Council Member and Staff Biographics banner graphic
Sima Ladjevardian headshot

SIMA LADJEVARDIAN is a lawyer, mother of two, small business owner, and community and political activist. Following political upheaval and revolution in her country of birth, Sima’s family arrived in the United States; through her journey as an immigrant, she has seen first-hand the power and promise this country can provide. She has since worked extensively to ensure hardworking families have all the opportunities to strive and be healthy. She was one of the first Iranian American major party nominees for Congress, running for office in Texas’s second congressional district to provide affordable access to health care for all. She was named as one of Houston’s Most Influential Women, 2020-2021.

Within the last 2 years, Sima was appointed as regional director for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), serving as HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra’s representative. In this role, she was responsible for guiding and coordinating HHS policy initiatives related to state, local, and tribal governments in Region 6, covering Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas, as well as 68 federally recognized tribal nations.

Sima is a trustee of the Harris Health System and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. She has served on many boards, including the Center for Public Policy Priorities (now known as Every Texan).

Sima holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles and a Juris Doctorate from Hastings College of Law (now known as University of California College of Law, San Francisco). She is fluent in French, Farsi, and Spanish.

Jaime Gloshay headshot

JAIME GLOSHAY is a co-director and co-founder of Native Women Lead (NWL), an organization dedicated to revolutionizing systems and inspiring innovation by investing in Native women in business and leadership, where she leads initiatives in capital strategies, program design, partnership development, and data sovereignty

Jaime also serves on UpTogether’s Board of Directors and is a movement partner with Justice Funder’s Just Transition in Investment, a New Mexico Tribal Data Champions Fellow, and an emerging fund manager for the Purpose Futures Fellowship. She was recently named a Fulcrum Fellow for the Center for Community Investment. She is a facilitator for Kindle Project’s Indigenous Women’s Flow Fund and serves on the faculty for the Trauma of Money.

Jaime led Dreamspring’s (formerly Accion’s) Native Lending program and supported the development of Nusenda’s Co-op Capital relationship-based lending initiative. She led the Navajo Nation’s 2010 Census and the 2020 tribal subcommittee’s Statewide Complete Count Commission, which activated ecosystems with an $11.5 million state investment to ensure a complete count. Jaime was also a 2020 National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development 40 Under 40 honoree and a 2018 Opportunity Finance Network Fellow.

Jaime holds a Bachelor of Arts in Native American Studies and Political Science and a Master of Public Administration from the University of New Mexico. She is from the Navajo, White Mountain Apache, and Kiowa Nations, residing in Tiwa Territory.

Roberta Mcculough headshot

ROBERTA MCCULLOUGH serves as senior vice president of operations for Institute Capital, a community development financial institution (CDFI) program for the National Institute of Minority Economic Development. She leads her team in providing investment capital for small businesses, affordable housing developers, and community-based organizations. She also encourages historically Black colleges and universities’ (HBCU) collaboration through partnership development, providing training and funding to future entrepreneurs in their student bodies. McCullough has served the economic development industry in management and executive capacities for over 30 years.

Her focus has been alleviating systemic economic injustices by providing access to grant and loan capital for women- and minority-owned small businesses. McCullough currently serves as board chair for the Association of Women’s Business Centers (AWBC) and board treasurer for Partner Community Capital, a certified CDFI. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from Shaw University and is a candidate for a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Finance in 2023.

Pamela Prince-Eason headshot

PAMELA PRINCE-EASON is president and chief executive officer (CEO) of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), a role she assumed in 2011. Under her leadership, WBENC has grown into one of the country’s foremost leaders in women’s professional development and has significantly expanded its work with the Fortune 500 and dedicated initiatives for underrepresented women’s business enterprises (WBEs), including women of color and LGBTQ+ communities.

Among many accolades, she is an Enterprising Women Hall of Fame member. She has been honored with the Women’s Business Enterprise Hall of Fame Executive Leadership award, the National Association for Female Executives (NAFE) – Woman of Achievement and celebrated at the 2023 Gala of Power Women Moves Nexus Club. She’s featured in the upcoming Women Mean Business book, in which female trailblazers share how they are transforming women’s lives one voice at a time.

