Council on Underserved Communities

The Council on Underserved Communities (CUC) provides SBA with input, advice and recommendations on strategies to help strengthen competitiveness and sustainability for small businesses in underserved communities.



The CUC focuses on communities and populations that traditionally have faced barriers in accessing credit, capital and the other tools they need to start and grow businesses. These communities include inner cities and rural areas and may include populations such as women, minorities, veterans, tribal groups and others.

The CUC is part of SBA’s ongoing efforts to expand its reach into underserved communities. While the nation’s economic recovery is moving forward, that recovery has been uneven, particularly for socially, economically and geographically disadvantaged small business owners. To help SBA better address the challenges facing small business owners in underserved communities, the CUC will meet regularly and advise SBA on ways to increase access to capital and promote sustainability, growth, and job creation.

Council members

Beatriz Acevedo is one of the leading inspirational voices and Latina entrepreneurs in the United States. She has dedicated her career to empowering and opening doors for the next generation of Latino leaders.

Beatriz started her career in media at a young age, first on radio and later on television. Her work earned her three Emmys, one MTV Music Award, and a Media Correspondent Award, among others. She later became a tech media entrepreneur as the Co-Founder and President of mitú, the leading digital media brand for young Latinos in the U.S. Under her leadership, she went on to raise $50M in funding, led by some of the most successful venture capital groups in California. The mentorship initiatives that she created through her Accelerator Program, have also provided invaluable access to the next generation of multicultural storytellers, with an emphasis on female leadership. Beatriz's expertise has been to create content at the intersection of media, technology, and social impact.

Beatriz is a passionate and sought after speaker who enjoys discussions around diversity as good business, female leadership, and the economic impact of Latinos in America. Additionally, she sits on numerous boards and advisory committees.

Beatriz recently co-founded and co-chairs LA Collab, a Hollywood initiative aimed at doubling Latino representation in Hollywood, both in front and behind the camera by 2030.

Her latest startup SUMA Wealth is the leading financial technology company devoted to increasing prosperity, opportunity, and financial inclusion for young U.S.-born Latinos. SUMA's innovative approach deploys technology to build financial tools that are engaging, culturally relevant, and useful to the community. SUMA also creates user-centric content and brand-based experiences that inspire, inform and empower the community to build wealth and control their financial future.

Clarence E. Anthony is CEO and Executive Director of the National League of Cities (NLC), the largest and oldest organization representing America's cities and their leaders. Under his leadership, NLC has advanced policies that expand local control and provide direct funding for local programs related to public safety, infrastructure, transportation, and sustainability.

Mr. Anthony began his career in public service as the Mayor of South Bay, FL, for 24 years. He is known as a creative and thoughtful leader in his community. He is considered an expert in citizen engagement and techniques that build a "sense of community" within cities. Mr. Anthony has been on the forefront of politics in the United States and internationally for the past 20 years, culminating with productive presidencies of the Florida League of Cities and the National League of Cities (NLC), respectively.

Mr. Anthony also served as First Vice President of International Union of Local Authorities and as Founding Treasurer of United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), the international voice for local governments, for four years. Most recently, he served as the Interim Manager for UCLG.

Prior to his appointment as CEO and Executive Director of NLC, Mr. Anthony served as President of Anthony Government Solutions, a consulting firm focused on providing solutions to government and private sector organizations on issues affecting the community, strategic visioning, policy development, business development and management restructuring.

He holds a Masters Degree in Public Administration with specialization in City Growth Management policy from Florida Atlantic University.

Maggie Arvedlund is the CEO and Founding Partner of Turning Rock Partners, a principal investment firm. Turning Rock provides flexible capital solutions to small and medium sized businesses in North America.

Prior to founding Turning Rock Partners, Ms. Arvedlund was a Managing Director at Fortress Investment Group where she spent eight years. While at Fortress, Ms. Arvedlund was responsible for private equity and debt investments for the Fortress Partners Fund, a multi-strategy vehicle which invested across asset classes and capital structures. Ms. Arvedlund served on the Investment Committee from 2010-2015 and allocated capital across the alternative landscape including hedged equity, private equity, real estate, distressed and other hard assets. She has regularly hosted events for the National Womens Business Council and has provided guidance and perspectives to several administrations on the alternative investment industry.

Ms. Arvedlund received a BS with Honors from Vanderbilt University in Economics and an MBA in Finance from NYU’s Stern School of Business.

