Korey Richardson LLP
SBAC Co-Founder & President
Elliot Richardson is the Co-Founder and President of the Small Business Advocacy Council, an organization laser-focused on advocating for the small business community. The SBAC is dedicated to passing legislation and moving policy initiatives that will help small and local businesses thrive. The SBAC works with numerous partners to provide the small business community a unified and strong voice to advocate on policies that impact the economy.
Elliot is a partner at the law firm Korey Richardson, LLP. Elliot has also served as the Board Chair for Kids Above All, an organization focused on protecting, healing and educating children and families so they can build better lives. Elliot remains on the Board of Directors. Elliot also formally served on the board of Youth Conservation Corp., Youth Communications and the YMCA Alliance Board. Additionally, Elliot formerly served on the Editorial Board of the Chicago Bar Association and on the Executive Committee of the Young Lawyers Section of the CBA.
Elliot received his law degree from the University of Dayton and received the University of Dayton School of Law Pro Bono Publico Service Award. Elliot graduated from Bradley University with a degree in sociology and criminal justice, with a minor in history.
Stephen D. Ball
Stephen has been in Business Banking working with start-ups to 10,000,000 revenue companies since 1994. The goal has always been to connect the Retail Branch Channel to a dedicated Small Business team, utilizing synergies and teamwork to assist their customers and each other.
He strives to bring a genuine approach to both banking and sales management. His teams have always taken their job seriously without taking themselves too seriously. They work hard to be genuine and memorable, allowing customers to buy from them without "selling" them. Stephen's mission is to provide training, support, and encouragement to his team and Retail in a setting where no one needs to worry about hidden agendas. They work hard to get the job done. Stephen prides himself on always being available to anyone at any level and takes his follow-up and follow through seriously.
Retired President & CEO of Mark Shale
Scott Baskin retired as President and CEO of Mark Shale in 2011. Mark Shale was Chicago’s largest independent clothing retailer with stores in Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas, Kansas City, and St. Louis. Prior to his business career, Scott served as Chief Legislative Assistant to the late Congressman Abner Mikva.
In addition to his professional experience, Scott is an engaged community leader. He is a board member of Uptown United, an economic development organization serving Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood. He was an elected member of the Northside College Prep High School Local Council and chair of its finance committee, and past treasurer of the Center for Law and Social Work. He is a graduate of Vassar College and Northwestern University School of Law.
Pinpoint Precision Engineering
Michael Bempah is a millennial entrepreneur striving to be a change agent in his community. Mr. Bempah is the President of Pinpoint Precision Engineering, a civil engineering design and construction management firm. He grew up on the southside of Chicago and attended Lindblom College Prep High School. After high school, Mr. Bempah continued his education at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale where he received a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering with a minor in Math. He is a multi-state licensed Professional Engineer who is experienced in both, governmental and private sectors. During his professional career, Mr. Bempah noticed the disparities in educational and economic opportunities within his community. Pinpoint Precision Engineering became the answer. With this firm, Mr. Bempah has been able to create jobs and offer access to historically marginalized groups. Mr Bempah serves in numerous mentorship roles throughout Chicago’s most underserved communities. Additionally, he is a founding member and President of Building Strong Millennials, a not for profit organization dedicated to educating the community in business, wealth, and civic engagement. He is also the author of the financial literacy and stock trading book; Can We Be Honest About Money!
Pinpoint Precision Engineering is a quality driven engineering firm leveraging its professional experience and innovation to ensure a smooth process for advancing infrastructure projects. Our team is diverse, and has a tremendous amount of experience in transportation, construction management, project management, and utility design.
Mr Bempah has a passion for community development. He is committed to building up under-served communities by way of organizing, teaching, and creating opportunities. His goal is to utilize his professional, educational, and life experiences to ensure a brighter future for the next generation.
Hershman Cohen LLC
Leslee has been a principal at Hershman Cohen LLC since 2010. The firm specializes in helping its clients who are raising private funds or compensating service providers with equity in order to grow their businesses, start new enterprises or purchase real estate. Ms. Cohen is a specialist with respect to venture capital and private equity transactions as well as friends and family offerings.
Since 2007, Leslee has served on the leadership team of the Coalition of Women’s Initiatives in Law. She also runs venture pitch sessions through the Small Business Advisory Council. In 2017, she was named one of the Top 10 Lawyers in the State of Illinois by Super Lawyer and, in 2016, was granted an Entrepreneurial Excellence Award for Service to Entrepreneurs by the Daily Herald Business Ledger.
