2022 Advocacy Days | NAWBO

2022 Advocacy Days

registration fees

Note, there is not a fee for Presidents Onboarding Summit, however that event on June 6 is separate from Advocacy Days.

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The Westin Washington D.C. City Center

1400 M Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20005
Phone: +1 202 429 1700
Room Rate: $239.00/night + tax
Room block ends on May 13, 2022 or when room block is full.

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Get Ready to Advocate With These Two Training Sessions!

Training Session #1: Advocacy 102

Who? If you’ve met with your elected officials or have started building a relationship with their staff and are looking to expand and grow those relationships, then this session is for you.

When? May 17, 2022 @ 12:00 pm ET

What to Expect: All advocates reach a point where they are ready to build on their relationships with policy makers, whether that is to ladder up to something bigger (being called on to testify before a committee, advocating for a specific legislative outcome) or to simply have a stronger connection with staff. In this session we will focus on best practices for writing targeted, goal oriented op-eds/blogs, writing or leading on letters of support (for legislation/nominees, etc), developing advocacy oriented social media strategies, identifying the ‘local sphere of influence at the state level, etiquette for keeping in touch with Congressional staff and more.

While this session will be virtual, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be prepared to interact with your fellow advocates! This session will incorporate a role playing exercise for participants to practice sharing their business story, discuss policies and brainstorm questions in preparation for 1:1 meetings with Congressional staff during Advocacy Day. Following that exercise, we will come back together as a group to discuss the exercise.




Training Session #2: Advocacy 101

Who?  If you’re new to advocacy and are hoping to learn more about how to identify policy issues to bring to your elected officials, how to speak with your elected officials and their staff and how to begin building a relationship with them, then this session is for you.

When? May 24, 2022

What to Expect: Everyone needs a starting point. In this session we will cover items in the NAWBO Advocacy Day Policy Agenda, best practices for outreach to Congressional offices, tips for what to say and how to share your business story during your meetings, and guidance for post-meeting follow up.

While this session will be virtual, that does not mean you shouldn’t be prepared to interact with your fellow advocates! This session will incorporate a role-playing exercise for participants to practice sharing their business story, discuss policies and brainstorm questions in preparation for 1:1 meetings with Congressional staff during Advocacy Day. Following that exercise, we will come back together as a group to discuss the exercise.




June 6, 2022
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  • 8:00 AM - 7:30 PM ET


    This summit on June 6 is only for incoming presidents, 2nd year presidents, new IPPs and Chapter Administrators/Executive Directors.


    Click here for full event details and agenda. 


    Note that while masking indoors is not currently required in Washington, D.C., anyone who would feel more comfortable wearing a mask is welcome to do so as desired.

June 7, 2022
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  • 9:00 AM-10:00 AM ET


    Note that while masking indoors is not currently required in Washington, D.C., anyone who would feel more comfortable wearing a mask is welcome to do so as desired.


    Agenda subject to change.


    Breakfast at The Westin 

    Come and enjoy breakfast & coffee with NAWBO before we begin Advocacy Days activities

  • 10:00-10:45 AM ET

    Fireside chat with Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy, Economic Development Administration Michele Chang (pre-recorded) led by NAWBO National Board Member Karen Bennetts


    Michele Chang, Deputy Assistant for Policy, U.S. Economic Development Administration
    Karen Bennetts, Founder, Little Red Bird, NAWBO National Board Member


    Join us for a fireside chat with Deputy Assistant Secretary Michele Chang, who will dive into how federal agencies such as the Economic Development Agency support micro businesses and emerging entrepreneurs.

  • 10:45-11:00 AM ET

    NAWBO Advocate of the Year Award


    Speaker:  Jacqueline Hayes, Chief Marketing Strategist and Principal, Crayons & Marketers & NAWBO National Board Member


    Join us as we honor Rohini Dey, Ph.D. with the NAWBO Advocate of the Year Award

  • 11:00-11:15 AM ET

    Coffee break and informal networking!

