John Arensmeyer, Founder & CEO
John Arensmeyer has used his long experience as a business owner to build Small Business Majority into a nationally recognized small business organization and the leading advocate for critical public policy issues facing America’s entrepreneurs—particularly healthcare reform, clean energy, access to capital, immigration and financial reform. The organization is focused on ensuring small businesses’ success as a critical component of our economy.
John was the founder and CEO of ACI Interactive, an award-winning international e-commerce company. Information Week named ACI's signature product one of the nation's top 100 e-business innovations, and the company was cited by the San Francisco Business Times as one of the top 100 fastest growing private companies in the Bay Area. Earlier, John was the chief operating officer of a pioneering multimedia business and an attorney in New York.
John is a frequent speaker on small business policy issues and a regular guest on TV and radio, including MSNBC's Your Business, PBS NewsHour, Fox News, Bloomberg TV, NPR's Marketplace, MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews and the CBS Evening News. In 2009 he served on a panel at the White House summit on healthcare reform. He testifies regularly before congressional committees, and has briefed White House officials and congressional leadership on small business policy issues. He serves on the Association for Enterprise Opportunity's Economic Impact Council. He recently led a study group at Harvard's Kennedy School of Politics.
Terry Gardiner, Vice President, Policy & Strategy
Terry Gardiner directs Small Business Majority's policy development from our Seattle office. He also works on long-term strategic planning, where he brings to bear his decades of business ownership and job creation experience. He is particularly focused on policies that will ensure the successful implementation of the Affordable Care Act, including the establishment of the 50 state small business healthcare exchanges. He also plays a key role in policies that promote a vibrant clean energy economy, access to capital and small business economic development.
Originally a commercial fisherman, Terry founded and spent 22 years as the CEO of Silver Lining Seafoods, later NorQuest Seafoods. He grew the company to over $100 million in sales, with 1,000 employees and markets in 22 countries. After the sale of NorQuest in 2004, he turned to public policy work, focusing on healthcare reform.
Terry is a former Speaker of the Alaska House of Representatives, in which he served for 10 years and authored a host of successful groundbreaking legislation. He is a member of the National Co-Op Advisory Board and has testified at congressional committee hearings.
Rhett Buttle, Vice President, External Affairs
Rhett Buttle directs Small Business Majority’s Washington, D.C. operations, acting as the primary liaison with the White House, Congress and national partners. He also directs the organization's national small business outreach efforts, which include fostering strong relationships with business organizations across the country, growing our Strategic Partnership program and building an active network of small business owners. He plays a lead role in the organization’s institutional fundraising efforts.
Before joining Small Business Majority, Rhett served in the Office of the President at George Washington University. Prior to that, he worked on presidential, state and local campaigns and in the office of California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. He was part of the governor’s legislative team working on healthcare reform, energy and education issues.
Erin Musgrave, Communications Director
Erin Musgrave directs Small Business Majority's internal and external communications functions. She is responsible for brand management and oversees the organization’s media strategy, public relations efforts, online presence, legislative testimony and educational and marketing collateral. An award-winning journalist, her experience in the newspaper industry spans both editorial and advertising. She worked as a reporter, editor and advertising executive for a newspaper group in California before launching a weekly newspaper and serving as publisher and editor-in-chief. She then transitioned into public relations, where she managed marketing and communications for a small business while providing PR and marketing support to other small businesses on a consulting basis.
David Chase, California Director
David Chase directs Small Business Majority's California operations from our Sacramento office, focusing on relationships with small business organizations and owners across the state and working closely with legislators and other policymakers. Previously, he served for more than four years in the office of California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, where he built coalitions with business and other stakeholder groups to advance the governor's agenda. David was part of the team responsible for building the coalition behind Governor Schwarzenegger's 2007 comprehensive healthcare reform proposal. He serves on the California healthcare exchange’s Small Business Health Options Program Advisory Group.
Conan Knoll, Director, Research & Grants
Conan Knoll directs Small Business Majority’s opinion and economic research, as well as all foundation and other institutional grant writing and grants/prospects management. Previously, he was a news editor and reporter at several California Central Coast newspapers. In his 12 years as a journalist, Conan covered city, county and state governments, coordinated news coverage and oversaw a staff of award-winning reporters. He has won awards for investigative reporting, breaking news coverage and editorial writing, and has led newsrooms that won awards for general excellence in journalism.
