WASHINGTON – The U.S. Small Business Administration is pleased to welcome the new Chair and Vice-Chair to the National Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Advisory Board. Bertica Cabrera Morris will serve as Board Chair, and Lea Marquez Peterson will serve as Vice-Chair.
George Koklanaris, the Associate Administrator of the SBA’s Office of Small Business Development Centers, said, “We are excited to welcome our new, dynamic leadership on the SBDC Advisory Board. Bertica and Lea collectively bring extensive business, community engagement and leadership experience that will help guide the SBDC program in expanding outreach to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), Opportunity Zones, rural communities and underserved populations.”
Bertica Cabrera Morris was appointed, as directed by Governor Jeb Bush of Florida, to the Central Florida Transit Authority (LYNX), where she served from 2001–2003.
Cabrera Morris is also a past President of the Board of Directors of the Volunteer Center of Central Florida. Additionally, she served on the Boards of Directors for World Cup Soccer, the City of Orlando Sister Cities Committee, and the Arts Council for Central Florida.
She is the immediate past Chairwoman of the Valencia College Board of Trustees. She was appointed to Valencia’s Board by former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and re-appointed by former Florida Governors Charlie Crist and Rick Scott. She also served as Commissioner to the Florida Commission on the Status of Women.
Lea Marquez Peterson was appointed to the Arizona Corporation Commission by Governor Doug Ducey in May of 2019. The Corporation Commission’s primary duty is to regulate the state’s utility services to ensure that Arizona has safe, reliable, and affordable energy. She is the first Hispanic woman to serve in a statewide seat in the history of Arizona. Marquez Peterson is also a longtime small business entrepreneur in Arizona and served as the President/CEO of the Tucson Hispanic Chamber from 2009 until November of 2018. The chamber represents over 1800-member businesses and, in partnership with the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry, is one of the largest chambers in the State of Arizona. She previously served as the Executive Director for Greater Tucson Leadership (GTL) from 2005 to 2009 and owned and operated several businesses from 1998 to 2008 in the Tucson region. She also formally served on the national board for the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the National Women’s Business Council.
The SBDC Advisory Board is appointed to advise, counsel, and confer with the Associate Administrator of the Office of Small Business Development Centers in carrying out the SBDC program under Section 21 of the Small Business Act.
The SBA’s SBDC program is a cooperative effort of the private sector, the educational community, and federal, state, and local governments to deliver counseling, training, and technical assistance in all aspects of small business management through its more than 900 centers nationwide. SBDCs play an essential role in the economic development of their states and local communities through direct, face-to-face counseling of small businesses and innovative training programs. SBDCs’ impact on small business access to SBA’s programs and services include Access to Capital, Government Contracting and Business Development, Procurement, Disaster Assistance, Small Business Innovative Research and Technical Training and International Trade Programs.
Release Date: November 10, 2020
Release Number: 20-87