Leslie Lynn Smith headshot

LESLIE LYNN SMITH is a nationally recognized entrepreneurial and business development leader and the Senior Strategic Advisor for Gender Equality in Tech (GET) Cities, where she works to build a national movement that will march with energy and intent toward the creation of a tech economy that recognizes, celebrates, and elevates the gifts, talents, and contributions of women, non-binary, and trans people. GET Cities is led by SecondMuse and Break Through Tech in partnership with Pivotal Ventures, the investment and incubation company created by Melinda Gates.

Before joining GET Cities in October 2020, Leslie was the founding president and CEO of Epicenter, the nonprofit hub of the greater Memphis entrepreneurial movement. Using a systems approach, Smith led a team that drove strategy and measured impact among a network of economic NWBC 2023 ANNUAL REPORT | 78 development, academic, corporate, and government partners to increase support to new and existing tech startups, creative and community-based businesses, student entrepreneurs, and others across industries and stages of growth. The Epicenter team and its partners connected these entrepreneurs and their innovative ideas to programming, capital, customers, and talent to create a just, inclusive, and growing economy that benefits all Memphians

Leslie’s role in Memphis came after five years of successful entrepreneurial leadership as president and CEO of TechTown, Detroit’s most established business incubator and accelerator. Under her leadership, TechTown created and launched novel urban economic development programs, expanded techbased company creation, and launched robust regional entrepreneurship collaborations with great and measurable impact.

Previously, she was director of business acceleration for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. She oversaw the state’s $300 million startup investment portfolio and managed the statewide innovation economy and its network of ecosystem partners, including 15 research universities, incubators, accelerators, and the philanthropic and private sectors. Smith’s current board service includes InBIA, Center for American Entrepreneurship, and Memphis Fourth Estate, Inc., and the University of Memphis Board of Visitors.

Dr. Shakenna Wiliams headshot

DR. SHAKENNA K. WILLIAMS is the executive director of the Center of Women Entrepreneurial Leadership (CWEL) and founder of the Black Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership (BWEL) program at Babson College. She is an adjunct faculty member in Babson’s MBA Program, owns Kenna Business Solutions, and previously served as deputy academic director and lead faculty director of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program.

With her passion for propelling women entrepreneurs to new levels of success, Shakenna is the proud recipient of the Babson Entrepreneurial Thought and Action Award, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Changemaker Award, and the African American Female Professor of the Year Award. She authored The Mark and is writing her first book, Hooked: Entrepreneurial Leadership Skills Learned While Fishing with My Dad.

Shakenna received her doctorate from Capella University, where her dissertation was entitled Talent Management and Retention in Small FamilyOwned Businesses: A Multiple-Case Qualitative Study. She received her Bachelor of Science in Finance/Investments from Babson College and her MBA from Oklahoma City University. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.; The Links, Incorporated; and the Academy of Management. Shakenna cherishes being a foster mom and loves to travel, spend time with family, cook, and paint.

Samantha Abrams headshot

SAMANTHA ABRAMS is a transformational leader with more than 20 years of experience serving in private and nonprofit sector roles, leading dynamic growth teams. She’s a skilled relationship architect in strategic corporate partnerships as well as engagement board development and management. She also has an exercised level of comfort engaging with high-level domestic and international stakeholders and is known to be an agile strategist with deep knowledge and experience in co-designing and executing strategic plans with data-driven outcomes.

Samantha is the founder and CEO of Color Lens Consulting, a boutique consultancy firm that creates business connections beyond national borders through government advisement. She is known as a global ecosystem leader, equipping and advising entrepreneurs at every stage of their journey.

Having formerly served as CEO and Managing Director of Walker’s Legacy, Samantha is also the founder and CEO of her family’s company that has built Caribbean restaurants in the Maryland and DC areas and is advancing a vision to expand.

Samantha has also served on numerous boards and commissions. She is an appointee to NWBC by the Honorable Isabella Guzman, the current administrator of SBA; is on the Advisory Board of the University of Guyana Foundation; is an advisor to the Guyana Economic Development Trust; and advises several early-stage impact companies. In addition, she sits on the Board of Directors for Black Public Media and is a founding board member of the Social Justice School. Samantha holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Bowie State University.

