Our Team

Antonio Aguilar Jr.

Central & Northern California Senior Outreach Manager

Antonio manages Small Business Majority's outreach efforts in the Central Valley and Northern California. In this role, Antonio develops relationships with business partners, small business owners and community leaders to promote economic change in the heart of California.

Prior to joining Small Business Majority Antonio worked for one of the largest community action agencies in the nation, where he focused on learning and development, as well as organizational culture. In his most recent role, Antonio led efforts in organizing and planning quarterly leadership retreats, a newly launched manager training series, and an all staff conference for more than 600 employees. 

Additionally, Antonio has more than seven years of human resources experience primarily in social services. Antonio has run the HR department of a private behavioral health agency, as well as operations for an adolescent substance abuse treatment agency. Antonio was born and raised in Fresno County, and now resides in Sanger where he serves on the city’s Planning Commission. He is passionate about providing resources and opportunities to underserved communities and wants to continue to give back to those in need. Antonio is fluent in Spanish.


Gerente Senior de Alcance Comunitario en el centro y norte de California

Antonio administra los esfuerzos de alcance comunitario de Small Business Majority en el Valle de San Joaquín Central. En esta posición, Antonio desarrolla relaciones con socios comerciales, propietarios de pequeñas empresas y líderes comunitarios para promover cambios económicos en el corazón de California. 

Antes de unirse a Small Business Majority Antonio trabajó para una de las agencias de acción comunitaria más grandes de la nación, donde se enfocó en el aprendizaje y desarrollo, así como la organización cultural. En su más reciente puesto, Antonio dirigió esfuerzos para organizar y planear retiros de liderazgo trimestrales, una nueva serie de capacitación para gerentes lanzada recientemente y una conferencia de más de 600 empleados. 

Además, Antonio tiene más de siete años en recursos humanos en servicios sociales. Antonio ha dirigido el departamento de recursos humanos de una agencia privada de salud conductual, así como las operaciones de una agencia de tratamiento de abuso de sustancias para adolescentes. Antonio nació y creció en el Condado de Fresno, y ahora reside en Sanger donde es miembro de la Comisión de Planificación. A él le apasiona proporcionar recursos y oportunidades a comunidades desatendidas y quiere continuar ayudando a aquellos que lo necesiten. Antonio habla Español.

Contact Antonio »
Rachel Aherin

Rachel Aherin

Senior Manager, Strategy & Development

Rachel Aherin writes and reports on grants for Small Business Majority. She has previously worked as a grant writer for the International Rescue Committee and the American Civil Liberties Union, and has served as a development consultant for a variety of nonprofit organizations. Rachel earned her bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and her master’s degree from Hunter College’s Creative Writing Program. She was awarded a writing fellowship from the Edward F. Albee Foundation.

Rachel serves as a member of Small Business Majority’s DEI Council.

Contact Rachel »
Jessica Anguiano

Jessica Anguiano

Southern California Senior Outreach Manager & Minority Entrepreneurship Programs Manager

Jessica manages Small Business Majority's outreach efforts in Southern California, leveraging her six years of experience as a business consultant for small business owners. As the Minority Entrepreneurship Programs Manager, she develops educational programming and collaborates across states to identify best practices and programming opportunities for small business owners of color.

Before joining Small Business Majority, she served as the CARES Project Director for two Women's Business Centers, where she played a crucial role in helping entrepreneurs navigate the challenges of the pandemic, and assisting with business plans and social media marketing for startups. Previously, she served in leadership roles for major retail chains, specializing in visual merchandising, store renovations, consumer behavior analysis and vendor management. 

Jessica is an active board member at Women Strengthening Women, where she provides resources and promotes entrepreneurial paths to achieve financial independence for women in the region. She also participates in committees sharing insights on small business success. Jessica earned a master’s degree in International Business and has taught college-level business and consumer behavior courses. She is fluent in Spanish.


