Office of Public Engagement & Faith-Based and Community Initiatives | Leadership

Office of Public Engagement & Faith-Based and Community Initiatives

Christopher Upperman
Assistant Administrator
Christopher Upperman

Christopher R. Upperman, an Obama Administration political appointee at the U.S. Small Business Administration, is Assistant Administrator (Head) of the Office of Public Engagement. In his role, Mr. Upperman manages agency corporate, philanthropic, and public relationships and outreach; which includes establishing strategic partnerships with outside organizations. Chris also oversees SBA’s faith-based outreach and community initiatives, which includes increasing entrepreneurship, business opportunities and capital access for undeserved and minority-owned enterprises. He reports directly to the Cabinet Secretary, SBA Administrator, and Head of the Office of Communications on the design, implementation, and application of strategic partnerships to promote business and entrepreneurship. Prior to his time as Director, Mr. Upperman served as Senior Advisor for Entrepreneurial Development. Mr. Upperman’s role as Senior Advisor focuses on strategy and development of national entrepreneurial programs and initiatives, and prioritizing issues related to economic development and small business ownership. At present, Mr. Upperman is the agency’s advocate for African Americans and Millennials, which includes strategic awareness-raising around entrepreneurship among the nation’s Millennial population. Mr. Upperman serves as one of the White House’s “My Brother’s Keeper Initiative” liaisons for the agency. He is passionate about reaching underserved communities and believes entrepreneurship can be a vital pathway towards economic self sufficiency. Prior to his appointment at SBA, Mr. Upperman worked at the White House as an Analyst and Director of Student Correspondence in the Office of Presidential Correspondence. During his time there, he was responsible for managing the operations of the department, which included all letter correspondence to U.S. citizens 18 years and below; along with management and oversight of the department's interns and volunteers. Before his tenure at the White House he worked for the United States House of Representatives as an Aide for the District of Columbia’s Delegate to Congress, Eleanor Holmes Norton. Mr. Upperman focused on local issues in Delegate Norton’s district office, which included coordinating her Commission on Black Men & Boys—a commission that addressed issues that impact Black males in the District of Columbia. In the fall of 2009 Christopher relocated to the Washington, D.C. area to participate in the White House Internship Program.

Prior to his time in Washington, DC, Christopher worked for Bank of America, focusing on consumer credit and debt-risk analysis, as well as financial mitigation. While finishing his college degree he served as a Junior Research Analyst intern for the United States Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR) in the Southern Regional Office in Atlanta, Georgia. At the Commission on Civil Rights, he assisted in researching for, and writing, a federal report underscoring the efficacy of supplemental educational services for The Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) in South Carolina. Mr. Upperman formerly was a Center for American Progress Leadership Institute Fellow, where he discussed policy and its implications on minorities and people of color in our changing society. 

Christopher attended Georgia State University, in Atlanta, Georgia, where he retained his Bachelors of Arts in Sociology. He is originally from Kennesaw, a metropolitan suburb northwest of Atlanta, Georgia.