David Clunie is Executive Director of the Black Economic Alliance (BEA) – the nation’s only coalition of Black business leaders and allies committed to economic progress and prosperity in the Black community with a specific focus on work, wages, and wealth.

Before joining BEA, David was a Managing Director at JPMorgan Chase & Co. in the Corporate Responsibility department, which uses JPMC’s resources to drive inclusive economic growth—particularly in the areas of workforce development, financial health, small business expansion, and community development. David led a team of government relations managers who forged partnerships with state and local government officials nationwide on local community investments as well as public policy challenges and opportunities. He was a champion for diversity, equity, and inclusion—chairing the firm’s coalition of Black managing directors, The Black Executive Forum; sitting on the firm’s Diversity Advisory Committee; leading CR’s Equity & Inclusion working group; and serving as an ambassador and mentor for The Fellowship Initiative leadership development program for young men of color.

Prior to joining JPMorgan Chase & Co., David was the Executive Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Treasury. As an appointee of President Barack Obama at the Treasury Department, David was a member of Secretary Jacob J. Lew’s senior staff and ran what is often referred to as the Department’s “nerve center.” There, he was responsible for quality control and policy coordination of all workstreams associated with Secretary Jacob J. Lew.

From 2010 to 2012, David served as Deputy Associate Counsel at the White House, where he vetted incoming presidential appointees and served as a mentor in the White House Mentors Program—a predecessor to the My Brother’s Keeper Initiative. He was previously a senior member of President Obama’s 2008 Campaign legal team in Iowa focusing on voter protection.

Before joining the Obama Administration, David was a litigation associate at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, where he worked on commercial litigation cases and pro-bono matters involving voting rights, police-community relations, prisoners’ rights, affirmative action, and disability rights, among other issues. David partnered with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and Brennan Center for Justice, among other leading public interest groups, to oppose restrictive voter ID laws in Georgia and Indiana, and support thousands of voters displaced by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. David was also the firm’s lead attorney in Davis v. City of New York, a 2010 class action lawsuit on behalf of public housing residents and visitors alleging unlawful stops, frisks and arrests on public housing grounds in New York City. The case was filed as a related case to the major stop & frisk lawsuit, Floyd v. City of New York.

David clerked for the Honorable Cynthia M. Rufe in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. He graduated from the Howard University School of Law, where he was editor-in-chief of the law review, and graduated with honors from State University of New York at Albany. David sits on the board of the National Urban League and he currently lives in Harlem, NY.

As CEO of ICIC, Steve leads a dynamic and growing team of professionals dedicated to achieving economic prosperity in America's inner cities. Steve is focused on setting ICIC's strategic direction, leading the organization through a period of rapid growth and extending ICIC's national visibility and brand. He directs ICIC's efforts to secure new partners and drive private sector engagement and investment.

Prior to joining ICIC, Steve was elected Treasurer of Massachusetts in 2010 and served in that position from 2011 until 2015. One of his principal achievements in that office was the creation of the Small Business Banking Partnership, a pioneering initiative that was responsible for moving almost $400 million of state deposits into community banks that used these funds to make more than 10,000 loans with a value of over $1.6 billion, with a principal focus on businesses owned by women, minorities, immigrants and veterans.

Prior to taking office, Steve served for 35 years as President of Grossman Marketing Group, a fourth-generation marketing communications firm started by his grandfather. Steve has been an active leader in many civic, philanthropic and political organizations. These positions include former board chair of Brandeis University, former national chairman of the Democratic National Committee, former president of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), founding board member of MassInc and life trustee of the Museum of Fine Arts.

Steve graduated from Princeton University and Harvard Business School where he was a Baker Scholar.

Chris James is President and CEO of the National Center for American Indian Enterprise, where he leads the largest Native American economic development organization in the country.

Prior to joining the National Center in 2017, Chris was a Senior Executive Service Appointee and Associate Administrator at the U.S. Small Business Administration. Chris was closely involved in White House and interagency coordination with SBA and had a hand in implementing all SBA programs and services nationwide, including those focused on the Native American community. His first job in the Obama Administration was at the Department of Treasury, where he served as an Associate Program Manager focused on Native American Community Development Financial Institutions. His entry in tribal economic development was as Associate Director and Senior Loan Officer for the Sequoyah Fund, a Native American CDFI and an enterprise of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians.

Chris has a Master of Entrepreneurship from Western Carolina University and a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies from UNC-Wilmington.

