board of Medical Care for Children Partnership. The Sunlight Foundation recently named her one of Washington’s four “perfectly bipartisan lobbyists,” and Small Business Trends named her a Top 100 Small Business Influencer. She received the Enterprising Women of the Year Award from Enterprising Women Magazine, and was honored by Professional Women in Advocacy for Excellence in a Federal Issue Campaign.
Vice President for Government Relations and Public Affairs, National Association for the Self-Employed
Katie Vlietstra serves the National Association for the Self-Employed as Vice President for Government Relations and Public Affairs, leading the association’s federal advocacy and public affairs strategy in representing the 23 million self-employed.
She brings ten years of government affairs experience, which includes successes in the legislative and regulatory arenas in both the public and private sector, in executing the NASE’s legislative and communication strategy. In previous roles, she has worked on nearly every issue, including internet sales tax, hurricane recovery, immigration, fair labor standards act, tax, health care, and transportation.
Katie is often called upon to comment on pressing legislative topics of the day, including health care, tax, and immigration reform. Katie has been quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Politico, Roll Call, The Hill, USA Today, and CQ Weekly, and has appeared on FOX, C-SPAN, and MSNBC. Katie also provides commentary for The Huffington Post on small business issues.
Government Affairs Manager, Outdoor Industry Association
As OIA’s Government Affairs Manager, Wahl promotes OIA’s recreation policy goals, focusing on securing increased funding, access and infrastructure for outdoor recreation and promoting the outdoor industry agenda in Washington, DC. She plays a key role in policy development and analysis, political engagement and grassroots organizing. Wahl comes to OIA from the Department of the Interior (DOI), where she worked in the Office of the Secretary on external affairs and youth engagement in the outdoors. Wahl also managed the First Lady’s Let’s Move Outside! and Let’s Move! In Indian Country initiatives on behalf of the DOI and other agencies. Wahl received her undergraduate and graduate degrees in American government and politics from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. Out of 600 nominees, Wahl recently won 30 Under 30, a project that highlights the achievements of athletes, designers and founders driving the outdoor industry.
President, Colorado Business Roundtable; Owner, PROformance Apparel
Jeff is President of the Colorado Business Roundtable, a leading statewide organization, operating as an affiliate of the national Business Roundtable. Wasden was just confirmed as a National Trustee for the Board of Directors for National Small Business Leadership Association. Jeff also serves on the Leadership Council for NSBA.
Previously, Jeff served as Board President for Highlands Ranch Community Association for 10 years. During his tenure, Highlands Ranch created the Community Scholarship Fund and the Cultural Affairs Association. He started Team Highlands Ranch which brought together leaders from the county, school district, special districts and elected officials. He helped create the Highlands Ranch Chamber of Commerce and has served on the Board for the Lone Tree and Castle Pines Chambers. He currently Chairs the Business Leaders for Responsible Government group and the Legislative Action Committee for the South Metro Denver Chamber, and is the Chamber’s Vice Chair for Public Policy.
Jeff Wasden is an owner of PROformance Apparel in Littleton, Colorado, providing custom uniforms, signs, banners, and unique specialty items for high schools, police and fire departments, and youth sports for many years. Jeff spent 15 years in education before purchasing PROformance with his wife and sister-in-law.
CPA, Zimmerman & Co. CPAs Inc.
As the owner of two businesses, Zimmerman & Co CPAs and Zimcom Internet Solutions, a regional provider of Internet and hosting solutions, Anne Zimmerman has a lot invested in her community. She has served as president of her chamber of commerce, is the team leader of an effort to bring financial literacy to students in her community and her firm donates its services to a number of non-profit organizations. Anne works as CFO for her client businesses, has won a number of prestigious awards and understands the intricacies of small businesses across the country.