  • 11:15-12:00 PM ET

    Fireside Chat with Natalie Cofield, Assistant Administrator, Office of Women’s Business Ownership, The U.S. Small Business Administration led by NAWBO National Board Member Thresette Briggs



    Natalie Madeira Cofield, Assistant Administrator, Office of Women's Business Ownership, The U.S. Small Business Administration
    Thresette Briggs, NAWBO National Board Member


    The Small Business Administration’s Office of Women’s Business Ownership is one of the most influential offices for women entrepreneurs and small business owners in the country, and it works closely with many of the SBA’s important resource partners to develop resources for small businesses. In this session, participants will learn about opportunities for capital access, financial literacy resources and how the Office of Women’s Business Ownership works with resource partners.

  • 12:00-1:00 PM ET

    Breaking Barriers: How Technology Helps Women-Owned Businesses Succeed

    Lunch hosted by Master Your Card for all attendees


    Speaker:  Amanda Slater, Senior Vice President, Public Policy, Head of Federal Affairs, Mastercard 

  • 1:00-2:00 PM ET

    Digital Tools for Business: How Women Entrepreneurs Can Use Digital Tools for Growth & Advocacy


    Diana Doukas, Manager, Economic Impact for US Policy Programs, Meta
    Lena Graham-Morris, Vice President, HORUS Construction Services, Inc. & Founder, The Entreprenista
    Elle Patout, Director of Advocacy and Pubic Affairs, NAWBO


    Moderator:  Margaret M. Hernandez, CEO + Founder, SocializeLA.com & Social Media Strategist, NAWBO National


    The COVID-19 pandemic and the economic challenges that followed have forced many women business owners and entrepreneurs to pivot in their businesses and has inspired many more to jump into action on important policy issues. Join NAWBO and our partners at Meta as we discuss how women business owners can use digital tools to pivot and grow their businesses, and how these tools can be useful in advocating for your business.

  • 2:00-3:00 PM ET

    Resiliency in the Nation's Capital: What Other Cities Can Learn From Washington, D.C.'s Support of Women-Owned Businesses


    Sybongile Cook, Director of Business Development and Strategy, Deputy Mayor's Office of Planning and Economic Development
    Angela Franco, President & CEO, DC Chamber of Commerce
    Mary Quillian Helms, Chair, Eastern Market Main Street and Owner, Mr. Henry's
    Ramunda Young, Co-Owner and Co-Founder, MahoganyBooks


    Moderator:  Lisa Coppola, Esq., Managing Partner, The Coppola Firm, NAWBO National Board Member


    In the Nation’s capital, Washingtonians are spending about 30% less time at local retailers and restaurants compared to pre-pandemic times, which has no doubt created a great deal of pressure on local businesses, especially those owned by women. Join NAWBO, the DC Chamber of Commerce and local D.C. based businesses as we highlight the resilience of Washington’s women owned businesses, discuss lessons learned and best practices for supporting them throughout the pandemic. 

  • 4:00 PM ET

    Buses depart The Westin to go to Capitol Hill for the group photo!

  • 4:45 PM ET

    We are excited to continue one of our most popular Advocacy Day traditions of taking a group photo together!

  • 5:00-7:00 PM ET

    Advocacy Reception - Sonoma Restaurant & Wine Bar

    223 Pennsylvania Avenue SE
    Washington DC, 20003

    Transportation back to The Westin departs at 7:00 pm ET

June 8, 2022
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  • 8:00-9:00 AM ET



    Come and enjoy breakfast & coffee with NAWBO before we begin Advocacy Days activities

  • 9:00-10:00 AM ET

    Small Business Briefing with Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer 


    Blaine Luetkemeyer, Ranking Member, House Small Business Committee
    Shivani Pampati, Policy Advisor, Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship


    As in years past, NAWBO is pleased to once again host a joint briefing with leadership of the House Committee on Small Business and the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship. This briefing will allow attendees to hear from the most influential voices on small business in Washington regarding the top priorities for their committees and how they are working on behalf of women entrepreneurs.