Gerente de Alcance Comunitario en el sur de California & Gerente de Programas Empresariales Minoritarias

Jessica administra los esfuerzos de alcance comunitario de Small Business Majority en la región del sur de California, aprovechando sus seis años de experiencia trabajando como consultora de negocios, ayudando a propietarios de pequeñas empresas. Como Gerente de Programas Empresariales Minoritarias, ella desarrolla la programación educativa y colabora en todos los estados para identificar las mejores prácticas y oportunidades de programación para pequeñas empresas minoritarias.

Antes de unirse a Small Business Majority, Jessica se desempeñó como la Directora de Proyectos de CARES en dos Centros de Negocios para Mujeres, donde desempeñó un trabajo vital para ayudar a los empresarios a navegar los desafíos de la pandemia, y asistiendo en el desarrollo de planes de negocio y marketing en redes sociales para startups. Anteriormente, ella trabajó en puestos de liderazgo para grandes cadenas, liderando equipos con mercadeo visual, ayudando con la remodelación de tiendas, analizando reportes de comportamiento del consumidor, y trabajando con proveedores en el extranjero.

Ella es un miembro activo de la junta de Women Strengthening Women, donde brinda recursos y promueve el emprendimiento para lograr la independencia financiera de mujeres en la región. También participa en comités que comparten ideas sobre el éxito de las pequeñas empresas. Jessica obtuvo una maestría en Negocios Internacionales y ha enseñado cursos de nivel universitario en negocios y del comportamiento del consumidor. Jessica también habla Español. 

Contact Jessica »
John Arensmeyer

John Arensmeyer

Founder & CEO

Follow John on Twitter @JohnArensmeyer

John Arensmeyer has used his long experience as a small business owner to build Small Business Majority into a nationally recognized organization focused on empowering America's entrepreneurs to build a thriving and equitable economy. Small Business Majority is the leading advocate for critical public policy issues facing America’s small businesses—particularly access to capital, healthcare, taxes, fair competition, childcare, retirement/asset building and numerous workforce issues. In recent years John has spearheaded the growth of Small Business Majority’s Venturize.org portal, providing critical practical resources to our nation’s 30 million small businesses and independent self-employed entrepreneurs.

Prior to launching Small Business Majority 18 years ago, John was the founder and CEO of ACI Interactive, an award-winning international interactive communications 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, an attorney in New York, an aide to the mayor of Philadelphia and a staff member on Capitol Hill.

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 and the CBS Evening News. In 2009 he was an active participant 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 Advisory Board for the Access to Markets initiative and is an Ally of the Council for Inclusive Capitalism. He recently served as Board Chair of California's Insure the Uninsured Project. He has led a study group at Harvard's Kennedy School of Politics and has served on the Association for Enterprise Opportunity's Economic Impact Council and Micro Capital Task Force.

Contact John »
Robert Bennett

Robert Bennett

Small Business Engagement Director

Robert Bennett oversees the process of building and fostering relationships with small business owners, business organizations, and advocacy groups with a particular focus on cultivating spokesperson engagement activities for the Small Business Majority spokesperson program. He also manages the National Small Business Council, a grassroots leadership program that offers significant contributions to Small Business Majority’s work.

Before joining Small Business Majority, Robert worked with various national nonprofit organizations such as the National Homelessness Law Center and the ALS Association, where he was responsible for diversifying revenue programs and strengthening existing corporate partnerships. Most recently, Robert served as Business Operations Specialist with the Society for Human Resource Management, a professional association dedicated to empowering people and workplaces by advancing HR practices and by maximizing human potential.

Robert serves as a member of Small Business Majority’s DEI Council.

Contact Robert »
Kathy Berry

Kathleen E. Berry, PHR

Vice President, Operations

Kathy Berry directs Small Business Majority’s finance, human resources and administrative operations. She has more than 35 years of business management experience, including more than 20 years in small entrepreneurial environments, having helped grow three small businesses in the arenas of healthcare, interactive technology and online education. She also has held senior positions with companies and organizations focused on technology, law and housing. 

