​Show Me The Money: Securing a Bank Loan in 2016 

Karen Smaw, Director, Business Diversity, Fairfax County Economic Development Authority

Karen Smaw is the Director of Business Diversity for the Fairfax County Economic Development Authority, where she is responsible for the development and implementation of programs and services that facilitate the attraction, retention, and growth of minority, veteran and women-owned business in Fairfax County.  She created the FCEDA’s popular Entrepreneurship 101: Starting a Business in Fairfax County workshop, Exporting 101 workshop and Procurement Academy workshop series.  She serves on the boards of several non-profit organizations, including the Northern Virginia Workforce Investment Board and is the recipient of several awards recognizing her contributions in the field of economic development.

Michael Marlett, Vice President, TD Bank

Michael P. Marlett is a Vice President in Small Business at TD Bank.  He started his banking career in Seattle in 1983 with Rainier National Bank (now Bank of America).  During his 33-year banking career he has been a mortgage lender, a real estate and credit analyst, a special assets officer, state credit officer, construction and development lender, commercial lender and a business banker.  He is a graduate of the University of Oregon (1983) with and MBA from the University of Colorado (1988).  He lives with his wife and daughter in Leesburg, VA.

Ronald Hobson, Senior Vice President-Government Contract Lending, Main Street Bank

Ronald Hobson is a Senior Vice President of MainStreet Bank’s Government Contracts Lending Division where he specializes in lending to government contractors.  Prior to joining MainStreet Bank, Ron served as the Associate Deputy Administrator for Government Contracting and Minority Enterprise Development at the U.S. Small Business Administration.  He also served as the Associate Director of the Department of Defense’s Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization which oversaw small business initiatives at the Pentagon.  He graduated cum laude from Howard University in 1984 with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Finance and served in the US Army at the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence at the Pentagon.

Sergio Rodriguera Junior, Chief Strategy Officer, The Credit Junction

Sergio oversees the strategic initiatives of the company. Prior to joining The Credit Junction, he was a Professional Staff Member on the Committee on Financial Services in the U.S. House of Representatives, Office of Majority Leader Eric Cantor, and a Special Advisor at the Department of Treasury.  He holds a Top Secret clearance in the Navy Reserves and is a veteran of the Afghanistan war.  Sergio graduated from the University of California at Santa Barbara and Naval War College.

Tristan Wright, Team Leader/Vice President, Business and Professional Banking, M&T Bank

Tristan Wright is a senior lender, relationship manager and team leader with M&T Bank.  His area of concentration is in real estate, government contractor and small business lending.  He started a community bank in Colorado which ultimately grew to be a $25 billion business.  He hails from Arlington, VA and currently resides in Old Town Alexandria, VA.

Melissa Fischer, Vice President, SBA Lending, Eagle Bank

Melissa H. Fischer began her career in banking at Maryland National Bank and then transferred to American Security and Trust in Washington DC after their merger.  She began to specialize in SBA lending, eventually becoming the SBA Officer for Maryland, DC, and Virginia with Bank of America.  She then worked at the Metro Washington District Office of the SBA for several years before becoming an SBA Specialists at EagleBank, a community business bank in Bethesda, Maryland.  Melissa received her B.S. in Marketing from Penn State and her M.S. in Business Writing from Towson State.  

Creative Financing Options: Explore the World of Micro Lending

Rod Lodges, President, One Degree Capital

Rod Loges knows the challenges of owning a small business and finding reasonable lending options first hand.  Having successfully started and sold two companies prior to founding One Degree Capital, Rod is dedicated to helping other business owners as THE community business lender for small businesses. Established in 2010, One Degree Capital utilizes funds from private investors to help business owners achieve success.  Rod is passionate about traveling the world to meet business owners of all kinds, learning and sharing their stories to help other business owners thrive.

Harold Pettigrew, Executive Director, Washington Area Community Investment Fund

Harold has over 15 years of experience in entrepreneurship and small business development, venture capital investing, transportation and transit, workforce development and public sector management. Prior to joining Wacif, Harold was the Director of Entrepreneurship for the Corporation for Enterprise Development.  He has served in Washington, D.C.’s city government for nearly 10 years; serving as the Director of the Department of Small and Local Business Development, and as the Administrator for the Business and Professional Licensing Administration.  Harold has a master’s degree in Urban Planning from New York University, and a B.A. in Political Science from North Carolina State University.