  • 10:00-11:00 AM ET

    Women’s Access to Entrepreneurship: Exploring Existing Barriers to Entry and Opportunities to Achieve Gender Equity in Business Ownership


    Lesa Seibert, CEO, Mightily and NAWBO National Board Member
    Corinne Hodges, CEO, Association of Women’s Business Centers (AWBC)


    Hyacinth Vassell, Senior Director, Entrepreneurship, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

    The past two years have exacerbated existing issues that female entrepreneurs face compared to their male counterparts. Women business owners continue to be impacted by capital access issues, market and supply chain barriers, childcare access, and more. With the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation’s newly released America’s New Business Plan, this panel will explore its policies and their impact on achieving economic equity, especially for women turning to entrepreneurship. This event will feature remarks from women entrepreneurship advocates and explore the pressing issues that women face in business ownership and policy solutions that will enable greater opportunity and reduce barriers to entry in the future. 

  • 11:00 AM-11:45 AM ET

    Briefing Update on NAWBO - Intuit 2022 Advocacy Survey


    Sarah Paul, Director of Global Public Policy and Regulatory Affairs, Intuit
    Jacqueline Hayes, Chief Marketing Strategist and Principal, Crayons & Marketers & NAWBO National Board Member


    Join us for a review of the results of our 2022 Advocacy Survey!

  • 12:00-1:00 PM ET

    FICO/Small Business Roundtable:  Score a Better Future For Small Businesses - Lunch to be served 


    With special guest, Congresswoman Claudia Tenney
    Karen Bennetts, Founder, Little Red Bird, NAWBO National Board Member
    Joanne Gaskin, Vice President, FICO Score for a Better Future Program
    Katie Vlietstra Wonnenberg, 
    Vice President, Government Affairs, National Association for the Self Employed (NASE)
    Marsha Barnes, Founder & CEO, The Finance Bar (moderator)


    Join representatives from FICO and the Small Business Roundtable to highlight the importance of educating women, especially small business women to understand how credit scores work and how they can be used to help them grow their businesses and access credit and capital.


  • 2:00-5:00 PM ET

    1:1 Congressional Meetings


    For those that signed up to schedule meetings with Congressional staff, depending on COVID restrictions at the Capitol, you will either meet with Congressional staff in person or take your meeting virtually from the hotel.

Marsha Barnes

Founder and CEO of The Finance Bar

Marsha is a sought after Certified Financial Social Worker, Certified Financial Therapist, Financial Educator and Personal Finance Commentator. Marsha has been recognized as a Female Tech leader by Digital Finance Institute for her ability to create innovative and accessible financial resources. She was also named as Go Banking Rates Best Money Expert in the Building Net Worth Category. Marsha currently serves as the Official Brand Ambassador for FICO. Since the inception of The Finance Bar, Marsha’s zest for financial wellness has allowed her to serve as a personal finance expert for social, educational, and beauty outlets around the world including Google, Essence, CURLBOX, MetLife, Cantu, Dell, The University of California-Los Angeles, Prudential and many more.

Michele Chang

Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy, U.S. Economic Development Administration, Department of Commerce

Ms. Michele Chang was appointed by President Biden to be the first to serve as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy at the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA). She is a seasoned executive with nearly 20 years of experience in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors. Prior to joining EDA, Ms. Chang most recently was the Executive Director of the Rework America Business Network at the Markle Foundation, where she worked with Fortune 500 companies to help American workers without four-year degrees get the skills they need to access quality jobs. Previously, Ms. Chang served in the Obama Administration as Acting Chief of Staff and Deputy Chief of Staff at the U.S. Small Business Administration , where she managed the day-to-day operations of the 3,000+ person agency. Prior to joining the Obama Administration, Ms. Chang worked at McKinsey & Company, where she helped local governments, public school systems and Fortune 500 companies alike tackle some of their most challenging and urgent issues. She has also held roles at PricewaterhouseCoopers and Hope Street Group, a national nonprofit where she led their national workforce development programs. Ms. Chang earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, in Mathematics/Applied Sciences and her MBA from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. The daughter of Taiwanese immigrants, she was born and raised in San Jose, California, and currently lives in Maryland with her husband and three children.