Prior to joining Small Business Majority 11 years ago, Kathy served as a Director at iMind Education Systems and as Director of Operations for ACI Interactive, where she oversaw administration, human resources and accounting. Immediately before joining Small Business Majority, she was Human Resources Manager for Freed & Associates, a boutique healthcare consulting firm. She serves as Small Business Majority’s Secretary-Treasurer.

Kathy serves as Co-Chair of Small Business Majority’s DEI Council.

Contact Kathy »
Bianca Blomquist

Bianca Blomquist

California Policy Director & Northern California Outreach Director

Bianca Blomquist manages Small Business Majority’s legislative efforts statewide and outreach efforts in Northern California. She develops relationships with small business owners and stakeholders to empower the voice of small businesses in California. Bianca leads the Federal, State and Grant Assistance Committee for the City of San Jose small business task force on COVID-19 and serves as liaison to the Jobs, Economic Development and the Economy (JEDE) Committee in the California state legislature. She also serves on the Steering Committee for the California Asset Building Coalition (CABC), on an outreach advisory group for Covered California, and on the Board of California Main Street Alliance (CAMS). 

Prior to joining Small Business Majority, Bianca served as a legislative aide on Capitol Hill for a member of the House Financial Services Committee. She lobbied for five years on healthcare, transportation, labor and trade issues in Washington, D.C. Throughout her career, Bianca has campaigned in California, Minnesota and Wisconsin on state and national initiatives that impact the status of working families throughout the country.

Contact Bianca »
Matt Brandenburger

Matt Brandenburger

Engagement Assistant

Matt Brandenburger is Small Business Majority's engagement assistant, working to build and maintain relationships with small business owners, contributing to the organization's small business database and conducting interviews with small business owners. Additionally, he supports the development of Small Business Majority's spokesperson program. Previously, Matt was an International Security Assistance Intern at CRDF Global in Arlington, V.A. supporting their Partnership for Nuclear Threat Reduction-Nonproliferation and Disarmament Fund (PNTR-NDF) team. 

Contact Matt »
Tasha Brown

Tasha Brown

Midwest Director

Tasha directs Small Business Majority's outreach, education and policy efforts in the Midwest region from our Chicago office where she focuses on enhancing financial security for small business owners, their employees and their families. 

Tasha has a breadth of experience across multiple industries and disciplines including government, education and entrepreneurship. Before joining Small Business Majority, Tasha worked with more than 300 entrepreneurs to help them launch or grow their business. She led the Illinois Small Business Development Center at the South Suburban location of the Women’s Business Development Center. Tasha is a member of the 2023 Chicago Foundation for Women’s Willie’s Warriors Leadership cohort, the Global Partnership for Poverty and Entrepreneurship at the Keouogh School of Global Affairs, University of Notre Dame, and the Governing Council of Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center where I serve as the UCC Clergy Representative. She was the 2020 recipient of the Economic Development Award from the South Suburban Small Business Association. She has spoken frequently with the media to share her insights on the state of Black-owned businesses in the South suburban area of Chicago.

Contact Tasha »
David Chase

David Chase

Vice President, Policy & Advocacy

David Chase is responsible for setting Small Business Majority's policy agenda and developing a corresponding advocacy strategy, in collaboration with our federal government affairs team and state policy directors. Before joining Small Business Majority in 2010, he served in the office of California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, where he built coalitions with business and other stakeholder groups to advance the governor's agenda. David was part of the team responsible for building the coalition behind Governor Schwarzenegger's 2007 bipartisan healthcare reform proposal.

Contact David »
Rebekah Chase

Rebekah Chase

Controller

Rebekah Chase is Small Business Majority's Controller. She maintains the organization’s accounting systems, prepares financial reports and assists in budget development. She also works with the Grants department to prepare, review and report on grant contracts.

Rebekah has more than a decade of experience in the non-profit, private and public sectors that includes fiscal planning, auditing and administering employee benefit programs. Before joining Small Business Majority more than five years ago, she was the Director of Accounting for a school district in California where she oversaw budget development, accounts payable/receiveable and other business operations. Rebekah began her career doing bookkeeping and auditing at a small business.