Prior to founding Hershman Cohen, Leslee practiced at a Wall Street corporate and securities law boutique, representing primarily publicly traded companies, then led the securities department at a mid-sized law firm in Chicago for 13 years. Leslee graduated from the University of Michigan in 1989 and from New York University School of Law in 1992.
“Businesses should focus on business.” Or at least that is the core belief of Victor Miceli. Vic has been a property manager in Illinois for both residential and commercial properties for decades. Because of the knowledge and experience with owning multiple companies, he is currently consulting for several businesses. Vic is in the process of creating an incubator office space where people starting a business can rent an office and receive one on one mentoring each week. In the past year, Vic has expanded to Tennessee in the area of vacation property rentals located in the Smoky Mountains. Vic serves on the board of directors for the Entrepreneur Family Business Council formerly known as Chicago Family Business Council, Cornell Lakes Association, the Lakeshore 2163 Homeowners Association and the Palatine Men’s Civic Club among others. He has been on the SBAC Executive Board of Directors since 2015.
Honors/Awards: Entrepreneur Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014 from the Daily Herald Business Ledger. In 2016 honored as the Small Business Advocacy Council’s Advocate of the Year.
First American Bank
Larry Minutillo is a Vice President and Mortgage Loan Officer at First American Bank in the Loop. He has over 25 years of banking experience in both personal and commercial banking services, and is passionate about ensuring that clients benefit from a rewarding and outstanding banking experience. Larry is also the former Chairman of the Elk Grove Chamber of Commerce.
Stumm Insurance LLC
After graduating from Lewis University, Danielle began her career in the insurance industry at Principal Financial Group. Her 25+ years of experience in the industry and knowledge of insurance products has been a key asset to the company.
Danielle manages the agency’s daily operations and acts in a key sales role. She currently leads a team of 12 employees dedicated to providing quality customer service and products for individual and group clients.
Danielle also dedicates her time and efforts to industry organizations, such as the National Association of Health Underwriters, and for many years, has been a Board Member of the local chapter, the DuPage Association of Health Underwriters (DAHU). Danielle has been involved in the organization of both a business expo and golf outing over the years for DAHU. She is also involved with the Small Business Advocacy Council, sitting on their Board of Directors as well as their Executive Board.
In 2018, Danielle received the honor of winning the Influential Women in Business award from the Daily Herald.
Newsweb Radio Company
As the Political Director of WCPT AM/FM, Melissa connects candidates and PACS to a Progressive platform that catapults their brand recognition. She serves on the Executive Board of the Small Business Advocacy Council and is the chair of the Membership Committee, where she connects business owners and helps them build a referral network. Melissa also serves as the Vice-Chair of the Kenneth Young Center Board of Directors.
Greene Forensic Accounting Solutions LLP
Jim is a Certified Fraud Examiner and founding member of Greene Forensic Accounting Solutions LLP, a public accounting firm with offices in the Chicago and Las Vegas areas. Jim has over 18 years of experience consulting on litigation matters and both internal and external fraud examinations for real estate, manufacturing, hospitality, gaming, construction, retail, and non-profit entities. He serves on multiple SBAC committees and is also President of the Greater Chicago Chapter of the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners.
Neli Vazquez Rowland
A Safe Haven Foundation
Neli Vazquez Rowland is the President/Co-founder of A Safe Haven Foundation. A Safe Haven is a world class, unique, vertically integrated ‘eco- system’ nonprofit that is successfully rebuilding lives from poverty and homelessness. Her goal is to inspire and influence a ‘paradigm shift’ on how our Nation addresses the issues of poverty, homelessness, drug and alcohol addiction with protocols that offer an effective, efficient delivery system by connecting services and leveraging investment resources of public and private entities that have a shared responsibility and common goal of making a measurable and positive social impact to society. A Safe Haven delivery system is designed to help people in crisis achieve sustainable self-sufficiency and to achieve the ‘double bottom line’ of saving money and more importantly saving lives long-term.
Board of Directors
Fifth Third Bank
As a strategically minded, senior banking professional, relationship manager and division manager, Karen understands corporate finance and commercial banking services and offerings. As an experienced MBA and CPA, her banking experience as a senior relationship manager provides a platform to effectively solve financial goals for business owners and managing partners of physician groups, dental groups, law firms, CPA firms, IT and other consulting firms and other professional service providers.