Ben Geyerhahn, Director, Entrepreneurship & Capital
Ben Geyerhahn directs our work on entrepreneurship and access to capital from our New York office. He is the Founder & CEO of BeneStream, a mission-driven benefits enrollment business that enables employers to save 90% of the health insurance costs for their low-income workers. BeneStream developed software-as-a-service (SaaS) technology that will help millions of eligible working-poor families claim critical Medicaid and food stamps benefits.
Ben co-authored the Small Business Majority study “The Impact of Healthcare Reform on New York’s Small Businesses,” and serves as a member of the New York City/Metro regional advisory committee for the New York Health Benefit Exchange. Prior to his work at Small Business Majority, Ben worked for a social entrepreneur and a national nonprofit, and practiced law in New York.
Kathy Berry, Operations Director
Kathy Berry directs Small Business Majority’s finance, human resources and administrative operations. She has 30 years of business management experience, including more than 10 years in small entrepreneurial environments, having helped grow three small businesses in the arenas of healthcare, interactive technology and online education. She also has held senior positions with companies and organizations focused on technology, law and housing.
Prior to joining Small Business Majority, Kathy served as a Director at iMind Education Systems and as Director of Operations for ACI Interactive, where she oversaw administration, human resources and accounting. Most recently, she was Human Resources Manager for Freed & Associates, a boutique healthcare consulting firm. She serves as Small Business Majority’s Secretary-Treasurer.
Allison Abney, Media Relations Manager
Allison Abney manages media relations for Small Business Majority. She works with reporters and editors, generates press coverage and is responsible for developing and distributing press releases and statements to the media. She joined Small Business Majority after working in communications and press relations at the Council of the District of Columbia and on Capitol Hill. She also worked as a legislative assistant handling subjects ranging from healthcare to women's rights and telecommunications.
Rhea Aguinaldo, Northern California Outreach Manager
Rhea Aguinaldo builds relationships with small business owners and business organizations in Northern California. She provides education on key small business policy issues, including the Affordable Care Act and California's new health insurance marketplace–Covered California. Previously, Rhea served as the Deputy Director for California at the National Asian American Coalition where she led statewide advocacy for low-income communities of color and managed technical assistance programs supporting small, diverse businesses. Rhea's passion for small business economic development stems from her mother and father, two immigrant business owners who each started their own healthcare and IT companies when she was young.
Jackiethia Butsch, Midwest Outreach Manager
Jackiethia Butsch manages Small Business Majority’s outreach from our Columbus office. She manages our clean energy outreach efforts across Ohio and the midwest while also engaging small business owners and local business organizations on key issues such as the Affordable Care Act, immigration reform, non-discrimination policies and more.
Prior to joining Small Business Majority, Jackiethia was the Executive Director of the Whitehall Area Chamber of Commerce, worked for state representatives and senators, and as a grant writing and nonprofit organization consultant.
Jackiethia serves on the Executive Board of the Columbus Urban League Young Professionals group, the Westerville Parent Counsel, both the Whitehall and Westerville Education Foundations, and is VP of the Blendon Middle School PTO. She is a member of the Junior League and American Legion Axillary Post 157.
Marcia Dávalos, Southern California Outreach Manager
Marcia Dávalos works from our Los Angeles office where she focuses on building relationships with small business owners and organizations across Southern California. She also manages Small Business Majority’s Latino small business outreach work. She grew up in her family-owned and operated small business that opened more than 35 years ago as a small mom and pop silver and leather shop in Los Angeles. Today, the family business continues to thrive with the next generation of Dávaloses and has grown into an internationally-recognized manufacturer.
Prior to joining Small Business Majority, Marcia served as Director of Regional Networks for the Latino Coalition for a Healthy California, a statewide policy group working to improve the conditions, services and health of Latinos across California. She also has extensive experience as a community organizer and as deputy campaign manager for various campaigns and statewide ballot initiatives. Marcia is fluent in Spanish.
Emily Dewey, Colorado Health Coverage Guide
As a Colorado Health Coverage Guide, Emily Dewey works from our Denver office to build relationships with small businesses across Colorado and educate them about the state's health insurance marketplace, Connect For Health Colorado. Before joining Small Business Majority, Emily worked at the Bauman Foundation in Washington, D.C., where she led an initiative to amplify the voice of small business on various policy issues including healthcare and environmental health. She is fluent in Spanish and previously served as a bilingual health educator with an AmeriCorps program in Denver.