Rebekah recently successfully completed her Certified Nonprofit Accounting Professional (CNAP) Advanced instruction program through The Nonprofit CPA’s Alliance.

Contact Rebekah »
Nasis Chisolm

Nasia Chisolm

Outreach Assistant

Nasia Chisolm serves as Small Business Majority’s Outreach Assistant. She supports the organization’s Outreach team through assisting within events, marketing, and relationship building with fellow small business owners. Prior to joining Small Business Majority, Nasia worked with Silence the Shame as a Program Coordinator Intern and interned at PwC as a Nonprofit Consultant. She also is currently obtaining her Masters in Organizational Psychology from Southern New Hampshire University.

Contact Nasia »
Connor Coursey photo

Connor Coursey

Government Affairs Associate

Connor supports Small Business Majority’s government affairs work through the organization’s relationships and advocacy efforts on Capitol Hill, the Biden-Harris administration, federal agencies, and the White House. Prior to joining Small Business Majority, Connor was an Assistant Policy Officer at the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), where he supported policy advocacy efforts on Capitol Hill to expand and strengthen federal affordable housing and community development policies. Before that, Connor interned at Invariant Government Relations and with the Offices of Representatives Steny Hoyer and Jamie Raskin. 

Contact Connor »
Josaline Cuesta

Josaline Cuesta

California Program Director

Josaline Cuesta manages the execution of Small Business Majority’s programs and initiatives throughout the state of California in collaboration with the California team. Additionally, she directs the organization's Central Valley and Southern California offices and develops and fosters strong relationships with business organizations, community organizations and policymakers. Josaline serves as a member of the 2022 Entrepreneurship & Economic Mobility Task Force (EEMTF) under the office of the California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development. She also serves on the Coordinating Council for Inland Economic Growth & Opportunity (IEGO) and is a co-lead on the CA FWD’s Entrepreneurship and Small Business Ownership by People of Color policy work group.

Prior to joining Small Business Majority, Josaline worked in the private and public sector for almost two decades. Most recently Josaline led community engagement initiatives and large-scale outreach programs for local government. She has also directed office operations for a state elected official and spearheaded the creation of a customer service department for an online startup company. In her spare time, she is a member of the National Charity League, Inc. Riverside Chapter, a board member of the Riverside County Parks Foundation, and a board member of the Pick Group of Young Professionals. She's fluent in Spanish.

 

Directora de Programas de California

Josaline Cuesta administra la ejecución de los programas e iniciativas de Small Business Majority en todo el estado de California en colaboración con el equipo de California. Además, ella dirige la oficina de la organización en el sur y el valle central de California y desarrolla y fomenta relaciones sólidas con organizaciones comerciales, organizaciones comunitarias y legisladores. Josaline se desempeña como miembro del Grupo de Trabajo bajo la Oficina de Desarrollo Comercial y Económico del Gobernador de California (EEMTF por sus siglas en inglés). Ella también es miembro del Consejo de Coordinación para el Crecimiento y la Oportunidad Económica de Inland (IEGO) y es codirectora del grupo de trabajo sobre políticas de CA FWD’s Entrepreneurship and Small Business Ownership by People of Color.

Antes de unirse a Small Business Majority, Josaline trabajó en el sector público y privado durante casi dos décadas. Más recientemente, Josaline dirigió iniciativas de participación comunitaria y programas de extensión a gran escala para el gobierno local. Ella también ha dirigido las operaciones de la oficina de un funcionario electo estatal y encabezó la creación de un departamento de servicio al cliente para una empresa startup en línea. En su tiempo libre, ella es miembro del capítulo Riverside de National Charity League, Inc., miembro de la junta de la Fundación de Parques del Condado de Riverside, y miembro de la junta Pick Group of Young Professionals. Ella también habla Español.