Karen provides customized financial solutions including working capital revolving lines of credit, acquisition term loans, equipment loans and lease and commercial mortgages and treasury management solutions. These include depository and disbursement services such as card services, lockbox, ACH and electronic payments, and fraud prevention. Her knowledge about effective operational and revenue cycle practice management strategies is a key factor that differentiates me from other bankers.
Another point of differentiation is her experience in financing and tax reporting for entities involving various and complex business and legal structures. Karen is experienced with helping practices finance growth through acquisitions and through the use of various capital markets strategies.
Steven Banke is a partner with the Parent company of Ntiva, Inc, a privately held Nationwide Managed IT Services organization, and has served as an executive in the IT market for over 25 years. Steve is a life-long resident of the Chicago area, and has been married to his wife Cheryl for over 30 years.
DeRondal Bevly is the Founder and Managing Director of RubyRose Strategies, a strategic communications boutique that specializes in creating platforms for the managing, marketing and distribution of content that allows brands to directly engage with customers, stakeholders, potential partners and new audiences.
Possessing nearly two decades of combined professional and philanthropic experience, Bevly serves as a strategic communications advisor, working with clients to develop strategic messaging and collaborative communications that drive initiatives for their engagements. A “big picture” thinker, Bevly delivers across traditional and emerging communications platforms – particularly in the areas of crisis and corporate communications, digital media, and community/grassroots outreach – to construct favorable outcomes. Tapping into broad relationships across the public and private sectors in Chicago and beyond, Bevly thrives on connecting clients to the stakeholders and organizations that help them enhance their reputations and achieve their goals.
Deeply passionate about developing and leveraging relationships within Chicago’s non-profit and philanthropic community, Bevly focuses that passion into developing inclusive solutions and connectivity as a member of the Economic Club of Chicago, a Leadership Greater Chicago Fellow (2014), an Oak Park-River Forest Community Foundation Leadership Lab Fellow (2019), while also currently serving on the board of directors for the Navy Pier Associate Board, Cara Chicago, the Publicity Club of Chicago and the Western Michigan Alumni Association.
Law Office of Marc N. Blumenthal
Recognized in Illinois Super Lawyers for 2007 and 2012-2023, and in Leading Lawyers 2022-2023, Marc concentrates his practice in franchise and trademark law, and also practices, copyright, business, cannabis, leasing and entertainment law. Marc has been practicing law and advising clients since August 1981. Marc also serves as an expert witness in franchise law. He divides his practice between litigation, transactional and disclosure work and is also active with and a board member in a number of other not-for-profit organizations. Since early 2022, Marc has also become Senior Counsel to the litigation boutique Loftus & Eisenberg, where he works on cases in the intellectual property and franchise areas.
Marc received both his undergraduate and law degrees from Tulane University. Lately, Marc has been passionate about climate change and has devoted time to advocacy and involvement with organizations that are working to turn the tide.
Noel is the Vice President of Web and Mobile Development at Rise Interactive, a Chicago-based digital marketing agency that specializes in digital media and analytics, helping marketing leaders make smarter investment decisions for their brands.
Noel began his career as an entrepreneur starting his first company in the late 1990s and has since worked across a broad range of industries. In addition to being an entrepreneur, Noel has helped legacy companies innovate to stay relevant. At Follett Higher Education Group he developed their first e-commerce platform, now a top e-commerce site along with The American Press Institute-where his charge as the Director of Digital Transformation was to advise and guide senior leadership from media companies such as The Tribune, The Washington Post and Gannett to move from print to digital.
Noel is passionate about socially responsible business and continues to advise companies across multiple sectors identifying and operationalizing opportunities in order to maintain market relevance and develop new business channels.
Harold Washington College, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program
Rashid Carter is a tenured faculty member at Harold Washington College, where he teaches economics and business. He is also Lead Faculty of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses Program in Chicago and Babson College. In this role, he has helped support the development of over 1,500 businesses from across the nation. He was recently elected to his fourth term as Treasurer of the Cook County College Teachers Union. Prior to that, he was chair of the Social Science Department at Olive-Harvey College; worked on the City Colleges’ Reinvention Initiative; contributed to WVON 1690’s “Dollars and Sense” and “Urban Business Roundtable” radio programs and served as a recurring guest and host on the weekly WYCC-TV Channel 20 production “The Professors”.