Brandy Butler headshot

BRANDY R. BUTLER, president and CEO of ADC Management Solutions (ADC-MS; formerly Aspen of DC), has more than 20 years of educational and leadership experience in the human resources industry. An accomplished staffing professional and marketer, her vision and expertise have driven enterprise growth for the company since its inception in 2003. Brandy’s merger of creative and operational strengths has helped guide ADC-MS in a highly competitive and evolving industry. As an executive, she incorporates her experience in marketing, operations, finance, and overall quality control. Her strategic approach to business development has won several key local and federal government and commercial contracts for the company, including the U.S. Department of Transportation, the U.S. Department of Treasury, the U.S. Census Bureau, and ICF International

Brandy is an entrepreneur committed to expanding business opportunities for women and minority-owned companies and employment opportunities for diverse candidates. She is known for developing strong and meaningful relationships with clients and employees to provide the best service to fulfill client needs continuously. Brandy is driven by facilitating successful matches that satisfy customers and provide rewarding employment for associates.

She received her bachelor’s degree in Human Resources Management from Temple University. She is a graduate of the University of Virginia Darden Minority Business’ The Executive Program and received an Employment NWBC 2023 ANNUAL REPORT | 80 Law Accreditation Certification and Certified Staffing Professional from the American Staffing Association. Brandy is currently completing a master’s degree in Human Resources Management at the Catholic University of America. She is also pursuing a Project Management Professional Certification through the Project Management Institute. She recently graduated from the first cohort of the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program in Baltimore, MD, and is an active member in Leader Greater Washington and Young Presidents’ Organization.

Kathy Cochran headshot

KATHY COCHRAN founded Elevate2 Consulting, an organization dedicated to accelerating business growth and organizational success for women business owners through business management coaching and advisory services.

Before starting Elevate2, Kathy held executive leadership roles at Microsoft and chief operating officer roles for several technology companies. These roles provided experience in mergers and acquisitions, global partner development, business development, internal operations, and, most importantly, team development.

But her passion for women-led businesses returned her full circle to her rural small business roots. Kathy works with small businesses to transform how they work to create financial and organizational success. She believes the sustainable growth and success of women business owners will lead to economic parity and systemic change for the next generation of women business owners.

Kathy also teaches process leadership and project management at Minnesota State University Moorhead and is learning the art of grandparenting.

Karen Clark Cole headshot

KAREN CLARK COLE is the CEO and co-founder of Blink UX, an evidencedriven design firm.

Her primary focus is on company vision and developing strategies to get there. She has a long history of execution and implementation, combined with innovative, big picture thinking. Karen’s leadership approach is founded in Blink’s design principles, starting with research and prototyping while continuously gathering feedback to stay relevant and fluid as she guides the company.

Karen began her career studying fine arts in Vancouver, British Columbia, at the Emily Carr University of Art and Design. She holds a degree in Fine Arts from the University of Victoria and is a graduate of the Information Technology & Multimedia program at Capilano University in Vancouver.

Through her work at Blink, Karen won the 2016 Enterprising Women of the Year award and a finalist for the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2015. In 2016, Blink was listed on Forbes Magazine’s Best 25 Small Companies in America list. Karen lives in Seattle, WA, and was born and raised in Victoria, Canada. She loves to trail run, garden, backcountry ski, kitesurf, and hang out with her amazing daughter.

Selena Rodgers Dickerson headshot

SELENA RODGERS DICKERSON is the president and founder of SARCOR, LLC, an engineering design and project management firm, and Selene, LLC, a diverse business solutions company. A Birmingham native, Selena received a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Tennessee State University and her MBA in Project Management from Capella University. Through prayer, ambition, and perseverance, Selena grew SARCOR from a one-person firm to a team of engineers and management professionals. Now, through Selene, LLC, she seeks to help grow and develop other small businesses and raise awareness that minority firms are more than a minority participation goal. Selena is a graduate of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Emerging Leaders Program and Leadership Birmingham. In December 2019, she graduated from the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program at Babson College.