Contact Josaline »
Alexis D'Amato

Alexis D'Amato

Government Affairs Director

Alexis manages Small Business Majority’s government affairs work through the organization’s relationships on Capitol Hill, the Biden-Harris administration, federal agencies and the White House. Alexis ensures Small Business Majority’s national network of entrepreneurs and partner organizations stay up to date and actively involved in all relevant federal affairs developments, including legislative and regulatory developments as well as coalition engagement, to achieve the organization’s federal policy goals. Through her work, Alexis advocates for the voices of Main Street America and the organizations that support them through the federal policymaking process. 

Prior to joining Small Business Majority, Alexis served as the Director of Government Affairs at Prism Group, a bi-partisan government affairs firm located in Washington, D.C., where she managed and oversaw the government affairs and policy activity for clients in the small business, entrepreneurship and procurement portfolio. 

Alexis is a graduate of the George Washington University with a Master of Arts in Political Science. She is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, Women in Government Relations and the Birmingham-Southern College Young Alumni Council.

Contact Alexis »
Elena Ellingson-Cosenza

Elena Ellingson-Cosenza

Communications Assistant

Elena Ellingson-Cosenza serves as Small Business Majority’s Communications Assistant. She supports the organization’s policy communications, educational content, media outreach, and social media campaigns. Prior to joining Small Business Majority, Elena worked in the Office of Majority Leader Steny Hoyer as a Speechwriting Fellow and interned at CLS Strategies. She also holds a Master’s degree in Political Communication from American University.

Contact Elena »
Annemieke Farrow

Annemieke Farrow

Director of Development

As Director of Development, Annemieke Farrow oversees Small Business Majority’s development efforts, including identifying potential new funding sources and managing the grant writing department. She also develops strategies to measure the impact of Small Business Majority’s programs and streamline impact data collection across the organization. Previously, Annemieke served as Small Business Majority’s Grants Manager.

Annemieke has a background as a freelance writer and copy editor, and joins Small Business Majority from the foundation realm. Most recently, she worked as the Community Impact Fellow for the Sacramento Region Community Foundation, where she researched new opportunities for grantmaking and supported multiple strategic initiatives. One new initiative worked to increase college completion for underrepresented students in the Sacramento area; Annemieke assisted with program logistics, event planning and the development of assessment protocols. She also supported the Foundation’s capacity-building initiative for local nonprofits, providing direct support for nonprofit staff while collecting and analyzing data to assess program effectiveness and participant learning outcomes.

Annemieke holds a Master of Science in Community Development from U.C. Davis, where she studied community engagement techniques and the importance of community-based initiatives to support lasting change. Her thesis used the lens of youth empowerment to explore how participation in a youth-led philanthropy program impacted the program’s high-school-aged board members.

Contact Annemieke »
Jeremy Flick

Jeremy Flick

Senior Manager of Engagement Strategy and Data

As Senior Manager of Engagement Strategy and Data, Jeremy Flick plays a key role in enhancing Small Business Majority's capacity to establish meaningful and measurable connections with its stakeholders. Jeremy serves as a strategic thought leader, collaborator, and data champion. He leverages data-driven insights to streamline processes and identify opportunities to integrate engagement strategies into broader organizational initiatives to optimize impact and efficiency.

With a diverse background spanning over 12 years, he brings expertise in strategic engagement, digital marketing, fundraising, data analysis, program coordination, and non-profit leadership, combined with a background in the visual arts. Previously, Jeremy served as Small Business Majority’s Digital Engagement Manager.

Contact Jeremy »
Ira Gotlyboym

Ira Gotliboym

Research Analyst

Ira Gotliboym is Small Business Majority’s Research Analyst. He helps conduct research on public policy issues surrounding small businesses, assists with developing questions for surveys and polls, analyzing research findings, and helps with managing research vendor relationships. 

Before joining Small Business Majority, Ira was an Economic Research Fellow at the Small Business Administration- Office of Advocacy, where he provided economic data on small businesses to media outlets and congressional staff. In addition, he aided with reviewing economic impacts of federal policies on small businesses. During his fellowship, Ira released two fact sheet publications on the breakdown of immigrant ownership throughout small businesses.