A native Chicagoan, Rashid graduated from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana where he studied business economics. He later pursued his doctoral research in economics at Washington University in St. Louis. He was also a recipient of the 2009 NISOD Award for Teaching. He currently resides in Chicago with his two beautiful sons, Kyle and Daylin.
Partner/Sales Synergist, SpeedPro - Chicago Loop
Alongside her partner Eric Lazar, Rebecca is partner of SpeedPro Chicago Loop, a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Business. SpeedPro Chicago Loop is a large format digital graphics studio that specializes in corporate décor, event signage, exhibits & trade show displays, wall, floor, window & ceiling murals, graphic wallpapers, vehicle wraps, banners, et al. Their 360’ holistic approach is more akin to a marketing solutions agency than a typical printer as they focus on how to best leverage a space for maximum ROI and greatest visual impact. Among their largest achievements, they were awarded the contract and produced all of the signage for the inaugural 2016 and 2017 ChiTown Rising New Year’s Eve event, receiving extensive national coverage and accolades for their work.
Rebecca is a two-time finisher of the Chicago Marathon, and holds a third-degree black belt in Taekwondo. Rebecca sits on the Membership Committee for the Small Business Advocacy Council (SBAC), Board of Directors for the Media Advertising Club of Chicago (MAC), Fundraising Board Friends of Galileo, and have sat on the Emerging Leaders board for the Chicagoland Chamber.
Their company is dedicated to being a great corporate citizen; they have a philanthropic program for not-for-profit clients and donate 1% of revenue to charitable organizations.
President, Benefit Management Associates
From a young boy, entrepreneurship was in his blood. Paul grew up on the south-side of Chicago in the late ’60s and '70’s it was not the same as Chicago now but it was still a tough place to grow up; nevertheless, his parents kept him surrounded by a lot of entrepreneurs who grew up in the same area as he. It showed him that your zip code does not determine your destiny, but with hard work and dedication, anything is possible. My father was a dentist who owned his own practice and my godfather was a medical doctor who also owned his own practice. Paul worked part-time in both offices and he knew he did not necessarily want to go into providing healthcare, but he knew he wanted to be an entrepreneur like them! Their medical practices were like nonother because mold and create the environment,
Paul started BMA in 1994 a very critical time for his family. His first daughter was about to start first grade at a private school and because his children are like stair-steps in age his other two daughters would follow; however, Paul knew stepping out on faith would make him a great example for my children. Of course, there were barriers in the road, but he would not change the journey it made him the business man he is today.
Who is Paul Dark and what is Benefit Management? Paul Dark is a family man, a husband, a father, a father-in-law, a grandfather, a son, and an uncle. Benefit Management Associates in a company that provides healthcare insurance to companies that will benefit family. Our employee benefits include business insurance, H.R. and payroll, wellness programs service, and other products through our partnership with various companies. My company was built with love and family in mind, and we have been serving the community for 26 years and counting. The best is yet to come for BMA.
Michael Edgar is an urban development consultant. For over 30-years, he's been the catalyst for attractive economic opportunities in the Greater Chicago Region. He brings together local businesses, municipalities, and foreign companies to assemble new businesses and facilitate financing to build and redevelop communities.
He works towards expanding the local economy through a lifecycle approach. His vision reaches beyond the design of a building into a holistic understanding of the tenants and residents. Since the early 2000s, Michael has focused on practical economic development.
As the design lead for DSC, he provides design consultation services and handles business development. He also offers development consulting to his clients as they evaluate real estate and business opportunities. He believes that the most sustainable project is the one that uses resources wisely, from both an environmental and financial standpoint.
Goldman & Ehrlich
Arthur Ehrlich, Partner in Goldman & Ehrlich, has over 30 years of legal experience in employment law representing private and government employees, and small business employers in the Chicago area in Employment Law; Discrimination; ADA, Sexual Harassment; Wrongful Termination; FMLA; Whistleblowing; Negotiating Employment and Severance Agreements.
He was admitted to practice in the State of Illinois in 1984, and is admitted to practice before U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois Trial Bar; U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit; U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit; United States Court of Federal Claims. Arthur is rated as “AV Preeminent” by Martindale-Hubbell, the highest possible rating in legal ability and ethic.
Coaching Financial Concepts
John Gotschall is President and Owner of Coaching Financial Concepts and Coaching Insurance. Known locally and on the radio as “Coach Johnny G”, John has been a leader in financial services for Small Businesses for over 20 years. From group health to business insurance, 401K’s to executive benefits, Coaching Financial helps small businesses find the best coverage for their needs. Individuals and families are served through Coaching Insurance for home, auto, pet, wedding, and umbrella insurance policies.