Additionally, she is the recipient of several awards, including the 2017 Alabama Department of Transportation Disadvantage Business Enterprise Consultant of the Year Award, the 2018 Summit Media Fusion Creator Award, the 2014 Birmingham Business Journal’s Entrepreneur Spotlight, and the 2013 Dr. A.G. Gaston Minority or Women-Owned Emerging Business of the Year Award. Selena’s also featured on the Public Broadcasting Service’s nationally televised show, Start Up, in October 2014. She serves on several local boards, the City of Birmingham’s Small Business Council, and makes time for family, mentoring, volunteering, and community service activities. Selena is an active Mount Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church member in Fairfield, AL.

Jenny Poon headshot

JENNY POON is a serial entrepreneur and founder of CO+HOOTS and HUUB, a data-driven digital platform for governments to streamline the delivery of small business support services. As the daughter of Vietnamese refugees and a self-made businessperson, she speaks, writes, and advocates daily for safer entrepreneur ecosystems for women and people of color. Before serving as CEO of HUUB, Jenny founded the first coworking space in Phoenix, AZ, which she grew to two locations, creating thousands of jobs and serving more than 500 entrepreneurs monthly. Her more than a decade of experience supporting entrepreneurs through CO+HOOTS, and her experience as a daughter of small business owners, drives her work with HUUB and equity building today.

She contributes regularly to the Kauffman Foundation, The Business Journals, and The Arizona Republic/USA Today. Jenny serves as an advisor for numerous startups, as Board Chair of CO+HOOTS Foundation (a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization), and as a mentor for several young entrepreneurs. Jenny was named Phoenix Business Journal’s 2016 Phoenix Businessperson of the Year. She was the first minority and the first woman to receive the honor.

Katica Roy headshot

KATICA ROY, a former Global 500 global executive, is an award-winning gender economist as well as a programmer, data scientist, and the CEO and founder of an award-winning software as a service (or SaaS) company, Pipeline. Various media outlets, such as CNN, MSNBC, CBS, Bloomberg, Cheddar, MarketWatch, Yahoo Finance, Wharton Business, Newsy, and NBC, have sought Katica for her sharp and unconventional take on the day’s headlines. She has interviewed President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, Senators Cory Booker and Kirsten Gillibrand, Secretary Pete Buttigieg, Canadian Pay Equity Commissioner Karen Jensen, actress Sophia Bush, writer Eve Rodsky, journalist Gretchen Carlson, and entrepreneur Dr. Maya Rockeymoore Cummings.

She has spoken on over 100 top stages worldwide, including at South by Southwest (or SXSW), CES, Web Summit, and major corporations such as BNP Paribas, JP Morgan, Procter & Gamble, Cisco, Google, and Microsoft.

Her high-octane, visionary articles have been published by the World Economic Forum, Fast Company, Fortune, Forbes, Bloomberg, NBC, Entrepreneur, The Hill, The Advocate, Harvard Business Review, and Morning Consult. In 2017, Katica was named a Luminary by the Colorado Technology Association; in 2018, a Colorado Governors’ Fellow; in 2019, one of the Top 25 Most Powerful Women in Business and awarded the Stevie Entrepreneur of the Year—Gold Award; in 2020, the Colorado Entrepreneur of the Year; and in 2022 a LinkedIn Top Influencer for gender equity. She is a Fast Company Impact Council Member, a member of Bloomberg New Economy, and an NWBC Council Member.

Pipeline uses advanced technology to make intersectional gender parity a reality in this lifetime. In addition to its core platform, Pipeline launched the first gender equity app on Salesforce’s AppExchange. Pipeline was also named one of TIME Magazine’s Best Inventions of 2019, Fast Company’s 2020 and 2023 World’s Most Innovative Companies, Fast Company’s 2021 Next Big Things in Tech, and Fast Company’s 2022 World Changing Ideas