Oswaldo Acosta, Director of Small Business Services, Latino Economic Development Center

Oswaldo Acosta is the Director of Small Business Services at the Latino Economic Development Center.  As an entrepreneur, he launched and expanded a food manufacturing company with market reach in Virginia, Maryland, District of Columbia, Pennsylvania, and New York City.  After his company’s acquisition, Oswaldo joined Self-Help Venture Fund, a non-profit Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) where he was part of a commercial lending group.  He holds a B.A. in Economics from Monterrey Tec, an M.A. in Political Economy from Essex University and an M.Sc. in Economic Regulation the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Kevin Kelly, Managing Director, ECDC Enterprise Development Group

As the Managing Director at ECDC Enterprise Development Group, Kevin Kelly is in charge of day-to-day operations of local microlenders.    Prior to joining ECDC Enterprise Development Group, Kevin was at the Association for Enterprise Opportunity, the national association for microenterprise lenders.

The World is Your Oyster: How to Finance Your Business Overseas

Aaron Miller, International Trade Manager, Virginia SBDC George Mason University

Aaron Miller is the international trade manager for the Virginia SBDC at George Mason University assisting Virginia companies to expand globally.  He was appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce to serve on the Virginia - Washington DC District Export Council (DEC).  He has served as the primary international trade analyst for the Director of Operations at the U.S. International Trade Commission from 2007-2010.  Aaron speaks Mandarin and taught American Culture and Literature at Changzhi Teacher’s College in Shanxi, China. He holds an M.A. in International Commerce and Policy from George Mason University, and a B.A. in Anthropology from Miami University. 

Xiomara Creque-Bromberg, Export Finance Manager, Export-Import Bank of the United States

Xiomara Creque-Bromberg is the Export Finance Manager in the Office of Minority and Women Owned Businesses of Ex-Im Bank's Small Business Group. Before assuming her current post, Xiomara was a regional Director for the Americas/Eastern Europe in Ex-Im Bank's Global Business Development Division.  Before joining Ex-Bank, Xiomara worked with FCIA and Bank of Boston international in New York.   Xiomara has been in numerous TV shows & newspapers, appears on Radio overseas In the United States on CNN "Dinero", Global Trade Review Washingtonian magazines and other media outlets.  She holds a degree in International Marketing from the Bernard Baruch Collegue (CUNY). 

Federico Manno, Vice President, 
Fulton Financial Corporation

Federico Manno is currently a Vice President – International Banking Group and employed by Fulton Financial Corp., a large regional bank with sophisticated international banking capabilities.  He employs SBA and Ex-Im Bank Export Working Capital Guarantees and export credit insurance to mitigate commercial and political foreign receivables risk for commercial companies.  Prior to joining Fulton bank, he served as a Trade Finance Vice President at M&T Bank, structuring trade finance products for commercial customers and local correspondent banks.  Federico received a B.A. in Political Science and an M.A. in International Affairs & Economics from George Washington University.

Bill Houck, Regional Manager, U.S. Small Business Administration 

Bill Houck has 27 years of international trade finance, trade credit insurance and international corporate credit risk management experience.  He’s held management positions with the Export Import Bank of the United States and private sector concerns specializing in asset based lending, corporate credit card risk management and global capital market originations.  Bill is currently SBA’s Office of International Trade Regional Manager for the Mid-Atlantic region.  He is based out of the Northern Virginia Export Assistance Center in Arlington, VA.

Jean-Robert Baguidy, Capital Access Team Lead, Office of Business Development, U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Minority Business Development Agency

Jean-Robert Baguidy has over 25 years twenty years of experience in the areas of Commercial Banking, International Trade Finance and Venture Capital. Prior to joining MBDA, Jean-Robert worked at the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Investments. He also worked in the commercial banking sector working at Navy Federal Credit Union, Industrial Bank, NA, and National Rural Utilities Cooperative Finance Corporation.  From 1992 – 2002, Mr. Baguidy worked at the Export-Import Bank of the United States in the U.S. Small Business Credit, Structured Export Finance, and Export Credit Insurance divisions.  He has an undergraduate degree in Finance from Howard University and a Master’s degree in International Finance and Banking from George Washington University. 

John Strayhorn, President, Global Insurance Services, LLC.