The SBAC has benefited from John’s leadership since its inception – John has been on the board since 2015 and involved with the SBAC since 2011. His passion to serve extends into the community where he is on the board of ChildServ and also has served on the Golf Committee for the Kenneth Young Center.
Open One Solutions, Inc.
Robert Harney is President & Founder of Open One Solutions, Inc. Robert’s vision has evolved into an enterprise grade “One Solution” to provide VoIP services for small to midsize businesses, educational & local institutions. We take you out of the telecommunications business so you can concentrate on what you do best… managing YOUR business.
Robert has collected a team of local talent who are experts in their field. Together they become the superpower that supports your vision of success. The Harney family is dedicated to seeing American business thrive & believes in supporting the local community. The family is involved with local charities as well as invests in other local business concerns. Robert is also on the board of a technology start-up. Robert has served on the Board of the SBAC since 2017 as well as one of the SBAC’s Premier Advocates.
Inland Bank & Trust
Dan is the Executive Vice President Commercial Lending at Inland Bank & Trust. He is an experienced banker who manages a commercial lending team that provides competitive commercial real estate terms and works closely with business owners and operators to provide the banking products that work best for their companies. Relationship lender to real estate investors and developers.
CSR, RDR, CRR, CMRS, CME – President of the Midwest Division, Lexitas
Rhonda graduated from MacCormac College in 1984 with a Court Reporting Associate of Applied Science Degree. In addition to passing the State test to become a Certified Shorthand Reporter, Rhonda went on to pass every certification test leading to the highest level of certification available to court reporters, the RDR, along with passing the Certified Realtime Reporter certification. After two years of working as a freelance reporter at a Chicago firm, Rhonda started her own business, Jensen Litigation Solutions. In addition to organic growth, Rhonda also acquired three court reporting companies. In September of 2016, having just celebrated 30 years in business, Rhonda sold her company to Lexitas and is now the President of the Midwest Division of Lexitas. She continues to enjoy working closely with her clients and court reporters.
Dale Carnegie Chicago
One thing that gets me most excited to come into work every morning: helping people reach THEIR next level.
I'm blessed to lead Dale Carnegie Chicago, at a company with a 100-year legacy of building human capital. We focus on the critical people skills that ALL of us need to be successful: leadership, sales, customer service, communication, and presentations. These are important for both executives and employees, professionally and personally.
I am passionate about serving both established giants and up-and-coming businesses. People are people everywhere! I also have the privilege of advocating for small businesses as a Board Member of the SBAC.
David Medrano, CEO and co-founder of Interprenet, offers his clients that rare union of superb language skills combined with solid business acumen. David’s life has revolved around languages and international business experience. He has worked as a professional court interpreter and conference interpreter. He has provided interpretation services for Fortune 500 corporations, important foreign dignitaries, and national government leaders.
David co-founded Interprenet in 2003 with partner Carlos Cantu-Lee. Their vision was to create an interpretation and translation firm that was renowned for its professional service, reliability and accuracy. In a short time, Interprenet emerged as the fastest growing language company in the Chicagoland area. Today, Interprenet has a global network of several thousand interpreters around the world and provides cutting-edge global interpretation solutions that combine cloud-based technology with world-class simultaneous and consecutive interpretation in all languages.
ICI Staffing and E&M Strategic Development
Mark is a bit of a serial entrepreneur. As President of ICI Staffing, he builds support level teams for Insurance, Financial, and Legal professionals. By having a narrow focus, long term relationships are created that facilitates real value for our clients. As founder and owner of E&M Strategic Development, he leads primarily hospitality development to underserved markets. By creating real win-win scenarios with local governments, valuable projects are created in often overlooked areas. Prior to these ventures, he has had part in the founding of 5 separate businesses, managed their operations, and executed successful exits. This has been accomplished by following traditional business strategies mixed with creativity and a common-sense approach.
Mark is originally from a farm in Nebraska, raised his family in Peoria, IL, and relocated to Chicago in 2012. He graduated from Nebraska Wesleyan University in 1988, Bradley University MBA in 2005, and Teaching Certificate from North Park University in 2012. His involvement in the SBAC began in 2016 where he is actively engaged in bringing a voice to small business. The SBAC brings a unique voice to owners who are often busy to focus on policies or regulations that impact their operations. It is an honor to be part of an organization that helps to fill that void.
