Speakers/Panelists

Vernita Naylor

Owner
Jabez Enterprise Group
Vernita Naylor

Vernita Naylor has been an advocate and educator for most of her life. Her 5-Star Rated book, Get the Cheese, Avoid the Traps: An Interactive Guide to Government Contracting, is a hands-on supplemental resource guide that is designed to help business owners to become a part of the diversity and inclusion conversation in partnership with Fortune 500 and government buying agencies. Her company, Jabez Enterprise Group (JEGroup) provides education and support services to business owners in the supplier diversity and government contracting marketplace. In being a Small Business Ambassador she has sat on several advisory councils, policy and commission boards due to her interest in stimulating the economy and removing barriers. Vernita has lent her voice to press releases; business journals; publications, advisory and policy firms. JEGroup has received several accolades and notoriety throughout the years which includes being selected as the Top 50 small business nationally and invited to Washington, D.C. to speak on behalf of other small businesses and speaking on Capitol Hill with Senators Reid and Heinrich. Vernita is a Certified Construction Project Manager (UC Berkeley) and Business Manager, BS (SFSU).

Shilpa Phadke

Senior Director of the Women’s Initiative
Center for American Progress
Shilpa Phadke

Shilpa Phadke is the senior director of the Women’s Initiative at the Center for American Progress. Her work focuses on a wide range of women’s issues, including work-family balance, pay equity, and women’s leadership.

Prior to joining the Center for American Progress, Phadke served in the White House as the special assistant to the president for Cabinet affairs. In that role, Phadke managed the relationship between the White House and more than 12 economic, domestic, and international agencies in order to advance the administration’s policy, communications, regulatory, and program implementation priorities. Phadke has also worked as a senior advisor at the U.S. Department of State, as deputy director for legislative affairs at the Council on Environmental Quality, and as a senior legislative policy advisor for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Prior to her work in the Obama administration, Phadke served as a policy advisor on the Obama-Biden presidential transition team and as a member of the paid media and opinion research team for then-Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign for the presidency.

Ryan Abraham

Senior Tax Counsel, Business & International
U.S. Senate Finance Committee
Ryan Abraham

Ryan joined the Senate Finance Committee in 2004 under the leadership of Senator Max Baucus. Ryan now works for Senator Ron Wyden, the Senior Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee.  Ryan has helped develop all tax legislation considered by the Finance Committee since 2004 and played a leading role on energy, bonds, corporate and pass-through tax legislation during this time.  Ryan currently focuses on international and business taxation. Ryan has a JD from American University’s Washington College of Law, graduating in 2010 from the night program, and has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Dartmouth College. 

Mila Kofman

Executive Director
DC Health Benefit Exchange Authority
Mila Kofman

Mila Kofman is the Executive Director of the DC Health Benefit Exchange Authority.  Appointed to the position by a unanimous vote of the Board of Directors, Kofman is a nationally recognized expert on private health insurance markets and has worked with states and all stakeholders to implement health insurance reforms. Her approach is informed by her hands-on experience as the former Superintendent of Insurance in Maine implementing health insurance reforms, being a former federal regulator working with states to implement HIPAA reforms of the 1990s, studying state-based reform efforts and markets, and working with employer purchasing coalitions seeking to leverage purchasing power for sustainable financing of medical care. Ms. Kofman holds a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center and a B.A. in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland (summa cum laude).

Mark Mazur

Robert C. Pozen Director
Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center
Mark Mazur

Mark Mazur is the Robert C. Pozen director of the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center. Previously, Mazur was the Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy at the U.S. Treasury. Mazur’s 25 years of public service includes stints at the Internal Revenue Service, where he was director of the Office of Research, Analysis, and Statistics; the US Department of Energy, where he was a senior advisor to Secretary Bill Richardson and Secretary Federico Pena and Acting Administrator of the U.S. Energy Information Administration; the Joint Committee on Taxation, the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, and the President’s National Economic Council. Mazur received a BA in financial administration from Michigan State University and a PhD in economics, business, and public policy from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Mark Herbert (Moderator)

California Director
Small Business Majority
Mark Herbert

Mark Herbert directs Small Business Majority’s operations throughout California. As California Director, he works with the state outreach team to build relationships with business organizations and small business owners. He also directs Small Business Majority's policy work by representing the voice of small business owners among policymakers in Sacramento.