Domenika Lynch is the Executive Director of Aspen Institute the Latinos and Society Program (AILAS), with the mission of empowering Latino communities and promoting long-term economic growth and resiliency. All of AILAS programming is focused on increasing recognition that the nation’s economic success depends on Latino inclusion at all levels of society. 

Over the course of two decades in leadership roles, Lynch has overseen strategic planning, policy advocacy, and public affairs campaigns for nonprofits and corporations, increasing donor and stakeholder support and raising millions of dollars for organizational endowments.

From July 2016 to May 2019, Lynch served as president and CEO of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI), the preeminent Latino leadership institute founded by Hispanic members of Congress in Washington, DC. Building on CHCI’s 40-year legacy, she led an organizational and financial turn-around, raising more than $20 million to ensure that CHCI will remain a premier national convener for thought leadership. 

She previously spent more than a decade as executive director of the Latino Alumni Association (LAA) at the University of Southern California. During her tenure, LAA doubled its membership and tripled its endowment. Her professional breadth extends into the corporate sector, with previous leadership positions at Bank of America and Univision. 

Lynch currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Congressional Management Foundation and serves on Bank of America’s National Community Advisory Council which advises the bank on community development, environmental and consumer policy issues. A graduate of the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy, Lynch holds a master’s degree from the USC Rossier School of Education.

Veronica Maturino, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation, is the Chief Executive Officer of ONABEN, and an advocate for small business, women and girl empowerment, and the financial health of all people.

Veronica oversees ONABENs operations, develops products and services, manages communications efforts, and is our organization’s most enthusiastic champion. The leader of our pack, Veronica was named the Minority Business Advocate of the Year, in 2010, by the Native American Business Enterprise Center;  has been recognized twice as a 40 Under 40 winner by the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development; was recognized as being a "Woman on the Move" by ABC, in 2017; and was honored for "Making a Difference in the Lives of Women and Girls," by the Oklahoma Journal Record, in the fall of 2018; and was a recipient of the Spirit of Portland Award for ONABENs work building the economies of Native communities in Oregon.

Veronica is our program participants’ biggest cheerleader, and passionately acts as ONABENs storyteller, sharing the successes of not our work, but the successes of the peoples and places that our work serves. Affectionately, referred to as V., Veronica, creates the energy that keeps our team moving! 

Ying McGuire is the CEO & President of the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC), America’s most influential and successful minority business development organization. Next year, NMSDC celebrates 50 years of supporting the economic development of more than 14,000 certified minority business enterprises (MBEs) and over 1,500 Corporate Members.

Prior to her appointment at NMSDC, Ms. McGuire served as the Global Vice President at Technology Integration Group (TIG), an NMSDC-certified minority-owned technology company with 25 offices in the United States, China, Canada, and a global partner network covering four continents. As a corporate leader at Dell Technologies, a Fortune 500 company, she built and sustained high impact global initiatives across many functions and mentored numerous entrepreneurs and CEOs.

Ms. McGuire holds a variety of leadership roles in the community. In 2016, she was appointed by the United States Secretary of Commerce to the United States Investment Advisory Council. She served as the first woman chair of an advisory board of the International Trade Center (ITC), a joint agency of the United Nations and WTO based in Switzerland. Ms. McGuire is a founding board member of the Greater Austin Asian Chamber of Commerce (GAACC) and a board of advisor of the George H.W. Bush Foundation for U.S.-China Relations.

During her career, Ms. McGuire has been acknowledged for her work as an advocate for supplier diversity: named “Twenty-Five Influential Women in Business” by MEA Magazine; “America’s Top Diversity Advocate” by; and “Best of the Decade” by Minority Business USA. Ms. McGuire was a featured speaker at many regional, national and international conferences including the World Export Forum.

Born and raised in China, Ms. McGuire immigrated to the United States with one suitcase and $1,000 to pursue her American dream. She received a Masters’ degree in Business Administration of International Management from Thunderbird School of Global Management in Phoenix, Arizona.

Justin Nelson is the Co-Founder and President of the National LGBT Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), the business voice of the LGBT community and the largest LGBT economic advocacy and business development organization in the world. 

In addition to over 50 LGBT affiliate chambers in the United States representing America's 1.4 million LGBT business owners, NGLCC leads economic development opportunities at over 20 international affiliates. NGLCC is responsible for major victories for the LGBT business community, among them the first-in-the-nation inclusion of LGBT suppliers in statewide contracting opportunities with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. 