Dana Freeman, Accounting & Contracts Manager
Dana Freeman is Small Business Majority's Accounting & Contracts Manager. She maintains the organization’s accounting systems, prepares financial reports and works with the grants and research staff in budget development. She also works with the Operations Director to review, maintain and prepare reporting on grant contracts.
Dana has more than 15 years of accounting experience in a variety of fields including real estate, construction, healthcare and manufacturing. Before joining Small Business Majority, Dana was the accounting manager for a real estate developer who worked to build green affordable housing in California. Prior to that, she worked in the accounting department at CALSTAR, an air ambulance company that provides medical aid to trauma and accident victims.
Tim Gaudette, Western Outreach Manager
Tim Gaudette works from our Denver office to direct Small Business Majority's outreach and development efforts in Colorado, Nevada and other western states. Tim works to build and maintain relationships with small business owners, organizations and foundations. Before joining Small Business Majority, Tim worked at a small business in Denver and his background includes significant finance and investment-related work in the regulatory, research and sales areas in Denver, Washington, D.C., and Baltimore. Tim also serves as chairman for the all-volunteer board of the Denver Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.
Jarvez Hall, Oregon Outreach Manager
Jarvez Hall manages Small Business Majority's outreach for the state of Oregon from our Portland office. Jarvez builds and maintains relationships with small business owners, business organizations and advocacy groups and provides education on the Affordable Care Act and other key small business issues. Prior to joining Small Business Majority, Jarvez worked in education and government including multiple positions with the City of Portland. After obtaining his MBA, Jarvez managed two small businesses in Portland and Corvallis and continues to be active in those business communities. Jarvez has also spent the last several years serving on the Board of Directors for Tender Loving Care-Think 'N Try, a Portland-based non-profit organization that focuses on building students' self-esteem, self-worth, social and academic skills.
Mark Herbert, Project Manager / Central California Outreach Manager
Mark Herbert is Project Manager and Central California Outreach Manager for Small Business Majority. Mark manages Small Business Majority’s statewide project to educate small business owners about Covered California, the state’s new health insurance marketplace. Mark works closely with Covered California and Small Business Majority’s California outreach team to ensure the project is successful. In addition, Mark works directly with business organizations and small business owners, particularly in the Central Valley, to educate them about the Affordable Care Act. Previously, Mark worked for state and federal lawmakers, where he directed business operations and built relationships with small business owners about public policy issues.
Emma Hollister, Network Manager
Emma Hollister manages Small Business Majority’s national network of small business owners and staffs our national Small Business Network Council. She establishes and fosters direct relationships with small business owners across the country. Previously, she served as a fellow with Kirsten Gillibrand’s senatorial re-election campaign in New York. She has a background in communications, having worked in the press departments of the U.S. Department of State in Brussels, Belgium and the offices of several members of Congress. Her family runs and owns a small business.
Paula Hughes, Missouri Health Coverage Guide
Paula Hughes works from our St. Louis, Mo. office as a Health Coverage Guide. She focuses on strengthening relationships with small business owners and organizations in St. Louis and the surrounding area. She works to educate small business owners about the Affordable Care Act and assist them with Missouri’s health insurance marketplace.
Prior to joining Small Business Majority, Paula worked with the community and stakeholders on transit initiatives, environmental studies and infrastructure projects. Paula has more than 15 years of public engagement and communication experience, and five years of market research and project management experience. Paula’s passion for small business stems from a career working for successful small consulting firms and as the owner of a small mail-order pharmacy sales business. She spent the last several years on the National Black MBA Association-St. Louis Chapter’s executive board, a nonprofit professional organization that focuses on business, students and entrepreneurs.
Grant Lahmann, Outreach Director
As Outreach Director, Grant Lahmann oversees and coordinates Small Business Majority’s outreach and education operations around the country. He is responsible for working with Small Business Majority's business and advocacy partners around the nation to bring the small business voice to outreach efforts across a variety of policy issues. Grant spent time as a legislative aide in the U.S. Senate and has an extensive background in political campaigns, most recently managing or directing several campaigns across the country.
Elliott Long, Outreach Coordinator / Administrative Assistant
Elliott Long assists Small Business Majority’s CEO, Vice President for External Affairs and members of the organization’s leadership team with scheduling, administrative and logistical support. He also supports the work of Small Business Majority's small business outreach team across the country. Previously to joining Small Business Majority, Elliott served as an intern for members of Congress and at the White House Office of Legislative Affairs. He comes from a family of entrepreneurs and small business owners.