Co-Founder, Team Merchant
Andrew O’Conner and co-founder, Brian Henciak, formed Team Merchant because they were both tired of the same old payment processing industry tricks and wanted to do something different. They were passionate about helping businesses grow and knew that a team dedicated to the same mission and values could do better by being honest and doing things the right way. Team Merchant was founded to empower merchants by helping them better analyze, design, and implement payment solutions.
Andrew has over 10 years of experience in the payments industry and is a member and strong supporter of the SBAC.
Founder & CEO, L.T. Consultants, LLC
Danielle is the founder and owner of L.T. Consultants, LLC, a brand management consultancy on Chicago's South Side. Danielle's consulting journey began in 2005 as a sole proprietor, when she said goodbye to punching the corporate clock and began assisting clients in Northwest Indiana, Illinois, Nevada, and Georgia. In 2021, Danielle launched L.T. Consultants, LLC, gaining her MBE/WBE/BEP certifications through the City of Chicago and the State of Illinois. Today, Danielle continues to assist her clients with breaking barriers in their industries, and she successfully launched C.H.I.C.A.G.O Outreach Initiative. C.H.I.C.A.G.O Outreach is geared towards collaboration with network partners for community outreach focusing on youth mentorship, senior advocacy, and entrepreneurship. Danielle also sits on the Executive Board for Building Strong Millennials (501c3), whose efforts focus on education, economic development, and civic engagement. Even with these commitments, Danielle still finds time to volunteer with local churches for outreach and has been a lifelong volunteer with Gift of Hope.
Needless to say, this driven entrepreneur is doing her part not only as a business owner but as a community advocate.
Minna Pomeroy is a Human Capital Strategist and Executive Coach with more than 25 years of business, human resources and public relations experience. As the leader of Leverage People, Minna has partnered with organizations of all sizes and industries to focus on practical and growth oriented people strategies for today’s fast-paced, technologically driven marketplace. She has successfully helped organizations to build their human resources and diversity, equity and inclusion strategies; to acquire, coach, train and develop leaders externally and internally, and; to identify or transform an organization’s mission, vision and values to create a work environment where employees can thrive.
Prior to owning her own firm, Minna held multiple global senior human resources roles at Citigroup and General Electric in Leadership Training and Development, Talent Acquisition, Succession Planning, and Executive Coaching and was the HR Director for an Ebay partnered start-up. Minna holds a BA in Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania and an MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.
Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr LLP
Jason Tremblay is a business attorney and litigator who advises companies in a wide range of industries on employment law and commercial matters. Jason’s breadth of experience as a litigator and problem solver enables him to be a trusted advisor and outside general counsel to his clients. His experience in employment matters includes counseling, negotiation and litigation on issues critical to the evolving workplace. Jason also provides his clients with an array of services including drafting and negotiating employment and independent contractor agreements, and counseling clients relating to employment and contract related issues. Beyond these services, Jason also draws on his experience to help business owners triage the issues they face and, when necessary, direct them to outside sources of assistance.
Account Manager, Google
Isaac graduated from the University of Chicago in 2019 with a Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy, with Honors, and History. Isaac currently works as an Account Manager at Google where he consults Fortune 500 advertising clients on their Google Ads strategy. Before Google, he served as a Policy Intern in the New York City Mayor’s Office, examining the 911 emergency system’s mental health response strategy. Since then, Isaac has donated his time to the Small Business Advocacy Council’s efforts to reduce Illinois job licensing employment barriers for ex-offenders, leveraging TIF reform to support entrepreneurs in underserved neighborhoods, and other efforts.
Ivy Walker is a serial entrepreneur, adjunct instructor, and a multi-award-winning author, director, and Executive Producer of documentary films. She is Co-Founder of Helios Digital Learning—a company that uses digital storytelling to help business professionals and students improve their ethical decision-making, Founding CEO of Purpose Workforce Solutions—a company that specializes in connecting the aspirations of disconnected youth to job opportunities, and Founder of AskCoda—a risk management platform for small businesses.
As an entrepreneur, Ivy has successfully launched boot-strapped, angel-funded and venture-backed businesses in multiple industries. She has experience running both for-profits and not-for-profit ventures. This wide range of experience makes her uniquely qualified to help entrepreneurs achieve the success they are looking for in their own businesses.