Ira holds a Master’s degree in Applied Economics from the University of Maryland and Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Rutgers University.

Contact Ira »
Lisa Marlow

Lisa Marlow

Media Relations Manager

Lisa Marlow is the Media Relations Manager for Small Business Majority. She brings more than 10 years of experience in strategic communications to the team. In her role, she is responsible for planning and executing all media relations campaigns and strategies at the national, state and local levels. 

Before Small Business Majority, Lisa was most recently Director of Strategic Communications at Subject Matter, where she raised the profile of clients with reporters and ensured new client resources were prominently placed in top-tier digital/print outlets. Before Subject Matter, she served as the Manager of Media Relations and Communications at the National Low Income Housing Coalition, where she drove effective and efficient communication for four years on the need to increase affordable housing for people in low-income communities.

Lisa serves as a member of Small Business Majority’s DEI Council.

Contact Lisa »

Cassie Mills

Vice President, Communications

Cassie Mills oversees implementation of the organization's internal and external communications efforts, including state and national media outreach, social media and digital marketing, organization websites, reports and more. She also contributes to the organization’s communications efforts by writing reports, web content and media materials. Previously, Cassie served as the organization's Communications Manager and Senior Communications & Research Associate.

Prior to joining Small Business Majority in 2013, Cassie provided strategic communications support to the U.S. Department of Energy, where she focused on storytelling and promoting success stories of projects supported by the Department. She has worked as a writer and editor in a variety of sectors, including at the Louisiana state legislature, universities and research and nonprofit organizations.

Contact Cassie »
Mayra Ordonez

Mayra Ordonez

Bilingual Communications Manager

As Small Business Majority’s Bilingual Communications Manager, Mayra coordinates the organization’s bilingual communication efforts to reach and engage the monolingual and bilingual Latino business community. In addition to this work, she manages content for Venturize, our educational portal, and supports the organization's media relations efforts. Previously, Mayra served as Small Business Majority’s Communications Assistant.

Prior to joining Small Business Majority, Mayra interned at several organizations in Washington, D.C., including the United Nations Foundation, Georgetown University, the German Marshall Fund of the United States and the Department of Human and Health Services. Mayra also holds a Master’s degree in Integrated Marketing Communications from Georgetown University. She's also fluent in Spanish.


Gerente de Comunicaciones Bilingüe​

Como Gerente de Comunicaciones Bilingüe de Small Business Majority, Mayra coordina los esfuerzos de comunicación bilingüe de la organización para alcanzar y colaborar con la comunidad empresarial latina monolingüe y bilingüe. Además de este trabajo, ella desarrolla el contenido para Venturize, nuestro portal de educación, y apoya los esfuerzos de colaboración de la organización con los medios de comunicación. Anteriormente, Mayra se desempeñó como la Asistente de Comunicaciones de Small Business Majority.

Antes de unirse al equipo de Small Business Majority, Mayra realizó pasantías en varias organizaciones de Washington, D.C., incluyendo la Fundación de las Naciones Unidas, la Universidad de Georgetown, el German Marshall Fund de los Estados Unidos, y el Departamento Federal de Servicios Humanos y de Salud. Mayra también tiene una Maestría en Mercadeo y Comunicaciones de la Universidad de Georgetown. Ella también habla Español.

Contact Mayra »
Meghan Ott

Meghan Ott

Digital Communications Manager

As Small Business Majority's Digital Communications Specialist, Meghan Ott manages the organization's social media accounts, handles event promotion and creates marketing and educational materials. She also supports the organization's engagement efforts by interviewing and writing profiles of small business owners. Meghan previously served as an intern for Small Business Majority's communications team and before that, she interned at Women for Women International, a nonprofit organization dedicated to teaching women in conflict-affected areas financial literacy and vocational skills. Prior to working at Women for Women International, she interned at SHIFT Communication, a PR agency in Boston. 