John Strayhorn is the President and founder of Global Insurance Services, LLC,an export/domestic credit insurance brokerage company located in Ellicott City, Maryland.  John has over 26 years of experience in international banking, trade finance, export and domestic credit insurance.  He worked as an international banker at The First National Bank of Maryland, BB&T Bank, and Royal Bank of Canada Centura.  John studied Chinese Language and history at the Beijing Foreign Language Teachers College in Beijing, China and has a B.A. in History and a Certificate in East Asian studies from the University of Maryland.

It Takes a Village: How to Effectively Use Crowd Funding for Your Business

Valerie Roseborough, Founder and Creative Director, The Tailored Nest, LLC.

Valerie Roseborough started her career in the textile industry at May Merchandising Services including stints at Federated Merchandising Services and Fishman & Tobin, and ended at Russell Athletic Corporation.  Her ascent in the home furnishings industry includes positions at Legacy Linens and Marimekko.  She has traveled extensively across Southeast Asia and Europe for the past 25 years sourcing factories and procuring textiles.  Using her expertise, she started her own company brand of home textiles selling wholesale to retailers and interior design clients.   She has a degree from The Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. 

Dale Fickett, Executive Director. RVA Works, KIVA Partner

Dale Fickett serves as Executive Director of RVA Works, a public-nonprofit partnership.  RVA Works drives job creation and diverse economic growth through entrepreneurship, including outreach to under-served communities, bridging connections across the ecosystem, and providing incubation space.  Dale also serves on the boards of the Virginia Business Incubation Association, the Governor’s Social Enterprise & Impact Investing Working Group, and the Virginia Catholic Conference.  He has served as a strategy consultant in Accenture’s European practice; as co-founder of a retail startup; and as an instructor at the Wharton School SBDC.  

Brendon Dibella, Vice President, Development & Strategy, StreetShares, Inc.

Brendon Dibella is the Vice President of Development & Strategy for StreetShares, Inc.  He has a Bachelor of Science (Economics) from the U.S. Naval Academy and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.  He began his career as a naval officer serving in the U.S. Atlantic Fleet specializing in warship combat systems.  In business, Brendon has more than 15 years of sales, marketing, and business development experience in high tech fields that include secure financial messaging and alternative lending.

Stake Your Business:  The Art of the Successful Pitch

Dan Henderson, Investment Director, CIT GAP Funds

Over the past 16 years, Dan has been a founder or early employee at four startups, with a track record of two exits; one to a public company. Dan joined CIT in 2013 and is responsible for deal sourcing, due diligence and closing seed and early stage investments.  Dan came to CIT from BeClose, a venture-backed wireless home health company, where he served as Senior Vice President of Business Development and Strategy. Prior to joining BeClose, Dan worked as Vice President of Marketing and Strategy at FastSoft, Inc, a web acceleration software startup; as the co-founder and President of Bhavan Media, a digital media company; and as co-founder and President of i-Vantage, an IT services consultancy. Dan earned his M.B.A. from the UCLA Anderson School of Management and a B.A. from Oberlin College.

James Quigley, CEO&Co-Founder, Canvas Solutions, Inc.

James Quigley is the CEO & Co-Founder of Canvas, a Virginia-based company that is transforming how colleagues connect with each other and interact with customers in an increasingly mobile first workplace. James has a long history of building successful wireless companies. Prior to Canvas, he was Vice President and Managing Director at inCode Wireless, which was later acquired by VeriSign. Other successful start-ups with which he has worked include Aether Systems, Orbcomm, and Peak Technologies (formerly part of R.R. Donnelley).

Jenn Mathis, Vice President, One Degree Capital 

Since 2002, Jenn has helped business owners secure financing to grow or start businesses nationwide.  Originally from St. Louis, Jenn relocated to Northern Virginia in 2010 to launch One Degree Capital with her partner, Rod Loges. One Degree Capital is uniquely funded by fellow entrepreneurs, not bank lines or Wall Street investors.  It is through these “One Degree Relationships” that Jenn helps business owners obtain commercial loans, working capital or equipment financing to help their businesses succeed in today’s economy.

Unraveling the Maze:  The ABC’s of Government-Backed Loans

Ellen Gray, Organizational Development Specialist, Fairfax County Government

Ellen joined Fairfax County Government as an Employee and Organizational Development Specialist for the Department of Public Works and Environmental Services.  She has been a small business owner, a program developer for Northern Virginia Community College, an adjunct instructor for George Mason’s University’s Office of Professional and Continuing Education, and a former first and second-line administrative manager for the IBM Corporation.  While serving as a program developer at NOVA, she conceptualized and developed the Business Opportunity Center – working with small start- ups to help their competitiveness in the local and state RFP process. 

