Community Navigator Pilot Program Session Powered by SBA
We will kick off the conference with Small Business Administration's (SBA) Elmy Bermejo, Regional Administrator and Saul Ramos, District Director of Nevada, as they provide updates about the Community Navigator Pilot Program (CNPP) which helps underserved and unserved business communities (Asian-, Black-, Hispanic-, Native American-, Disability-, Veteran-, and Women-owned businesses). Listen to success stories from other National Hubs such as LISC and U.S. Black Chambers and Spokes like the Asian American Chamber of Nevada as well USPAACC's very own Spokes for the next portion of the program.
Community Navigator Pilot Program AM Session
Program OfficerLISC Phoenix
David Longoria is a Program Officer for Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) Phoenix and the Arizona Partnership for Healthy Communities. In this role, he is responsible for the economic development efforts of the local LISC office through building capacity for local, BIPOC, minority, and women entrepreneurs; and coordinating and managing Transit-Oriented and Community Development efforts for underserved and disadvantaged areas along key business corridors throughout Phoenix, Tempe, and Mesa.
David is a lifelong, native Arizonan with a background in Grassroots Organizing and Neighborhood Revitalization; and before joining LISC served for 20 years in the public sector at the County, City, and Federal government levels throughout the State.
Executive DirectorRetail, Arts, Innovation, & Livability Community Development Corporation (RAIL CDC)
Retail, Arts, Innovation, & Livability Community Development Corporation (RAIL CDC)
Ryan Winkle has been putting people first in community organizing and economic development work for 11 years. He currently works as the Executive Director of RAIL CDC and is responsible for growing the grassroots organization into a community asset providing services and place-based support to small businesses and neighborhoods across the valley. He moves past engagement to empowerment with an emphasis on community resilience through comprehensive Antidisplacement and wealth building in underrepresented places. Ryan is involved in many community and cultural activities, is nonprofit AF, and drags his kids with him everywhere he goes.
Director of ProgramsU.S. Black Chambers, Inc. (USBC)
Alisa S. Joseph
Director of Programs
U.S. Black Chambers, Inc. (USBC)
Ms. Joseph has a proven record of accomplishment in leadership, strategic planning, grant writing, marketing communications and program design strategies and implementation. With over 25 years of experience in the financial services industry, she brings a wealth of knowledge in financial products including those providing access to capital, supply chain management, diversity initiatives, multicultural marketing, and management. She has leveraged her expertise to help for-profit businesses and nonprofit organizations achieve their goals and objectives to scale for growth, stability, and wealth, creating initiativesthat connect and leverage government contracting opportunities, certification, operations management, financing, and communications.
She currently serves as the Director of Programs for the US Black Chambers, Inc. (USBC), leading with counsel, guidance, andmanagement expertise indesigning and implementing programs for Black and minority businesses to help them scale and grow. Her work has enabled USBC to serve thousands of Black businesses with digital/virtual programs and support Black chambers in the past two years. Ms. Joseph launched specialized programs like the USBC credit card, emerging loan/grant programs and financial education programs. She manages key relationships with corporate partners like American Express, Google, Facebook, JP Morgan Chase, Truist, Wells Fargo and government agencies including the US Small Business Administration (SBA), Opportunity Finance Network (OFN), the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) and the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Businesses (OSDBU) divisions in federal government agencies.
Ms. Joseph is a graduate of Fordham University with a B.S. degree in Psychology and received her M.S. degree in Organizational Psychology from Columbia University. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated and has served on nonprofit boards
Regional AdministratorU.S. Small Business Administration
U.S. Small Business Administration
As Region IX Administrator, Elmy Bermejo will oversee SBA programs, offices, and operations in the SBA’s Pacific region, serving Arizona, California, Guam, Hawaii, and Nevada.
Ms. Bermejo has a passion for building and strengthening relationships while assisting people and organizations attain their goals. She has been a senior government official with more than 25 years of experience at the executive level and has established a successful record of collaboration with public and private stakeholders on a range of issues including workforce development, disaster relief, and small business. Ms. Bermejo recently served as the Northern California Director for External Affairs for Governor Gavin Newsom; before that, she served as a Senior Adviser and Outreach Director for Lt. Governor Eleni Kounalakis of California, the first woman ever elected to this position. Ms. Bermejo also served in President Barack Obama’s administration at the U.S. Department of Labor as the Regional Representative to the Secretary and as Director of Intergovernmental Affairs. She serves on the San Francisco Commission on the Environment, The Women’s Foundation of CA, and as an Advisory member of Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE) and the Leo T. McCarthy Center for Public Service and the Public Good.