Sandra Mayoral Pedroarias – Senior Policy Advisor

Sara Torres Inda – Policy Fellow

Adrienne Gordon – Intern

Olivia Hodge – Intern


Maria Rios

Recognition of service ribbon icon


Tene Dolphin - Executive Director headshot

Tené Dolphin – Executive Director
Tené Dolphin serves as the executive director for NWBC, providing support and leadership around issues that impact America’s women business owners. Before joining NWBC, she served in local and national positions primarily focusing on policies and programs that create opportunities for all. Tené provided strategic and operational leadership for Wells Fargo’s Small Business Growth Philanthropy. Prior to Wells Fargo, Tené served as the first director for the Office of Business Diversity and Opportunity for the City of Birmingham, AL. In that role, she established the Mayor’s Inaugural Small Business Council; developed the city’s inclusive procurement program; launched a disparity study; served on the supplier diversity council for the 2022 World Games; and created essential local and national partnerships, connecting resources to the city’s small business community.

Tené has spent most of her career in Washington, D.C. In 2017, Mayor Muriel Bowser appointed Tené to support critical local business initiatives. As the Senior Deputy Director for the Department of Small and Local Business Development, Tené oversaw the city’s Certified Business Enterprise program, the Aspire program, and the Made in D.C. program. In 2008, Tené was appointed to Senior Executive Service by President Barack Obama for the U.S. Department of Commerce, first serving as director of the Office of the Executive Secretariat and then as chief of staff for the Economic Development Administration (EDA). While at EDA, she elevated the work of historically Black colleges and universities and coordinated with the White House on departmental and agency strategic initiatives. Tené is a proud graduate of Howard University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and Leadership Greater Washington’s Class of 2012. She is an active humanitarian, volunteering for several local and national organizations. Her highest honor is being mom to her amazing son.

Jordan Chapman - Public Affairs Manager headshot

Jordan Chapman – Public Affairs Manager
Jordan Chapman serves as NWBC’s public affairs manager, leading the Council’s external engagement and internal communications. She joined the NWBC team in February 2022.

Prior to joining the team, Jordan interned in two of the three branches of government, assisting with communications in the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement and serving as a press intern with the House Judiciary Committee. In between, she volunteered on a presidential campaign by supporting the communications expansion strategy in the lead-up to the election. Both as a student and a professional, Jordan volunteered with multiple non-profits, including Appalachian Voices and her state’s chapter of the Sierra Club. As a “Double ‘Hoo,” Jordan received her Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science in 2019 from the University of Virginia before completing her Master of Public Policy the following year.

Jordan is determined to help make the voices of others heard through creative content, outreach, and clear communications. This interest is what led Jordan to NWBC. Outside the office, Jordan loves British television, French cinema, Spanish racing drivers, and her dogs, Sadie and Axel.

Ariana Satina – Program and Operations Manager headshot

Ariana Satina – Program and Operations Manager
Born and raised in Virginia and currently residing in D.C., Ariana Satina considers herself a D.C., Maryland, and Virginia (or DMV) native. Hard-working and small business-owning Filipino parents raised her and instilled in her those values and utilized those beliefs to turn their American dream into a reality.

Ariana followed her dream to learn more about the world by studying abroad. In 2018, she graduated from Franklin University Switzerland with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Media Studies and a Minor in Psychology. After graduating, Ariana hit the ground running to give back all she had received by volunteering as an outreach representative in the Visayan region of the Philippines. It was a transformative 18 months that she attributes to refining her personally and professionally. Since then, she has implemented different aspects of her education and experiences in work as a communication intern, public relations and social media consultant, and design assistant.

She currently works as the NWBC program and operations manager. Through her work, Ariana hopes to assist and advocate for female and minority small business owners.

Rachel Evans - Legislative and Policy Advisor

Rachel Evans – Legislative and Policy Advisor
Rachel Evans serves as NWBC’s legislative and policy advisor. In this role, she works to develop and advance NWBC’s policy goals through legislative efforts. Prior to joining NWBC in July 2023, Rachel acted as a legislative aide on Senator Chris Coons’ economic policy team, where she worked on a policy portfolio related to small business, housing, postal issues, and other domestic issues. Rachel has also served in many roles, including as a legislative correspondent, staff assistant, and constituent advocate for Senator Coons

Rachel has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Women & Gender Studies from the University of Delaware. Rachel looks forward to combining her professional experience working in the U.S. Senate with her educational background in women’s studies to advance NWBC’s legislative agenda.


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