Previously, Mark served as the organization’s Project Manager and Outreach Manager in California where he developed strong relationships with small business owners and business organizations across the state. Prior to joining the organization, he worked for state and federal lawmakers where he directed business operations and built relationships with small business owners and key stakeholders as they pertained to public policy issues. An entrepreneur himself, Mark runs a small consulting business specializing in volunteer management and organizational capacity building.

Manny Hidalgo

Director of the Office of Economic Opportunity
U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Capital Access
Manny Hidalgo

Manuel “Manny” Hidalgo is Director of the Office of Economic Opportunity in the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Capital Access. He is responsible for overseeing SBA’s Micro-Loan Program, 7(a) Community Advantage Pilot Loan Program, and PRIME Program - all of which serve primarily emerging/underserved markets in partnership with over 180 non-profit final institutions. In FY16 his office was responsible for over 4,500 microloans worth $62 million and 987 Community Advantage loans worth $123 million. Prior to SBA, Manny served for 9 years as Executive Director of the Latino Economic Development Center, a CDFI serving the Washington DC metropolitan area. In addition, he has served as COO at National Community Reinvestment Coalition and Director of Entrepreneurship at the Corporation for Entrepreneurship Development. Since 2005 he has served on the faculty of NeighborWorks America writing curricula and teaching courses on building the capacity of microenterprise development organizations. Manny has degrees from Georgetown University and Florida International University and lives with his wife and kids in Silver Spring, MD.

Lauren Stebbins

Vice President
Small Business Initiatives for Opportunity Finance Network
Lauren Stebbins

Lauren Stebbins is Vice President, Small Business Initiatives for Opportunity Finance Network, a national membership network of community development financial institutions (CDFIs) investing in underserved communities throughout the U.S. Lauren joined OFN in May 2014 and, in prior roles, managed and supported multiple programs for OFN’s Knowledge Sharing and Strategic Initiatives teams. Lauren previously worked for the Center for Public Policy Priorities and Prosperity Now conducting research and implementing programs that promote economic opportunity and financial inclusion for low- and moderate-income people. Prior to that, she spent nearly four years at The Aspen Institute managing communications and supporting seminar programs for Aspen’s Program on Philanthropy and Social Innovation. Lauren has a B.A. in political science and sociology from Brown University, and a Master of Public Affairs from The University of Texas at Austin LBJ School of Public Affairs.

LaJuanna Russell (Moderator)

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. 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. Ms. Russell was a Goldman Sachs 10k Small Business Program Scholar for the Fall 2015 cohort and is now a Virtual Business Advisor to the program, providing advisory and strategic support to a growth group.

Kevin Lucia

Research Professor and Project Director
Center on Health Insurance Reforms (CHIR) at Georgetown University’s Health Policy Institute
Kevin Lucia

Kevin Lucia is a Research Professor and Project Director at the Center on Health Insurance Reforms (CHIR) at Georgetown University’s Health Policy Institute. Mr. Lucia currently directs policy research and analysis of federal and state laws and programs related to private health insurance. He provides expertise, training and strategic advice and prepares resources to inform regulators, policymakers and other health insurance stakeholders.  He speaks regularly on status of federal health coverage reform. His research is supported by government, private foundations and various stakeholder organizations.

Prior to CHIR, Mr. Lucia led the State Compliance Division within the Office of Oversight, Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO), Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

Mr. Lucia holds his J.D. from The George Washington University Law School and an M.H.P. from Northeastern University.

Joyce Klein

Director of Microenterprise Fund for Innovation, Effectiveness, Learning and Dissemination (FIELD)
Aspen Institute
Joyce Klein

Joyce Klein is Director of FIELD at the Aspen Institute, which advances business ownership as an economic opportunity strategy. She has more than 25 years of experience studying and supporting microenterprise and entrepreneurial development programs in the United States, and has authored or co-authored numerous publications. Ms. Klein has also designed and managed grant programs aimed at supporting innovation in the practice of microenterprise development in the US.

Under Ms. Klein’s leadership FIELD has launched the Microfinance Impact Collaborative, helped to create the Small Business Borrowers’ Bill of Rights and the Responsible Business Lending Coalition, and researched the role of platforms and networks in expanding the scale and impact of the US microenterprise field. FIELD has also expanded its work on the role of business ownership and the microenterprise field in addressing the challenges of financial inclusion and the racial wealth gap.

