AFP#4 | 2006 – 2007
Current place of employment:
US Small Business Administration
Deputy Director, HUBzone Program
Placement on Fellowship:
Participating in the Alfa Fellowship Program was certainly a game changer in my professional development. Before applying I had been working for the Small Business Administration in our various loan programs. As there was nothing similar in Russia, during the fellowship, I worked at OPORA Russia primarily focusing on providing expertise on small business development tools and practices in the US. I enjoyed the teaching aspect so much that it led me to switch divisions to focus on entrepreneurial development programs that taught small businesses the fundamentals of starting and growing a business. While the SBA is a domestic agency, I was always called upon to work with Russian delegations coming to understand the role of SBA in the federal government. This included several SBA sponsored trips to Moscow and St. Petersburg. This expertise helped to get me exposure to the SBA’s senior leadership which in turn helped me to move up the ranks to leadership positions within SBA including serving as the Deputy Director for two different multi-million dollar entrepreneurial development programs. While I have since moved on to another management position in SBA, I still keep in contact with many of my small business colleagues in Russia helping them as they continue to look for ways to create a more diverse small business economy in Russia.
The experience of living and working in Russia was one of the best career moves I made. Although most of my day to day work now does not deal in international relations, the practical experience and the language skills continue to be beneficial. Individuals who are committed to expanding opportunities to engage with Russia should seriously consider this program.