Assistant District Director for Lender Relations
Marlow Portrait

Location: San Francisco, CA

Office: San Francisco District Office

Position Summary: A lender relations specialist is responsible for marketing all SBA lending programs and services to our existing lender network as well as recruiting new lenders to participate in SBA loan programs.   They market these programs and services by conducting outreach, training, and educational campaigns. Additionally, they provide one-on-one assistance to lenders with regards to SBA compliance and more complex loan processing procedures and transactions.  The lender network includes banks, credit unions, certified development companies (CDCs), community development financial institutions (CDFIs), and microlending intermediaries.

What excites you the most about your career with SBA? I am excited by the US Small Business Administration’s mission. It is an honor to help Americans start, build and grow their businesses.  Being in the field puts me on the front lines of delivering services and training to entrepreneurs.

What inspired you to join SBA? Before working at the SBA, I left a job in financial services marketing for a large brokerage firm to become a Peace Corps Volunteer.  I served from 2011-2012 in Mali, West Africa as a Small Enterprise Development Volunteer.  In Mali, I worked in a small rural village as part of a mobile bank.  I was in the midst of starting a project with a local women’s association to teach tailoring skills to young women as an income generating activity when I was evacuated. When I returned, I wanted to continue my work helping entrepreneurs.  Working for the SBA allowed me to maintain a focus on sustaining economic growth in a local community - my community.  

How have you helped a small business start or grow? Formerly, as the Public Information Officer for the San Francisco District Office, I worked to promote for local small business of the year. I have helped promote LGBT businesses in Northern California.  It has been great to see the opportunities for promoting small businesses and spread the word in the press.

How have you grown professionally at SBA? The challenges of working within SBA are different from those of working for a for-profit or Peace Corps volunteer. I was hired as a Lender Relations Specialist in the San Francisco District Office and quickly took on the duties of the Public Information Officer.  I had an opportunity to temporarily hold the role as acting Regional Communications Director when our District Director served as acting Regional Administrator.  Most recently I was promoted to Assistant District Director for Lender Relations, my first supervisory position. I have taken advantage of any and all opportunities for growth.  I have grown personally by becoming more comfortable speaking in public.  I’ve always been good at setting goals and holding myself accountable, and now I’m learning how to transfer those skills to managing a team.