Ms. Klein also has consulted to the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund and Prosperity Now (formerly CFED). Prior to her work with FIELD, Ms. Klein led CFED’s work in microenterprise development. She holds a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from the University of California at Berkeley and a B.A. in Economics from Boston College.

John Scott

Director of Retirement Savings
The Pew Charitable Trusts

John Scott directs the retirement savings project at the Pew Charitable Trusts.  The project conducts original research and works with key experts and policy makers to understand the barriers to retirement savings in the United States, how specific policy initiatives might increase retirement savings, and whether enhanced disclosures of fees within retirement plans and IRAs can help both employers and employees make better decisions about their retirement savings accounts.

Prior to joining Pew, Scott taught and conducted research on public policy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a particular focus on aging issues, tax policy, and the policy making process.  He continues to hold a research associate professorship in UNC’s Department of Public Policy. He also has extensive experience in retirement policy, having worked in policy advocacy on retirement and compensation issues in Washington.  Scott began his career as a tax attorney and consultant in the financial services industry with a focus on pension plan design and legal compliance issues.

Scott earned a Ph.D. in Sociology from Cornell University, an M.A. in Sociology from the University of Maryland, College Park, a law degree from the Pennsylvania State University, and a bachelors in Economics from Swarthmore College.

John Arensmeyer (Moderator)

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 public policy issues facing America’s entrepreneurs—particularly healthcare, access to capital, tax reform, retirement/asset building and numerous workforce issues.

John was the founder and CEO of ACI Interactive, an award-winning international e- commerce company. Earlier, he was the chief operating officer of a pioneering multimedia business and an attorney in New York.

In 2009 John 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 as Board Chair for 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.

Jessica Milano (Moderator)

Former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Small Business, Community Development, and Housing Policy
U.S. Department of the Treasury
Jessica Milano

Jessica Milano most recently served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Small Business, Community Development, and Housing Policy at the U.S. Department of the Treasury where she oversaw policy development on how more families, small businesses, and communities can access safe and affordable credit. In addition, she also managed three Treasury programs focused on access to capital; the Small Business Lending Fund (SBLF), the State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI), and the Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund. Prior to joining the Department of the Treasury, Ms. Milano served as Senior Advisor to the Administrator at the U.S. 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 M.A. in Applied Economics from Johns Hopkins University and received her B.S. in Government from the London School of Economics.

JD Grom

Executive Director
New Democrat Coalition
J.D. Grom

J.D. Grom serves as Executive Director of the New Democrat Coalition, a group of forward-thinking House Democrats who are committed to pro-economic growth, pro-innovation, and fiscally responsibly policies. In his role with the New Democrat Coalition, he has led the effort to create the Coalition’s American Prosperity Agenda, the first comprehensive policy agenda in the Coalition’s history.  He has led the effort to establish forward looking policy task forces on the future of work, healthcare, trade, among other topics, and expanded the Coalition’s internal programming to provide a wide array of in-depth policy and strategy sessions for Members and staff, and worked to unite the work of ‘New Democrat’ thought leaders in Washington, D.C. 

The New Democrat Coalition is a Congressional Member Organization of the House of Representatives consisting of 61 Members of the House Democratic Caucus.  Chaired by Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT), the solutions-oriented group of legislators focuses on an array of policy areas, including healthcare, trade, financial services, innovation, tax reform, cyber-security, education and workforce development.

J.D. began his career working for his hometown representative, Melissa Bean.  Later he was promoted to serve as Bean’s lead financial services aide and Legislative Director. He helped coordinate her work with the New Democrat Coalition and the Financial Services Committee during the 2008 financial crisis, as well as its work on the financial regulation overhaul law that was enacted in 2010.  From 2011-2013, J.D. served as a senior advisor at the U.S. Department of the Treasury where he helped coordinate the Department’s work on the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).

J.D. holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign where he double majored in Political Science and Economics.

Jane Campbell

Director of the Washington, D.C. office | President
National Development Council (NDC) | Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP)
Jane Campbell

Jane Campbell has spent decades in public service in a variety of roles, on the local, state and federal level. Before serving in her current positions as director of the Washington, D.C. office of the National Development Council (NDC) and president of Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP), Campbell was the first woman mayor of Cleveland, president of the National Conference of State Legislatures, and Governing Magazine named her 2000’s Public Official of the Year while she was county commissioner for Ohio’s largest county. 
 