Justin regularly advises senior leaders at the White House, in Congress, and corporations throughout the world to build business opportunities through commitments to LGBT-inclusive supplier diversity programs. He is a sought-after speaker at conferences and meetings around the globe promoting the business case for LGBT inclusion and creating equity for the LGBT business community. 

Justin and Team NGLCC are also responsible for the creation of the National Business Inclusion Consortium (NBIC), advocating the business interests of a diverse range of people, including the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, ethnic minority, disability, and women-owned business communities, representing a total of over $9 trillion in annual consumer spending power and significant contributions to the marketplace and workplace. 

For his efforts in establishing the NGLCC, Justin was named to OUT Magazine's Top 100 Greatest Gay Success Stories. Justin was also named to the 25 Leading Men of 2006 list by Instinct Magazine, SmartCEO Magazine's 2012 Top 20 Leaders We Admire, and the 2012 Global LGBT Power 100 from the Guardian Newspaper in Great Britain. In 2010 Justin received the Outstanding Collaborative Partner Award from the U.S. Business Leadership Network for his partnership work on disability issues and is the recipient of the 2014 Vanguard Award from the Atlanta Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce. 

Prior to launching the NGLCC, Justin was the Director of Federal Affairs and External Relations for the American Academy of Ophthalmology in Washington, DC. During his tenure, the organization was named one of the top 100 lobbying organizations in Washington, DC by Forbes Magazine. Prior to lobbying Congress and the White House, Justin spent five years as an aide in the United States Senate. He has served as a past volunteer coordinator for the Wyoming Special Olympics, a Capitol Hill Chair for the March of Dimes Walk America and on the advisory board for the First Wyoming Race for the Cure. Justin holds a BA in political science from the University of Wyoming. 

Dana M. Peterson is the Chief Economist and Leader of the Economy, Strategy & Finance Center at The Conference Board. Prior to this, she served as a North America Economist and later as a Global Economist at Citi, the world’s largest investment bank. Her wealth of experience extends to the public sector, having also worked at the Federal Reserve Board in Washington, D.C.

Dana’s wide-ranging economics portfolio includes analyzing global themes having direct financial market implications, including monetary policy; fiscal and trade policy; debt; taxation; ESG; consumption, and demographics. Her work also examines myriad US themes leveraging granular data. In addition, Dana has conducted multi-asset research and written publications with other experts across disciplines including research on rates, equities, credit, foreign exchange, commodities, political analysis, and asset allocation.

Peterson's research has been featured by US and international news outlets, both in print and broadcast. Publications and networks include CNBC, FOX Business, Bloomberg, Thomson-Reuters, CNN Finance, Yahoo Finance, TD Ameritrade, Barron’s, the Financial Times, and the Wall Street Journal. She is member of the Board of Directors of NBER, NABE, and the Global Interdependence Center, 1st Vice Chair of the New York Association for Business Economics (NYABE), and a member of NBEIC, the Forecasters Club, and the Council on Foreign Relations.

She received an undergraduate degree in Economics from Wesleyan University and a Master of Science degree in Economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

John’s passion for investing began at age 12 when his father began buying him stocks as Christmas and birthday gifts. His interest in equities grew at Princeton University, where he majored in economics, and over the two-plus years he worked as a stockbroker for William Blair & Company, LLC. In 1983, John founded Ariel to focus on patient, value investing within small- and medium-sized companies.  

While our research capabilities have expanded across the globe, patience is still the disciplined approach that drives the firm today. Early in his career, John’s investment acumen brought him to the forefront of media attention and culminated in him being selected as Co-Mutual Fund Manager of the Year by Sylvia Porter’s Personal Finance magazine as well as an All-Star Mutual Fund Manager by USA TODAY. Furthermore, John has been highlighted alongside legendary investors Warren Buffett, Sir John Templeton and Ben Graham in the distinguished book: The World’s 99 Greatest Investors by Magnus Angenfelt.

His professional accomplishments extend to the boardroom where he is a member of the board of directors of McDonald’s, NIKE, The New York Times Company, and Ryan Specialty Group Holdings. John also serves as vice chair of the board of trustees of the University of Chicago. Additionally, he is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a director of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights. In 2008, John was awarded Princeton University’s highest honor, the Woodrow Wilson Award, presented each year to the alumnus or alumna whose career embodies a commitment to national service.

Following the election of President Barack Obama, John served as co-chair for the Presidential Inaugural Committee 2009, and more recently, he joined the Barack Obama Foundation’s Board of Directors. John received an AB in economics from Princeton University, where he was also captain of the varsity basketball team. 