Natalie Madeira Cofield

Assistant Administrator, Office of Women's Business Ownership

Ms. Natalie Madeira Cofield has been appointed to serve as the Assistant Administrator for the Office of Women's Business Ownership, effective Monday, March 1, 2021. In this role, Ms. Cofield serves as a senior executive providing executive oversight, management, leadership, and championship of female entrepreneurship. As an assistant administrator, Cofield will oversee the largest expansion of the Women's Business Center (WBC) network in the history of the Small Business Administration across its nearly 140 center footprint and more than $70 million in federal grant-making to support the growth of women-led firms. Cofield is a seasoned entrepreneur and executive with over 15 years of experience in securing diverse capital, building strategic partnerships, and leading state and local economic development programs to successfully incubate and scale small business development and expansion initiatives in communities throughout the United States. Cofield brings extensive experience leading business and trade associations and working with corporations, and philanthropic organizations to develop programs to support entrepreneurship within women-led, diverse and urban communities and is responsible for securing over $22 million in capital to invest in entrepreneurial ventures and small business programs and initiatives. Most recently she served as Founder & CEO of Walker's Legacy and the Walker's Legacy Foundation providing entrepreneurship programming to support thousands of multicultural women entrepreneurs. Prior to this role, Cofield held various leadership positions in cities across the nation including Los Angeles, New York and Austin, where she served as the CEO of the Greater Austin Black Chamber of Commerce. She has been named by Entrepreneur Magazine as one of the 100 Most Powerful Women in Business and was selected among 137 cover-story business leaders and entrepreneurs from across the nation for her response to COVID-19 in the magazine’s July/August 2020 edition cover. The Root named her one of the 100 Most Influential African Americans in the country and she has also been named among the list of Women Who Mean Business and one of the 100 Most Powerful Washingtonians by the Washington Business Journal. She is a graduate of Howard University where she received her BBA in Information Systems as a Gates Millennium Scholar and the Baruch School of Public Affairs where she was a National Urban Fellow. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Sybongile Cook

Director of Business Development and Strategy in the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning & Economic Development (DMPED)

Sybongile Cook is the Director of Business Development and Strategy in the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning & Economic Development (DMPED). Since 2009, Sybongile had held multiple roles within the Executive Office of the Mayor of the District of Columbia. Her leadership as a Program Director with the DC Department of Insurance, Banking, and Securities (DISB) expanded the District’s Bank on DC Program. Through her service as a member of the Mayor’s Financial Literacy Council, Sybongile continues to support financial inclusion efforts through creative, innovative, and sustainable programs that promotes the financial health and well-being of District residents.   For several years, Sybongile served as the Director of Great Streets and Retail at DMPED. Her work supported the catalytic development of commercial corridors and neighborhoods through the investment of $30 million of grants to small businesses, real estate development projects, and initiative to bring local grocers to food insecure communities. Prior to her returning to DMPED in her current role, Sybongile launched the Office of Talent & Client Services with the Department of Employment Services and served as the Associate Director.

Diana Doukas

Manager, Economic Impact for US Policy Programs, Meta

Over the last 15 years, Diana has led teams, initiatives, and campaigns in the public and private sectors. She currently leads Economic Impact for US Policy Programs at Meta. In this role Diana sits at the intersection of Meta's policy priorities and how Meta and its family of apps can empower small businesses to create, build, and grow their business. Diana previously served as the Senior Vice President of Social Responsibility and Government Affairs for the Libra Group, where she managed Libra’s nine philanthropic platforms, which address critical issues including the refugee crisis, educational opportunities for the underserved, and maternal mental health. Prior to Libra, Diana served as Director of the White House Business Council for President Obama where she worked closely with business leaders from Fortune 500 companies as well as small and medium enterprises to identify opportunities for collaboration on the Administration’s policy priorities, including international trade, pay equity, and workforce development. Diana also served as the White House Liaison at the U.S. Small Business Administration. Diana began her career in Democratic politics working on several campaigns including President Obama’s re-election in 2012 and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Diana holds a BA in Political Science from Villanova University and a certificate from the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Social Impact Strategy Executive Program.