District DirectorU.S. Small Business Administration
U.S. Small Business Administration
Saul Ramos, Nevada SBA District Director has held several leadership positions during his 20-year federal career. He joined SBA in 2017 and was the first to complete a Los Angeles Federal Executive Board (FEB) professional development rotation program, as an International Development Specialist. He has represented SBA in various positions, including Deputy District Director, Senior Area Manager, and oversight of Economic and Business Development team. In his role as District Director, he provides leadership and oversight of SBA’s programs and services to improve the viability of startup businesses, the growth of existing businesses, and the economic climate of Nevada.
Saul leads a passionate, talented and experience Nevada SBA team focused on putting customers – the nation’s small businesses – first. He directs the Nevada District team in implementing an efficient and effective strategy that strengthens the entrepreneurial ecosystem and helps small business owners access capital, comprehensive technical assistance, and government contracting opportunities. Saul is also responsible for SBA resource partners oversight, which include Small Business Development Centers, SCORE mentors, Women’s Business Center, and the Veterans Business Outreach Center. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he worked closely with the Nevada District team and partners to provide capital and technical assistance programs to the hardest-hit and underserved small businesses. This was a monumental task that helped small businesses survive and preserved the jobs and livelihoods of millions in Nevada.
National President & CEOUSPAACC
Susan Au Allen
National President & CEO
Community Navigator Pilot Program PM Session
Dhiraj (DJ) Chhabra serves as the CEO of BuzzClan, a rapidly growing privately held company in the US, with a passion for leading and building the next big thing in technology. I specialize in helping Boards and C-suites understand transformation journeys, including Digital Transformation, and have a clear point of view on leveraging AI, ML, and other digital technologies to reimagine business models.
With over 20 years of experience building innovative IT and real estate companies, I have a strong background in Enterprise Architecture, Account Management, and Delivery Management at pioneering IT companies. I excel at identifying and investing in next-generation technologies and encouraging internal entrepreneurship to keep organizations at the forefront of innovation. My expertise includes Cloud Infrastructure Managed Services, Application Management, Professional Services, Process Re-engineering, Solutions Selling, Private/Public Cloud, IT Budgeting, Cost Benefit Analysis, IT Strategy & Transformation, New Products & Services Concept-to-launch, People and Change Management, Project/Program Management, Driving Operational Excellence, Technology Innovation, and AI/ML. With a focus on delivering innovative solutions that drive financial and operational results, I lead BuzzClan in developing and delivering end-to-end scalable IT services and business solutions that accelerate innovation and achieve business results for clients across the board. I have a strong track record of working in diversified cultures across the globe and look forward to continuing to lead BuzzClan to new heights of success.
Maria Elena Duron
Maria is a speaker for the Grow with Google partner program. She helps businesses profitably harness their personal brand, content, and referral marketing. Her wide range of clients includes hotels, restaurants, inventors, authors, and web series creators.
Maria is a guest lecturer at the University of Texas SBDC, editor-in-chief of the award winning Personal Branding Blog, and a contributing columnist for publications like Business Insider, American Business Journal, Fox Business, US News & World Report, Entrepreneur, The Huffington Post, and The Young Entrepreneurs Council. Maria was awarded the Texas Governor’s Excellence in Small Business Award and is the founder of #brandchat, a recognized online chat focused on marketing and branding. She earned her B.B.A. in marketing from Texas Tech University and graduate work at Cornell University, University of California in Davis, and University of Phoenix.
Co-Founder and Part-OwnerTalTeam
Co-Founder and Part-Owner
Co-Founder and Part-Owner at TalTeam, Inc., Sudha Mathew is an experienced, IT executive and leader in strategy execution, customer engagement and operations improvement. She draws on years of leadership and management experience to apply practical technologies and/or mix of technologies to meet changing business needs. Sudha’s initiatives in knowledge management, performance measurement and team building have propelled TalTeam’s growth by 260% as an industry leading systems integrator and technology solutions provider. Her continued commitment to workforce development and opportunity mapping has sustained a vibrant company culture. One major focus for Sudha has been to develop a diverse corporate culture centered on equitable corporate practices. She is a life-long learner and keeps up with emerging technologies, exciting new applications, and new technology products by constantly upgrading her skills.
Vice President - Regional Business Relationship BankingWells Fargo
Vice President - Regional Business Relationship Banking
Lester Romero now serves as the Business Growth Strategy Senior Manager for Wells Fargo. In his role, he is directly responsible for managing small business banking managers and bankers who support business customers with revenue between $100m - $5mm.
In his previous roles, he functioned as the Small Business Leader for NV/UT since 2012. He also led a team of seven payroll representatives and partnered with retail and business banking for the Wells Fargo Business Payroll Service in Nevada, Southern Arizona and New Mexico.
Romero has been with the bank for more than 27 years, starting as a Teller, then as a Personal Banker before becoming a Business Specialist and a Branch Manager. He has also worked as a Sales Development Consultant in Las Vegas where he was responsible for creating business partner relationships.
Romero has resided in Las Vegas and Henderson, Nevada for more than 44 year