Ché Ruddell-Tabisola is an advocate for local economies, a creator of local and national policy change, and an entrepreneur leading the way for small business.

Ché has led numerous campaigns to advance the interests of the smallest of our small businesses as a matter of economic justice, removing barriers and expanding opportunities. He has served as Executive Director of the DC, Maryland and Virginia Food Truck Association, Political Director of the National Food Truck Association, and is a current Board Member of Think Local First DC.

Ché is a lifelong advocate who wrote his first petition in fifth grade and later spent 10 years organizing for LGBTQ+ rights. The son of Filipino and English immigrants, Ché grew up in Southern California and holds a masters degree in International Conflict Analysis from the University of Kent at Brussels. He and his husband in 2011 opened their BBQ Bus Food Truck and Catering Co. in Washington, D.C., where they live with their two dogs.

Joseph C. Sharpe Jr. was appointed to the position of Director of the Economic Division in April 2009, now Veterans Employment & Education and currently serving as the Acting Director for National Security Division. Prior to serving as Director, he served as Deputy Director of the Economic Division, Health Care Field Representative and Assistant Director of the Veterans Affairs and Rehabilitation Commission.

He is a graduate of The Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, D.C., where he earned a M.A. in International Relations and Economics. He also has two Graduate Certificates in International Business and Trade and Health Care Management from Georgetown University.  Joseph also earned his B.A. in Sociology from the University of Maryland, College Park, MD.

In 1982, he entered the United States Army. After completing initial training at Ft. Sill, OK, and Ft. Sam Houston, TX, he served as a Drug and Alcohol Counselor with the 2nd Infantry Division in South Korea.  He also served as a Mental Health Counselor in Ft. Benning, GA, worked as a Behavioral Science Research Specialist at the Walter Reed Institute of Research, Heidelberg, Germany, and was appointed as the Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge of Inpatient Social Work and Psychiatry Service, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, in Washington, D.C. In addition to his active duty service, Joseph recently retired from the 354th Civil Affairs Brigade, U.S. Army Reserve, Riverdale, MD, as the Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge of the Brigades Economics and Commerce Team.

During his military service with the Army Reserve Sergeant First Class Sharpe was deployed twice overseas, in Operation Joint Forge, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and recently for the Global War on Terrorism, in which he received the Bronze Star Medal for work completed in the restoration and improvement of public and private financial institutions and banking services in Iraq.

Originally from Chicago, Illinois, he and his family currently reside in Bristow, Virginia.

Chiling Tong has extensive domestic and international experience in economic and business development, with a focus on researching and enhancing the growth of minority-owned small businesses. Tong's career spans the private, nonprofit, and public sectors. She is the President and CEO of the National Asian & Pacific Islander American Chamber of Commerce & Entrepreneurship (National ACE). National ACE responded to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on AAPI small businesses by launching a business recovery & resiliency initiative with 70 affiliate AAPI Chambers and partners throughout the country. With her team, she established a technical assistant program designed to assist AAPI millennial entrepreneurs survive the COVID-19 pandemic and operate safely.

Tong is the Founding President of the International Leadership Foundation (ILF), a nonprofit organization promoting civic awareness and public services for AAPI college students and the community with over twenty chapters. Previously, she served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of International Trade Administration in the U.S. Department of Commerce and was also the Chief of Staff and Associate Director for Minority Business Development Agency in the U.S.  Department of Commerce. She was appointed as a member of the National Advisory Council on Minority Business Enterprises at U.S. Department of Commerce and was also a member of the President's Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

Currently, Tong is a Director of the Congressional Awards for young leaders and also serves on the Census Bureau National Advisory Committee on Racial, Ethnic and Other Populations.

Tong was an Ash Center Research fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School. Previously, Tong worked to promote California's economic development, trade and employment services. She was the Director of California's Office of Trade and Investment in Taipei, Taiwan, and served as Assistant Secretary for International Trade in the California Trade and Commerce Agency.

Tong has worked for the California State Senate Minority Leader’s Office as the Chief Asian American Affairs Advisor. Tong was awarded a Coro Public Affairs Fellowship and was the Chairperson of the Los Angeles County Community Action Board. Tong was also a television anchor and reporter for China TV, a Los Angeles-based international television station. In 2017, Chiling Tong was named Advocate of the Year by the Minority Business Development Agency due to her significant contribution to minority business development.

Last updated November 13, 2023