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Rhode Island District Office Success Stories

Rhode Island District Office Success Stories

From the industrial city of Medellin, in her native Columbia, Sandra McNamara came to America and the Rhode Island Small Business Development Center (SBDC) with the enthusiasm of an entrepreneur, and a desire to teach those who wanted to be one.

At RISBDC in Providence, as a marketing and training director, she would teach the fundamentals of small business to classrooms of multi-cultural students. Later, she counseled small business aspirants at the former Gibbs College in Cranston. Sandra, who recognized that American companies were rapidly expanding into the Latino market, eventually became an independent small business owner herself, opening CONTEXT Translations and Consulting in 2007.

Sandra promotes her skill as a bilingual journalist and marketing specialist to draw clients. She translates mainly for book publishers, website designers and marketing companies, from English to Spanish, or vice versa; she consults with small businesses in marketing and public relations.

For her contributions to those starting a small business, assisting many minority entrepreneurs in particular, and to the development of women in small business, Sandra, the president of CONTEXT Translations and Consulting, has been selected as the 2011 Rhode Island Small Business Champion of the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Her bilingual ability, fluency in English and Spanish has its advantages. She teaches and consults in both languages, and is well-accomplished in higher education, too. McNamara holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism, and an advanced degree, a master’s in marketing and public relations, each earned while studying in Columbia. In the states she’s added business courses taken at Harvard University to her resume.

Perhaps the best part of her success is found in the classroom. She‘s an adept communicator, well- liked and admired by her students and clients, whether teaching or consulting – or counseling. The ultimate affirmation, they take the time to reconnect at some point or write her with their sentiments of appreciation.

Sandra also volunteers her time to hold individual, person-to-person sessions with potential and established business owners through the Center for Women and Enterprise (CWE) and the Rhode Island Small Business Center. For CWE, she facilitates three programs, in both Spanish and English: Marketing Workshops; Power Up!; and a 14-week class – Business Planning, Getting Started.

Not only does she teach small business owners how to write a bank ready business plan, but also guides them to apply marketing and public relations resources to achieve their business goals. In the process Sandra’s given direction to hundreds of women attending her classes who have started or expanded a small business.

She’s committed to helping the unemployed or under-employed and dedicates countless hours to the cause. McNamara regularly teaches bilingual seminars at CWE, about branding and marketing yourself, and doing the same during difficult economic times. She also conducts business workshops – bilingually – at the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation (EDC).

Serving her community, as busy as Sandra continues to be, she has begun a new chapter in her life with the recent birth of her first child, Kendra Susana McNamara.

For her outstanding commitment to volunteerism and the minority community, and conspicuous excellence operating a small business, Sandra McNamara of CONTEXT Translations and Consulting is recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration as the 2011 Rhode Island and New England Minority Small Business Champion of the Year.