Marium Eamen, Lender Relations Specialist, U.S. Small Business Administration

Marium Eamen is a Lender Relations Specialist at the U.S. Small Business Administration, Washinton D.C. Metro Area District Office.  She has 6 years of small business capital access experience.  She graduated from California University State University East Bay.

Nathalia Artus, Regional Lending Manager, Virginia Small Business Financing Authority

Nathalia Artus is the Regional Lending Manager at the Virginia Small Business Financing Authority (VSBFA), the lending arm of the Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity for the Commonwealth of Virginia. She is responsible for financially assisting small, women, minority and veteran owned businesses. Her work includes developing partnerships with financial institutions and economic development authorities in the Greater Richmond and Northern Virginia areas, with focus on providing businesses with resources and opportunities.

THURSDAY, APRIL 28, 2016  |  8:00 AM - 1:00 PM


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Keynote Remarks  
Diana Doukas, Director of the White House Business Council

Diana Doukas is the Director of the White House Business Council (WHBC). The WHBC serves as the key convening mechanism for the Obama Administration's engagement with top business leaders, entrepreneurs and innovators, small business owners, and private-sector subject matter experts. Previously, Diana served as the White House Liaison at the U.S. Small Business Administration. Before joining the administration, Diana was Director of Development for Business Forward. Diana also served as Senior Deputy Finance Director for the NY Tri-State area for the Obama Biden 2012 campaign and was a member of the finance team for Paul Hodes (NH), then NY Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

Opening Remarks

Rob Stalzer, Fairfax County Deputy Executive, Fairfax County Government

Rob Stalzer has over thirty years of local government experience and has served as Deputy County Executive of Fairfax County since June 2000.  From 1988 to 2000, Rob served as the Town Manager of Herndon, Virginia and from 1983 to 1988, as the Director of Planning and Zoning for Roanoke County, Virginia. Rob teaches graduate level courses in planning, economic development and public administration at Virginia Tech and George Mason University and is a Professor of Practice in the Virginia Tech School of Public and International Affairs.  He has an MBA from Syracuse University, a Master’s in Regional and City Planning (MRCP) from the University of Oklahoma and a BA from Clark University. 

Welcoming Remarks

Antonio Doss, District Director, U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Washington Metropolitan Area District Office

​Antonio Doss was appointed District Director of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Washington Metropolitan Area District Office on December 29, 2013. As District Director, he oversees the delivery of SBA’s small business financing products, contracting programs, and entrepreneurial coaching services in Washington, DC, Northern Virginia and Suburban Maryland.  He has supported the economic and community development needs of entrepreneurs and underserved communities throughout his career.  Prior to his current assignment, he served as Associate Administrator for SBA’s Small Business Development Center program.  He has also served as a Senior Vice President at Bank of America for Community Development Banking in the Mid-Atlantic region.


Christopher C. Arabia, Senior Vice President, Metro DC Market, TD Bank, NA

Christopher C. Arabia (Chris) joined Commerce Bank (TD Bank predecessor) in 1998 as a Credit Analyst.  Over his 20 year career, Chris has held several positions within the commercial side of the Bank.  Subsequent to the purchase Commerce Bank by Toronto Dominion Bank in 2009, Chris was promoted to Senior Vice President with responsibility for Community Banking Operations in Northern Virginia and the District of Columbia.  Chris earned a BA in Economics from Moravian College and a Masters in Business Administration from LaSalle University.  In 2013, Chris graduated from the Stonier Graduate School of Banking at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School.

Mistress of Ceremony
Tara Palacios, Director, Arlington Economic Development BizLaunch

Tara R. Palacios is the Director of BizLaunch, Arlington’s Small Business and Entrepreneurial
Assistance Network in Arlington County, Virginia. She has received numerous awards for her steadfast commitment to the small business community including: 2005 Small Business Advocate Award by the Arlington Small Business Development Center (SBDC); 2010 District Director Award and the 2006 Minority Small Business Champion of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration; and, the 2013 Entrepreneurship Partner Award by the Business Development Assistance Group (BDAG).  She has a B.A. in Political Science and Journalism from the University of Maryland Baltimore County and an M.S. in Marketing Communications from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.