Contact Meghan »
Xiomara Peña

Xiomara Peña

Vice President, Programs & Engagement

Xiomara Peña is responsible for organizational visibility by leading Small Business Majority’s Outreach and Engagement departments. Working with other senior executives of Small Business Majority, Xiomara plans, develops and drives initiatives for the organization towards building a more inclusive and equitable economy that directly benefits entrepreneurs in underserved communities. Alongside the organization’s small business engagement team, she works collaboratively on strengthening relationships with policymakers, small business owners, and organizations across the country to amplify our equity lens in all areas of our work. Xiomara has extensive experience supporting small businesses, particularly those run by people of color, women, and immigrants. 

She currently serves on the Advisory Council for Support Latino Business, Steering Committee for Policy Entrepreneurs Awards Program led by Common Future and she is a co-chair for Small Business Majority's DEI Council. She was one of 10 leaders selected as a LinkedIn Top Voice in 2019 under the Entrepreneurship & Small Business category. In 2019, Xiomara served on Governor Newsom’s Paid Family Leave Task Force. She's also fluent in Spanish.

Xiomara serves as Co-Chair of Small Business Majority’s DEI Council.

 

Vice Presidenta, Programas y Colaboraciones Estratégicas

Xiomara Peña es responsable de la visibilidad organizacional al liderar los departamentos de Alcance Comunitario y Colaboraciones Estratégicas de Small Business Majority. Al trabajar con otros ejecutivos de Small Business Majority, Xiomara planifica y desarolla iniciativas de la organización para construir una economía más inclusiva y equitativa que beneficie directamente a los empresarios en comunidades marginadas. Junto con el equipo de Colaboraciones Estratégicas, ella trabaja para fortalecer relaciones con legisladores, propietarios de pequeñas empresas y organizaciones en todo el país para amplificar nuestra perspectiva de equidad en todos los ámbitos de nuestro trabajo. Xiomara tiene amplia experiencia en el apoyo a pequeñas empresas, en particular aquellas dirigidas por personas de color, mujeres, e inmigrantes. 

Actualmente ella forma parte del Consejo de “Support Latino Business,” Comité Ejecutivo del Policy Entrepreneurs Awards Program liderado por Common Future y ella es co-presidenta del Consejo DEI de Small Business Majority. Ella fue uno de los 10 líderes seleccionados como LinkedIn Top Voice en el 2019 en la categoría de Emprendimiento & Pequeñas Empresas. En 2019, Xiomara sirvió en la Fuerza de Tarea de Permiso Familiar Pagado del Gobernador Newsom. Ella también habla Español.

Contact Xiomara »
Brian Pifer

Brian Pifer

Vice President, Research & Insights

Brian oversees Small Business Majority’s research initiatives, including scientific opinion polling, focus groups and economic research. This research provides policymakers, advocates and others in the entrepreneurial ecosystem with the information they need to navigate complex small business issues. Brian leads the design, execution and reporting on these multidisciplinary research projects and manages Small Business Majority's s Insights program, which provides custom private research and subscription services for partners interested in understanding entrepreneurs' needs, challenges and opportunities. 

Brian also manages Small Business Majority's Venturize platform, the one-stop educational hub for the nation's entrepreneurs. Prior to joining Small Business Majority eight years ago, Brian was an editor and reporter at daily newspapers in Northern California, covering small business and other issues.  

Contact Brian »
Awesta Sarkash

Awesta Sarkash

Public Policy Director

Awesta Sarkash directs Small Business Majority's policy and education work in Minnesota, New Mexico, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virgina. In coordination with our state and federal policy teams, Awesta also leads the organization's policy work on access to capital, criminal justice reform and auto-IRA retirement savings programs by tracking legislative and regulatory developments, and serving as a subject-matter expert on these issues. Additionally, Awesta serves as the Vice Chair of the Responsible Business Lending Coalition.

Prior to joining Small Business Majority, Awesta served as the Director of Advocacy and Communications at the Coalition for Nonprofit Housing and Economic Development (CNHED), a nonprofit membership association that supports the community development sector in DC. She was responsible for facilitating the development and execution of CNHED’s budget and policy advocacy strategies across a broad range of community development issues, including workforce development, small business entrepreneurship and neighborhood-based commercial corridors. Prior to joining CNHED, Awesta served as the grassroots and advocacy manager for the American Land Title Association. She also served as assistant director for the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies’ Public Affairs and Advocacy Institute at American University and in Brussels for the European Public Affairs and Advocacy Institute. 