Angela Franco

President & CEO, DC Chamber of Commerce

Angela Franco is the President & CEO of the DC Chamber of Commerce. Her commitment to support and advocate for Chamber members demonstrates passion and vision to grow the organization. Franco joined the DC Chamber of Commerce during civic unrest and a global pandemic and continues to move the organization forward. By working with its executive team and board of directors, Franco creates programs and services that position the Chamber as a valuable resource and leading advocate for businesses throughout DC. An experienced business leader, Franco has strengthened and revitalized organizations, including the DC Health Benefit Exchange Authority and the Greater Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.  Before relocating to the US, Franco held management positions in Bogotá, Colombia. Franco has received many prestigious honors. Most recently, she was recognized with the 2021 Washington Business Journal’s Women Who Mean Business Award. In addition, she is a Board Member at Large for the United Way of the National Capital Region and the Advisory Board of the Pan American Development Foundation, Board Member at Boys Scouts of America, and an appointee to the DC Workforce Investment Council (by the DC Mayor). Franco is a graduate of Leadership Montgomery and Leadership Greater Washington, She holds a Master of Science degree in Finance and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration. She is also a Certified Life Coach and a John Maxwell certified trainer, coach and speaker.

Joanne Gaskin

Vice President of Scores and Analytics and Founder of Score a Better Future, FICO

Joanne Gaskin is responsible for the FICO Scores Mortgage and Capital Markets practice which encompasses setting the strategic direction of FICO’s analytic solutions and partnerships serving mortgage and capital market participants.  In her role, Ms. Gaskin works globally in partnership with financial institutions, regulatory agencies and industry stakeholders with a focus on making better credit decisions to drive growth, profitability and customer satisfaction. She is driven by the positive impact that FICO makes on the lives of consumers by working collaboratively with the financial services industry. With more than 25 years in financial services, Joanne has led analytic and product development efforts to address some of the most critical topics impacting financial services which has led to several patents being awarded for new analytic methodologies. Joanne is frequently quoted in the WSJ and other financial press on credit related topics and launched the FICO Score A Better Future program in 2018.

Lena Graham-Morris

Vice President, HORUS Construction Services, Inc. & Founder, The Entreprenista

Lena, The Entreprenista, is chief strategy officer, principal and shareholder of HORUS Construction Services, Inc. and currently in a succession plan to take ownership of her family’s third-generation construction business. The company was established by her grandfather, grandmother, great uncle, and father. Today, she is working side by side with her mentor and partner, who is also her uncle. Lena also has over 15 years of not-for-profit experience, including key positions with PBS/NPR, Metro Orlando Urban League, and the African American Chamber of Commerce of Central Florida. She recently launched HORUS Academy with her partner and a team of strategic alliances. The 501©3 program offers mentor protégé assistance to small businesses. Lena previously served as president of NAWBO Orlando and was the first woman of color to hold such a leadership role. 

