Kellie LeDet was appointed Regional Administrator for the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) by President Barack Obama and SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet in July 2014. In this capacity, LeDet directs the SBA’s operations in Region II that encompasses New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Region II is headquartered in New York City. LeDet’s appointment to this Region represents the first time in SBA history that a woman and African-American has ever held that post. In her role, LeDet has direct oversight and responsibility for the administration of SBA’s financial, international export, disaster relief, government contracting, and entrepreneurial programs that assist nearly 3 million small businesses employing over 6 million workers in Region II.
LeDet brings an extensive and vast array of skills and expertise honed and developed over more than 20 years working in both federal and state government and private industry helping governments and businesses grow and prosper in the burgeoning global and domestic marketplace. Her proven track record as a leader, innovator, negotiator, change agent, advocate, capacity builder, business consultant, trade, commerce and finance expert have made her a much sought-after professional and speaker across the United States. Her ability to devise solutions and advocate for programs to address the complexities of business problems; counsel and engage diverse populations and stakeholders; build consensus; navigate international, federal and state trade issues has made her a standout amongst her peers.
As Regional Administrator, LeDet directs a network of small business counselors housed in 40 Small Business Development Centers, 20 SCORE Chapters and 10 Women’s Business Centers located in five district offices and six branch offices, including one in the U.S. Virgin Islands. LeDet also supervises 76 employees throughout Region II.
Before joining SBA, LeDet served as Deputy Chief of Staff for the office of U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) for over eight years until leaving for the SBA. As the Deputy Chief of Staff, LeDet was responsible for working on direct federal appropriations with local, state and county government. She also served as Senator Menendez’s Liaison with organized labor unions, homeland security, law enforcement agencies, fire fighters, and New Jersey’s military installations. Additionally, she provided technical assistance and capacity building to Faith-Based and Community-Based Organizations.
Prior to that, LeDet was Managing Director of Diversity, Small Business and Government Affairs at the New Jersey Schools Construction Corporation (NJSCC). Under LeDet’s leadership, the NJSCC increased the numbers of small business enterprise by 42% above and beyond its initial goals. LeDet also served as Director for the Division of Diversity and Emerging Business Markets where she had oversight and direct administration of all aspects of its business opportunity policies for small, minority- and women-owned businesses, specifically ensuring the implementation of former New Jersey Governor Jim McGreevey’s Executive Order No. 71, mandating small business participation on all state contracts.
LeDet began her career with U.S. Congressman Frank Pallone (D-NJ). She next went on to serve as Deputy State Director for U.S. Senator Robert Torricelli (D-NJ). Under Sen. Torricelli, LeDet was responsible for the coordination of ear-marked appropriations and grant funding for municipalities, non-profits, federal housing authorities and other community- based organizations. LeDet also served as Governor McGreevey’s Deputy Chief of Management and Operations where she had oversight over six state agencies- Agriculture, BPU, Commerce, Rate Payer Advocate, the Department of State and the Department of Personnel - formulating and implementing strategic plans, departmental policies and budgets.
Ms. LeDet attended Norfolk State University in Norfolk, Virginia where she majored in Political Science and Mass Communications with a Public Administration concentration. She is the recipient of countless awards and citations including the New Jersey Association of Women-Owned Businesses, “Woman of the Year” award, and the NAACP’s “Outstanding Community Service” award all documenting her commitment, dedication and leadership in promoting the growth and development of small-, minority- and women-owned businesses.
Kellie is married to Cory LeDet and they have two children and four grandchildren. Kellie is actively involved in numerous community and civic organizations, believing strongly in the mission, “to whom much is given, much is required.”