Originally from Afghanistan, Awesta grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico and received her Master’s in Political Science from American University in Washington, D.C. with a focus on American politics and advocacy. In 2022, Awesta was awarded the Top 20 in 2022 Advocacy Professional Award by the Advocacy Association. 

Contact Awesta »
Rachel Shanklin

Rachel Shanklin

Georgia Director / National Women's Entrepreneurship Director

Rachel Shanklin directs Small Business Majority’s outreach, education and policy efforts in the state of Georgia by building and maintaining strategic partnerships, educating businesses throughout the state on key issues, and working on statewide policy efforts. She also manages Small Business Majority’s national outreach to women entrepreneurs and women's business organizations. Rachel is passionate about advancing policy to enable small business owners to create quality jobs in Georgia and to increase access to financial services and equity for entrepreneurs.

Prior to joining Small Business Majority, Rachel worked as the Government Affairs Manager for the Georgia Alliance of Community Hospitals, where she advocated for the enactment of sound health and hospital laws, rules and regulations to improve Georgia’s healthcare system. She previously interned as a policy and research analyst for the Georgia State Senate, the Georgia Department of Public Health and the Office of the Georgia Lieutenant Governor. Rachel also has professional experience in grassroots advocacy and political campaigns. While working towards her Master of Public Health at Georgia State University, Rachel conducted research for a statewide policy tank that focused on analyzing tax policies and proposed budgets in Georgia. 

Rachel serves as a member of Small Business Majority’s DEI Council.

Contact Rachel »
Eszter Szocska

Eszter Szocska

Digital Communications & IT Director

Eszter Szocska manages Small Business Majority's websites, databases, online communications and other IT functions. Prior to joining Small Business Majority more than 10 years ago, she worked as the website administrator at Green-Wifi, a small business specializing in the development of solar-powered Wi-Fi grid networks for schools in the developing world. Previously, she spent nine years in Tokyo where she cofounded FCC International, a small web services company. A native of Hungary, Eszter is fluent in both Hungarian and Japanese.

 

Contact Eszter »
Sara Thibodeau

Sara Thibodeau

Grant Writer

Sara Thibodeau writes and reports on grants for Small Business Majority. In addition to previously working as a grant writer and project manager for a series of Boston-based workforce development initiatives, she has held management positions at two tech startups. Sara is passionate about entrepreneurship and has often volunteered her time to advise small businesses, both in the U.S. and while traveling and living abroad. Sara earned her bachelor's degree in International Relations and her master's degree in International Business from the University of Denver. She is fluent in French and conversational in Portuguese and Spanish.

Contact Sara »
Lindsey Vigoda

Lindsey Vigoda

Colorado Director & National Quality Jobs Policy Director

Lindsey Vigoda directs Small Business Majority’s outreach, policy and fundraising efforts in Colorado. Using her social work skills, Lindsey builds and maintains strong relationships with small business communities throughout the state, focusing on key policy issues. Previously, she served as Colorado Outreach Manager, coordinating the organization's education and small business outreach across the state. In addition to her Colorado Director role, Lindsey serves as Small Business Majority’s National Quality Jobs Policy Director to promote policies such as paid family leave and child care to support access to quality jobs.

Prior to joining Small Business Majority, Lindsey worked on Colorado’s successful Proposition 111 campaign, which capped the interest rates of predatory payday loans in the state. While working towards her Master of Social Work at the University of Denver, Lindsey conducted policy research for a statewide policy tank that focused on economic justice. She recently joined Denver Mayor-elect Mike Johnston's transition team as a volunteer to inform policies related to social equity and innovation.

Lindsey serves as a member of Small Business Majority’s DEI Council.

Contact Lindsey »