Corinne Hodges

CEO, Association of Women's Business Centers

  Hodges joined the Association of Women's Business Centers as CEO in January 2019 and is charged with bringing about enhanced sustainability and increased capacity to the association and its members.  When AWBC and the national network of Women's Business Centers were confronted with effects of a global pandemic in early 2020, Hodges and the advocacy team sprung into action. While Women's Business Centers responded tirelessly to small business concerns in their communities, Hodges and the team championed their efforts to secure resources. Thankfully, members of Congress foresaw the important role that Women's Business Centers would play in an economic disaster and appropriated record-level  emergency funding (CARES Act) to be administered by the United States Small Business Administration (SBA). In addition to $150,000 awarded annually to each Women's Business Center, centers could access up to $420,000 of CARES Act funds giving them access to $570,000 in a single fiscal year. In addition to their own annual fundraising efforts, this unprecedented combination of funding is the highest level of funding than at any other point in history. Women's Business Centers leveraged this infusion of funds into tremendous impact. Hodges and the full AWBC team will remain steadfast in their commitment to the growth and strength of the Women's Business Center network. Her immediate priority is the modernization and re-authorization of the Women's Business Center program while building capacity throughout the growing network of 140 Women's Business Centers. She was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, attended high school there and studied abroad in Spain where she received a dual Spain-U.S. high school diploma. Having graduated with honors, Hodges earned her BA International Studies from the University of Evansville in Indiana. She attended graduate school in Washington, DC at The George Washington University and has never stopped learning. She enjoys live rides on her Peloton, long runs on the C&O Canal Tow Path and sunny afternoons on her stand-up paddle board.

Ramunda Lark Young

Co-Owner and Co-Founder, MahoganyBooks

Ramunda Lark Young A native of Tulsa, Oklahoma, entrepreneurship and community is a part of Ramunda Lark Young’s DNA. Inspired by her family’s work ethic and the historic Black Wall Street in her hometown, Ramunda is a dedicated entrepreneur, passionate speaker, and committed community leader. Ramunda is owner of MahoganyBooks, a nationally recognized and award-winning, independent bookstore co-founded with her husband Derrick. The bookstore is named after their daughter, Mahogany. MahoganyBooks is the premier destination for books written for, by and about people of African descent with physical locations in the historic Anacostia community of D.C., and National Harbor in Prince George’s County, Maryland. At the helm of strategic partnerships, Ramunda is instrumental in building the MahoganyBooks brand and building relationships with local and national authors, celebrity writers, and community leaders. Over the years, MahoganyBooks has featured President Barack Obama, U.S. Representative John Lewis, April Ryan, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Jason Reynolds, Misty Copeland, Gabrielle Union, and D.C.'s Mayor for Life Marion Barry among others. Ramunda is a sought after speaker and panelist who focuses on the crucial importance of Black books and literacy in the community. Through the Ramunda Young Group, LLC, she teaches women to build successful business relationships that increase sales and self-confidence. Her popular masterclasses equip women to sit comfortably at any table. Active in her community, Ramunda serves as Vice Chair of the Prince William County Human Rights Commission and is a gubernatorial appointee to the Council on Women in Virginia. Ramunda also organizes an annual “Books for the Block” summer reading campaign. To date, close to 1,000 books have been donated to youth.

Representative Blaine Luetkemeyer

Ranking Member of the U.S. House Small Business Committee

As the Representative of the 3rd Congressional District of Missouri, Blaine is committed to representing the interests of hard-working people by being a strong voice for them in Congress. Representing the 13 counties that make up the 3rd Congressional District of Missouri, Blaine is a native of St. Elizabeth, MO where his family has lived for four generations. Along with his strong agriculture background, Blaine is a small businessman, having been in the banking and insurance industry for over 30 years. He also served as a bank regulator for the state of Missouri earlier in his career. From 1999 to 2005, Blaine was elected to the Missouri State House of Representatives. During his time in the Legislature, he served as Chairman of the Financial Services Committee and was elected by his colleagues to be the House Republican Caucus Chairman. After leaving office, he was appointed by Gov. Matt Blunt to serve as the Director of the Missouri Division of Tourism. Blaine has represented the 3rd Congressional District of Missouri in the United States House of Representatives since 2009. In the 117th Congress, he serves on the House Financial Services Committee, as Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and as the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Small Business. In the 116th Congress, he served on the House Financial Services Committee, as Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection and Financial Institutions and on the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis. In the 115th Congress, Blaine served on the House Financial Services Committee as Chairman of Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Subcommittee and as Vice Chairman of the House Small Business Committee. In the 113th Congress, Blaine was ranked Missouri's most effective lawmaker. The Legislative Effectiveness Project, run by professors at the University of Virginia and Vanderbilt University, measures how successful a given representative is at getting things done. The average score for members of Congress was 1.0. Blaine received a 2.344. Blaine is a member of the Knights of Columbus, Eldon Chamber of Commerce, Missouri Farm Bureau, National Rifle Association and a lifelong member of St. Lawrence Catholic Church. He is a graduate of Lincoln University in Jefferson City, MO, where he earned a degree with distinction in political science and a minor in business administration. Blaine and his wife, Jackie, have three children and six grandchildren.