Dustin McManus, Communications Assistant
Dustin McManus assists with Small Business Majority's communications efforts, including creating, designing and editing outreach materials, presentations, fact sheets, infographics and more. He manages the company's social media platforms and helps implement digital media strategies. Additionally, he assists the CEO and leadership team members with scheduling and administrative support. Prior to joining Small Business Majority, Dustin was a journalist and served as an editorial writer for several magazines in North Carolina, as well as an online columnist. He was also the co-creator, writer and marketing manager for a start-up publication.
Cassie Mills, Communications Associate
Cassie Mills is a writer and researcher at Small Business Majority, assisting with the organization’s communications efforts by writing poll reports, web content, media materials, speeches, public policy reports and more. She also works with the small business outreach team to interview small business owners and write case studies, and acts as the organization’s researcher, delving into public policies the organization is working on. Prior to joining Small Business Majority, Cassie worked with a consulting firm, providing support to the U.S. Department of Energy on clean energy communications outreach. She also has experience in writing and editing in a variety of sectors, such as state legislature, academia, research and nonprofit.
Mary Moore, Missouri Health Coverage Guide
As a Missouri Health Coverage Guide, Mary Moore works from our Springfield, MO office to build relationships with small business owners and business groups across southern Missouri and educate them about the state's health insurance marketplace. Mary and her husband also own MERIC Landscaping LLC, a small business that provides landscaping and lawn services to customers in southwest Missouri. Prior to joining Small Business Majority, Mary worked as a substance abuse prevention specialist for a nonprofit.
Xiomara Peña, Southern California Outreach Coordinator
Xiomara Peña works from our Los Angeles office where she focuses on strengthening relationships with small business owners and organizations across Southern California. She is a previous small business owner herself, having established MsExpertTutor Co. in early 2012. Prior to joining Small Business Majority, Xiomara served as a Program Coordinator for the non-profit organization El Nido Family Centers. She also has extensive experience as a community organizer and campaign manager for various campaigns. Xiomara is fluent in Spanish.
Erik Rettig, Northeast Outreach Manager
As Northeast Outreach Manager, working from our New York office, Erik Rettig builds and maintains strategic partnerships with small business owners and organizations in New York, Connecticut, Maine and throughout the Northeast. He educates small business owners and organizations about the Affordable Care Act, clean energy policies, and other important small business issues. Previously, Erik worked as a small business advocate around the DC metro area. He also worked on political campaigns and as a staffer in the House of Representatives.
Stephanie Salazar-Rodriguez, Colorado Health Coverage Guide
Stephanie Salazar-Rodriguez builds relationships with small business owners in Colorado and educates them about the Affordable Care Act and Connect for Health Colorado. Previously, Stephanie spent more than 20 years working in the nonprofit sector and served as a bilingual independent consultant for various local, state and national nonprofit agencies. She also trained prospective entrepreneurs on how to start a small business. Stephanie is a member of the Hispanic Advisory Council for the Florence Crittenton Services of Colorado and continues to pursue her passion for reducing healthcare disparities, particularly among communities of color in Colorado. Stephanie is fluent in Spanish.
Diane Sussman, Grant Writer
Diane Sussman is responsible for grant writing and reporting, and investigates new funding opportunities for Small Business Majority. Diane recently worked as a grant writer at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and before that spent more than 20 years as a writer and editor working at newspapers and publications as varied as Sunset, NurseWeek, Staffing Industry Report and the San Francisco Bay Guardian. She has won several writing and collaborative general excellence awards for her work.
Eszter Szocska, Digital Communications & IT Manager
Eszter Szocska manages Small Business Majority's websites, online communications, small business database and other IT functions. Prior to joining Small Business Majority, she worked as an executive assistant and website administrator at Green-Wifi, a small business specializing in the development of solar-powered Wi-Fi grid networks for schools in the developing world. Previously, she spent nine years in Tokyo where she cofounded FCC International, a small web services company. Eszter is fluent in Japanese and Hungarian.
Mary Timmel, Midwest Outreach Manager
Mary Timmel manages Small Business Majority's outreach in Missouri and other Midwestern states from our St. Louis office. Mary builds relationships with small businesses and organizations through listening tours, webinars and panel discussions centered on the Affordable Care Act and other key small business policy issues. Prior to joining Small Business Majority, she worked with the Alliance for Climate Protection, building support from individuals and businesses for clean energy legislation. She has also spent years as a healthcare advocate.