Ivy holds an MBA in accounting and finance from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and a Bachelor of Science in Community Health from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She holds an adjunct appointment at Kellogg and was awarded Kellogg’s Entrepreneur Supporter of the Year Award and the Anti-Defamation League’s Rising Star award in 2011 and 2009, respectively.
Stacy White was named the Director, Talent Acquisition at Northwestern Mutual - Chicago in August 2017. As the Director, Talent Acquisition, she is responsible for being the “Brand Ambassador" as well as for all growth and recruitment strategies of our Deerfield firm. Stacy works in a leadership capacity closely with the Managing Director to build quality relationships both externally, in the community, and internally, among office personnel. Stacy's primary emphasis is to lead & develop Northwestern Mutual's recruitment staff, promote the company’s career opportunity, partner with strategic alliances & community leaders, and develop Centers of Influence.
Ms. White graduated from Robert Morris University with a Bachelor of Science, Business Administration. She also earned a Diversity Management Certification designation of Certified Diversity Professional (CDP®), with a concentration in Inclusion and Diversity best practices and leadership development from the University of Houston. Ms. White serves on the Board of Directors for Evanston Women’s Business Center, Act-So for the NAACP, Youth Conservation Corps Board of Directors and Fuller Center for Housing-Hero Project Lake County. She is also a member of Chicago Financial Women, NSN, NAAHR, NBMBA, and the Talent Officer Awardee from the National Diversity Council.
Elisabeth Williams is an SBA 504 loan program veteran. Prior to joining SomerCor in 2020, Williams co-founded and served as Vice President of Wessex 504 Corporation (an Illinois CDC) for eight years, growing the CDC’s 504 portfolio to more than $110 million. Her background as an entrepreneur and deep understanding of the SBA 504 loan program make her an outstanding loan officer and resource.
Elisabeth received her B.A. in Environmental Design from Miami University and her M.B.A. from the University of Chicago.
Neale Williams, MYLP - ManageYourLaserPrinters.com
Neale is the founder and President of MYLP, an IT Services company that focuses on supporting the print and document production side of IT infrastructure for a wide variety of professional organizations. MYLP’s unique approach to forming relationships with its clientele provides exceptional financial and support quality benefits.
Neale’s entire career has been adventures in small business beginning with raucous experiences as a pit broker at the Chicago Board of Trade. He also has deep experience in start-up and early stage business building, which has led to a deep appreciation for the difficulties and challenges of small business. Enter the SBAC - Neale has been a member for over 10 years and has been a leading voice on the Policy Committee for most of that time. Neale is deeply passionate about small business owners coming together to organize and effect change.
Jeff Van Winkle
McDonald Hopkins LLC
Jeff is a member of McDonald Hopkins LLC, resident in its Chicago office. He represents businesses and entrepreneurs actively seeking to create or provide exceptional services or products. In today’s business and legal marketplace, he coordinates and leads attorneys and other professionals to provide the resources his clients require. Jeff directly provides general counsel services, securities law compliance counseling, legal guidance for business activities and M&A transactional legal services to clients throughout the Midwest. As a hands-on attorney, Jeff develops strong relationships with his clients and for the matters he handles.
Jeff actively represents many businesses based outside of the United States in their inbound business activities, their operation of the US subsidiary entities, and acquisition of additional facilities and businesses in the US. The pace of cross-border activity continues to grow, sometimes fueled by opportunities and, at times, by uncertainty. Jeff’s experience in multiple industries and his extensive knowledge of legal issues for midsize and small businesses is relied upon by many businesses based in Europe, the United Kingdom, and Central and South America. The team of transactional, finance, employment and IP attorneys working with Jeff for these clients provides an unmatched resource in Chicago, Michigan, and other parts of the Midwest region. Additionally, Jeff’s past professional experiences provide him contacts throughout the world to assist US based clients seeking international expansion.
Withers Strategic Solutions Consulting Group LLC
Experienced Strategic Planning Consultant with a demonstrated history of working in the management consulting industry. Strong business development professional skilled in Negotiation, Nonprofit Organizations, Budgeting, Urban Planning, and Team Building.
Join The SBAC Today
Joining the SBAC will give you the opportunity to immediately get engaged in our organization through the following offerings:
- Advocacy efforts
- Policy committees and subcommittees
- Informational webinars and town halls
- Networking events
- And many more!
Do not miss out on your opportunity to work towards improving the small business environment in your community! We look forward to working with you!
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