Elle Patout

Director of Advocacy and Public Relations, NAWBO

Elle leverages on air, on the record and on the Hill experience to help clients in government and the private sector more effectively connect with audiences, influence legislation, change perspectives and create quantifiable results. She served as a Press Secretary in the U.S. Senate, Communications Director in the U.S. House of Representatives and Congressional and Public Relations Manager for the Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy. Prior to her career in D.C., Elle spent time working as a news anchor and reporter for an ABC affiliate in Alabama.

Mary Quillian Helms

Chair, Eastern Market Main Street and Owner, Mr. Henry's

Mary Quillian Helms is the Owner of Mr. Henry’s and Crazy Aunt Helen’s and President of Eastern Market Main Street. Mary grew up sweeping, stuffing mailers and counting banks for her family’s various small businesses on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.  Since 1971, her family has owned and operated Mr. Henry’s, a jazz pub famous for starting Roberta Flack’s career.  Mr. Henry’s was forced to close for just one day during the pandemic. The jury is still out on whether Mary was insane or clairvoyant when she decided to open a second restaurant in the middle of the pandemic.  Crazy Aunt Helen’s started serving patrons in the summer of 2021.  She is active in many of the business organizations in her neighborhood, sits on the board of the Capitol Hill BID and is a founding board member and the current president of the Eastern Market Main Street.  She and her husband have two kids and reside on Capitol Hill.

Ms. Shivani Pampati

Policy Advisor, Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee

Shivani Pampati is a Policy Advisor on the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee (Majority staff), serving under Chairman Ben Cardin of Maryland. She covers the small business diversity, equity, and inclusion portfolio for the Committee and works on the Senator's Finance Committee portfolio, which includes trade, tax, retirement, and other issues.  In this role, she designs hearings within her porfolio for the Small Business Committee, organizes events for the Senator to convene on topics ranging from Infrastructure to technology and small businesses, and she staffs the Senator for various meetings, Finance Committee hearings, and events. Prior to this role, Shivani was a Legislative Correspondent for Senator Chris Coons of Delaware where she covered minority-owned small business issues, trade, innovation, technology, and banking issues.  She began her career in Congress by working as the Senior Staff Assistant for Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi in 2019.  Before coming to D.C., Shivani was the Policy and Research Director for 2018 U.S. House Candidate Amy McGrath, who was running in her home state of Kentucky.  Shivani graduated from Stanford University in 2018 with a B.A. in Public Policy.

Amanda Slater

Senior Vice President, Public Policy, Head of Federal Affairs, Mastercard

Amanda joined Mastercard at Senior Vice President, Public Policy, Head of Federal Affairs in March 2022. In this role, Amanda represents Mastercard before the US government, partnering with U.S. policymakers to shape an inclusive, digital economy that benefits everyone, everywhere.   Slater joined Mastercard from Rich Feuer Anderson, where she served as a Principal. Prior to RFA, she was Senior Director of Government Relations at Visa, leading Democratic strategy and advocacy. Slater has held senior roles in government, which include overseeing the financial services, payments, and trade portfolios in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate.  Previously, she worked for the National Association of Federal Credit Unions, advocating for the priorities of the credit union community at the federal level.