From 2012-2014, Campbell served as the Staff Director of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, first serving Senator Mary Landrieu and continuing under Senator Maria Cantwell as staff director and then senior advisor, where she led the Committee’s work on access to capital and women’s entrepreneurship. As Staff Director, Campbell directed policy to support small businesses’ access to capital, federal contracting opportunities, business counseling, and engagement in international trade. From 2009-2013, Campbell served as Senator Mary Landrieu’s Chief of Staff, leading efforts to recover from both Hurricane Katrina and the Gulf oil spill, and serving as her key healthcare advisor.  
 
In her current role as the director of the Washington office of the National Development Council, Campbell brings the expertise of NDC’s 40 years of experience working to bring capital to underserved communities—both urban and rural—into the federal public policy debate. NDC works in more than 100 communities across America building public facilities and creating commercial redevelopment, low income housing, all through public-private partnerships and creative use of federal, state and local financing tools.
 
In 2016, Women Impacting Public Policy partnered with NDC to provide support for WIPP’s coalition activities. In her role as Director of the NDC Washington office, Campbell also serves as President of WIPP.
 
Previously, Campbell spent five years as county commissioner for Ohio’s largest county and six terms in the Ohio House of Representatives. Her public service focused on economic development, fiscal stability, child welfare, and health and human services policy. Between 1997-1998, she successfully implemented welfare reform in Cuyahoga County, Ohio’s most populous jurisdiction.

Helen Blank

Director, Child Care and Early Learning
National Women’s Law Center
Helen Blank

Helen Blank is Director of Child Care and Early Learning, working on child care and early education issues, at the National Women’s Law Center. She currently leads the federal Child Care and Early Learning Coalition. At NWLC she has authored numerous reports and articles including an annual report on state child care policies and A Center Piece of the PreK Puzzle: Providing State Prekindergarten in Child Care Centers. Previously Ms. Blank served 24 years as the director of the Child Care and Development Division at the Children's Defense Fund. While at the Children's Defense Fund, Ms. Blank spearheaded a variety of efforts for improved early learning legislation including the campaign to enact the first comprehensive federal child care legislation. She was also a leader in efforts to create an entitlement for child care for parents receiving welfare and later to expand and improve the child care provisions in the 1996 welfare law, subsequently developing guides to assist states in implementing the provisions of the laws.  While at CDF, she created and led the Emerging Leaders Program for up and coming leaders in early care and education and at the National Women’s Law Center co-directs PLAN, the Progressive Leadership and Advocacy Network for emerging leaders focusing on issues affecting low-income women and their families. Ms. Blank has a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Michigan and a Master’s Degree in Urban Planning from Hunter College of the City University of New York.

Donald Marron

Institute Fellow & Director, Economic Policy Initiatives
Urban Institute
Donald Marron

Donald Marron is an Institute fellow and director of economic policy initiatives at the Urban Institute. He conducts research on tax reform, long-run fiscal challenges, and federal budgeting; identifies opportunities for Urban to develop policy-relevant research; and helps cultivate cross-center initiatives focused on macroeconomic growth, higher education, and public finance. From 2010 to 2013, he led the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center.

Before joining Urban, Marron served in senior government positions, including as a member of the President's Council of Economic Advisers and acting director of the Congressional Budget Office. He has also taught at the Georgetown Public Policy Institute and the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business; consulted on major antitrust cases; and served as chief financial officer of a health care software start-up. He has broad experience in economic policy issues, including America's fiscal challenges, tax reform, energy and environment, and the financial crisis. He testifies frequently before Congress, appears often at conferences and in the media to discuss economic policy, and works to popularize economics through his blog and writings. He is also senior research fellow at the Climate Leadership Council. He is the editor of 30-Second Economics, a short book that introduces readers to 50 of the most important theories in economics.

Marron studied mathematics at Harvard College and received his PhD in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

David Newville

Director of Federal Policy
Prosperity Now
David Newville

David Newville is Director of Federal Policy at Prosperity Now, where he oversees Prosperity Now's federal policy development and advocacy work. He focuses on wealth inequality, financial insecurity and consumer protection issues. David was previously a Senior Policy Advisor in the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Consumer Policy. His work focused on emerging payments innovations, consumer financial protection regulations, small-dollar credit products and financial inclusion issues. Prior to that, David was a Policy Manager at the Center for Financial Services Innovation (CFSI), where he focused on financial services policies for underserved consumers in specific areas such as prepaid debit cards, nonbank financial regulation, small-dollar credit and financial access barriers. He also worked on improving savings and financial services policies for low- and moderate-income individuals, in the Asset Building Program at the New America Foundation.

