Her organization, TAP, helps small businesses tap into success

I am passionate about creating a more inclusive and equitable economy and fervently believe in the catalytic power of small business. Small businesses not only provide essential goods and services but also create jobs and uplift families and communities. They are the engine that drives our country and are fundamental to the American Dream. Successful small businesses help close income, gender, and racial inequality gaps. Yet, not all small business owners have access to resources and expertise that allows them to flourish.

I co-founded The Acceleration Project (TAP) to ensure that under-resourced small business owners get the support they need to survive and thrive. TAP empowers our clients by providing customized strategic, operational, marketing, and financial guidance. For too long, small business owners, particularly women and people of color, have faced barriers to their advancement. They have been left out of networks and have struggled to get access to capital. At TAP, we reverse this trend by forging trusted relationships to help small business owners navigate their ecosystems. We accelerate small business owners’ success, igniting positive change that reverberates throughout their communities and creates a ripple effect of economic empowerment and transformation. And key to our impact is our people.

I have long believed that there is an abundance of talent that can be harnessed for social good. TAP’s success affirms my conviction. We attract the best of the best: women and men from Fortune 500 companies, investment banks, and consulting firms; entrepreneurs who have built their own businesses; professionals who work full-time, part-time, or during career pivots. Each is devoted to meeting business owners where they are. They embody our deep commitment to dignity and respect, demonstrating not only technical knowledge but also cultural competence. We do not rest until our small business owners gain the confidence and skills to accelerate their growth.

And there is so much more work to be done. I am optimistic that together we will continue to solve societal problems. What is required is diversity of thought, innovation, and collaboration. In addition to serving as CEO of my nonprofit, I have worked in the private sector as a management consultant and Fortune 100 executive and in the public sphere as mayor of my town. Each of these experiences has informed the next and has given me insight that enables me to bridge differences. Over and over, I have seen that when we work together, great things happen.

Our small business owners possess the skills, creativity, and drive; it is up to us to level the playing field and open doors.