U.S. Representative Claudia Tenney

Member of the House Small Business Committee

Claudia Tenney was first elected to serve as a member of the United States House of Representatives on November 8, 2016, after winning one of the most expensive races in the nation. As a freshman member of the 115th Congress, she served on the House Financial Services Committee. Claudia was elected to the House of Representatives for a second time in November 2020, in what was yet again among the most expensive and competitive congressional races in the country. Prior to her election in November 2016, Claudia served as a member of the New York State Assembly. She was first elected to the Assembly on November 2, 2010. Claudia is an accomplished attorney and longtime small business owner. Claudia was the co-owner and legal counsel to Mid-York Press, Inc., a commercial printing and manufacturing firm started by her grandfather in 1946. Mid-York Press currently employs nearly 70 people in the Chenango County community of Sherburne. Claudia also maintained a private law practice in Clinton, New York. Claudia graduated from Colgate University and the Taft College of Law at the University of Cincinnati. She is admitted to the bar in New York, Connecticut and Florida. She also is admitted to all federal courts including the United States Supreme Court. Prior to opening her private practice, Claudia was a partner in the Utica-area law firm of Groben, Gilroy, Oster and Saunders. In 1997, Claudia established Tenney Media Group and served as its publisher and corporate counsel. Tenney Media Group, also based in Clinton, published and printed free community newspapers founded by Claudia’s parents and grandparents — the Mid-York Weekly and the Pennysaver. These publications covered three Central New York counties with eight separate weekly editions and had a circulation exceeding 100,000 households. This division was sold to Gannett in 2004. Apart from the influence of Claudia’s family and her legal training, Claudia’s approach to public service has been shaped by experiences beyond politics. Claudia was the only American employed by the Consulate General of Yugoslavia, which led to her strong relationship with the large Bosnian refugee population in the Utica area. She also published and produced the first Bosnian newspaper in Utica. Claudia remains an active member of her community, serving on numerous boards and volunteer organizations throughout the district. Claudia is the daughter of the late Honorable John R. Tenney, who served as a Justice of the Supreme Court of New York in the Fifth Judicial District from 1969 through 2003, and the mother of U.S. Naval Academy graduate Trey Cleary, who serves as a 1st Lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps.

Sarah Timoney Paul

Director of Global Policy & Regulatory Affairs, Intuit

A seasoned veteran of Capitol Hill, Sarah works closely with the business teams to ensure our policy priorities align closely with their business strategy.  Prior to joining Intuit, Sarah was at Uber Technologies where she served as a Senior Manager of Government Affairs developing and executing an advocacy strategy for the company’s tax and appropriations issues.  Before that Sarah spent close to 15 years in the United States Senate working for two Senators that were senior members of the Senate Committee on Finance and the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs where she served in a variety of roles including Chief of Staff, Deputy Chief of Staff and Legislative Director. A native of Dublin, Ireland, Sarah holds a M.A. in International Commerce and Diplomacy from the Patterson School of Diplomacy at the University of Kentucky and a BA in Political Science and French.

Hyacinth Vassell

Senior Director, Entrepreneurship, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation

Hyacinth Vassell is a senior director in Entrepreneurship for the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, where she is responsible for implementing the Entrepreneurship department’s strategic plan while building strong relationships and alignment and establishing accountabilities for senior program officers and directors across all entrepreneurship functions. Prior to joining the Kauffman Foundation, Vassell was vice president of innovations engineering with the Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO), where she oversaw and developed strategies across the department’s programmatic, research, and advocacy initiatives to transform the small business ecosystem by developing tech-enabled solutions to aid BIPOC, underserved, and underrepresented small businesses with access to capital and building sustainable capacity. Earlier, Vassell was director of inner-city capital connections with Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC), where she oversaw all aspects of the national program, including growth strategy, curriculum, program impact, evaluation, and development of products for privately held small businesses. Vassell has a Bachelor of Science in psychology from the University of Massachusetts.