David Chase (Moderator)

Vice President, National Outreach
Small Business Majority
David Chase

David Chase directs Small Business Majority's national outreach efforts. David works with our outreach team across the nation on business outreach, state advocacy and development. He serves on the California healthcare exchange’s Small Business Health Options Program Advisory Group and directs Small Business Majority's national healthcare policy work. Before joining Small Business Majority more than seven years ago, he served for more than four years 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 comprehensive healthcare reform proposal.

Antonella Pianalto

President and CEO
Association of Women's Business Centers
Antonella Pianalto

Antonella Pianalto is the President and CEO of the Association of Women's Business Centers (AWBC), a national non-profit organization founded to secure economic justice and entrepreneurial opportunities for women by supporting the Women’s Business Centers (WBC), a network with more than 150 locations. WBCs have nearly 30 years of success in providing training, counseling, mentoring, and access to capital to women entrepreneurs.  Last year, more than 145,000 clients were served.

Prior to AWBC, Pianalto was Vice President of Government Affairs for American Express, where she managed a broad portfolio of policy and advocacy issues. She partnered with the White House, Small Business Administration, and small business groups on initiatives, including the Give Me 5% and ChallengerHer government contracting programs.  Ms. Pianalto led the Small Business Saturday efforts in Washington, DC.

Pianalto served as Senior Advisor to the U.S. Ambassador to the United Kingdom, liaison to the Embassy’s employees and government agencies and managed the strategic planning and implementation of the Ambassador’s outreach efforts.

At the White House, Pianalto served as Deputy Assistant to the President for Presidential Personnel, managing the selection and hiring process of the President’s appointees.  She also served as Associate Administrator for Management and Administration for the Small Business Administration.

Anne Zimmerman

Owner
Owner of Zimmerman & Co CPAs Inc.

As the owner of Zimmerman & Co CPAs, 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. Anne’s community also named her Citizen of the Year for 2017.

Alison Feighan

Principal
The Feighan Team
Alison Feighan

Alison Feighan is the founder and principal of the Feighan Team, a mission driven government relations and advocacy firm working to amplify the voice of community development organizations and socially motivated enterprises in Washington. Her firm is committed to demystify the political and legislative process and empowering clients to be effective advocates by providing them with the tools and strategic counsel they need to impact the process and advance their cause. Feighan is recognized as a creative and tenacious lobbyist with a record of success leading legislative and issue campaigns including her work to craft and enact the New Markets Tax Credit, the New Markets Venture Capital Program, the SBA Microloan Program, the SBA’s Program for Investment in Microentrepreneurs (PRIME).  Built on a solid foundation of service, organizing and advocacy, the Feighan Team is respected as a unique lobbying firm that combines the power of what they know and who they know to advance the interests of their clients.

Before coming to Washington, Feighan lived in Boston where she worked on community reinvestment and Fair Housing issues and launched an affordable housing program for a community action agency in Quincy, Massachusetts.

Feighan holds a Master’s Degree in Urban and Environmental Policy from Tufts University and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Michigan.

Adam Rochon

Owner
Sequoia Employee Benefits & Insurance Solutions
Adam Rochon

Adam Rochon is the co-owner of Sequoia Employee Benefits & Insurance Solutions, an insurance agency in Exeter, California that specializes in implementing benefit plan models and business solutions for companies of all sizes. Mr. Rochon followed his mother, and now business partner, Belinda Roberts, into the insurance and benefits industry and today they have a collective 28 years of insurance experience. 

Sequoia Solutions’ philosophy of being in the relationship business, not the transaction business, allows the firm to stand out among their peers. Because the business is family-owned, their clients can count on the company’s longevity and know they will stay in trusted hands.

Mr. Rochon is also committed to staying abreast of best practices in the insurance field and advocating for health insurance improvements. He’s involved with the California Association of Health Underwriters, and is currently the President-Elect of the Central California Chapter. He also works closely with lawmakers in California and D.C. to help them understand and make improvements to regulations that impact the Affordable Care Act.