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, clean energy, access to capital, immigration, financial reform and numerous workforce issues. 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 and Micro Capital Task Force. He recently led a study group at Harvard's Kennedy School of Politics and serves on the board for the Insure the Uninsured Project.
Terry Gardiner, Vice President
Terry Gardiner advises the Small Business Majority team on long-term strategic planning and policy development from our Seattle office, where he brings to bear his decades of business ownership and job creation experience. He played the lead role in advising Congress and the White House in the development of small business-friendly provisions in the Affordable Care Act, and is now particularly focused on its successful implementation, including the operation of the 50 state small business healthcare exchanges. He also plays a key role in policies that promote access to capital, entrepreneurship, a rational tax system, retirement security, and a vibrant clean energy economy. He oversees the organization’s work in Washington state, working with business leaders, issue advocates and policymakers.
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.
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, National Outreach Director / California Director
David Chase directs Small Business Majority's national outreach work while also serving as California Director working from our Sacramento office. David works with the outreach team to build relationships with small business organizations and owners across the nation and also directs the organization’s policy and outreach work in California. He serves on the California healthcare exchange’s Small Business Health Options Program Advisory Group and directs Small Business Majority's national healthcare policy work. Before joining Small Business Majority, 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.
Conan Knoll, Director of Entrepreneurship
Conan Knoll directs Small Business Majority’s national Entrepreneurship Program, which delivers the information and skills small business owners need to start and grow a successful business. The program focuses specifically on access to capital, retirement planning, technology and other critical small business needs. He oversees program development and implementation, strategic planning, partnerships, research and advocacy on related policy issues and fundraising for the program. Previously, Conan led Small Business Majority’s research and institutional fundraising efforts. Before joining Small Business Majority, Conan was an editor and reporter at several California newspapers. In his 12 years as a journalist, he covered politics and government and oversaw a staff of award-winning reporters. He has won awards for enterprise reporting, breaking news coverage and editorial writing, and has led newsrooms that won awards for general excellence in journalism.
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.
Aixa Acevedo, New Jersey Outreach Manager
Aixa Acevedo manages Small Business Majority's outreach efforts in New Jersey. She also manages the organization's Latino outreach throughout the state. She builds and maintains partnerships with small business owners and organizations by educating them about the Affordable Care Act and other key issues impacting the small business community.
Aixa has significant experience in outreach and advocacy in the non-profit sector with a specific focus on the Latino community. Before joining Small Business Majority, she worked as an Outreach Educator for Latino Justice and was a National Urban Fellow, where she worked for the Hispanic Federation. Aixa is fluent in Spanish.
Geri Aglipay, Midwest Outreach Manager
Geraldine "Geri" Sanchez Aglipay manages Small Business Majority's outreach efforts in the Greater Chicagoland area and Midwest region. She builds and maintains collaborations with small business owners and organizations by educating them about the Affordable Care Act and working with them on other key workforce issues. Prior to joining Small Business Majority, Geri worked with Asian Health Coalition and GetCoveredIllinois.gov to counsel consumers on health coverage access, and the MidAmerica Center for Public Health Practice on workforce issues with state and regional health departments and their stakeholders. She has extensive professional and volunteer experience on minority issues, especially in the Asian American arena of public health, civil rights, and civic affairs, having served on boards such as the American Public Health Association's Asian Pacific Islander Caucus.
Rhea Aguinaldo, Manager of Entrepreneurship / Northern California Outreach Manager
Rhea Aguinaldo manages Small Business Majority's national Entrepreneurship Program that brings resources and education to entrepreneurs in key areas of starting and growing a successful small business. This work involves program development and implementation, policy/advocacy and fundraising. Rhea also manages outreach and education in Northern California by engaging with small business owners, business organizations and advocacy groups on a wide range of policy issues. Previously, Rhea served as the Deputy Director for California at the National Asian American Coalition where she led statewide advocacy and managed micro-business technical assistance programs in underserved communities of color. Rhea's passion for small business stems from her parents, entrepreneurial immigrants who each started their own business when she was young.
Chris Armstrong, Director, Partnerships & Government Affairs
Chris Armstrong is Small Business Majority’s Director, Partnerships & Government Affairs. Chris manages the organization’s partnerships in Washington, D.C., serving as a liaison with the White House, Congress, and national partner groups.
Before joining Small Business Majority, Chris worked for Organizing For Action as the Deputy Director of Strategic Partnerships, where he helped coordinate outreach to partner organizations during the first healthcare open enrollment period in 2013-2014. Prior to that, he worked on the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force, managing outreach to local elected officials in affected areas, and on presidential campaigns.
Kelsey Bye, Media & Communications Associate
Kelsey Bye assists with Small Business Majority’s communications and media needs by fostering and maintaining relationships with the media and small business owners across the country. She identifies spokespeople who can speak out on key small business issues for media, press conferences, hearings and more. Kelsey is also responsible for developing press releases, statements and other communications collateral. Prior to joining Small Business Majority, Kelsey served as the Chief Political Reporter and Producer for Capitol Television News Service (CTNS) in Sacramento. She has also worked for a number of other news and media outlets, including C-SPAN in Washington D.C., CBS/KPIX in San Francisco and CBS/KOVR in Sacramento.
Rebekah Chase, Controller
Rebekah Chase is Small Business Majority's Controller. She maintains the organization’s accounting systems, prepares financial reports and assists in budget development. She also works with the Grants department to prepare, review and report on grant contracts.
Rebekah has more than a decade of experience in the non-profit, private and public sectors that includes fiscal planning, auditing and administering employee benefit programs. Before joining Small Business Majority, she was the Director of Accounting for a school district in California where she oversaw budget development, accounts payable/receiveable and other business operations. Rebekah began her career doing bookkeeping and auditing at a small business.
Tim Gaudette, Colorado Outreach Manager
Tim Gaudette works from our Denver office to direct Small Business Majority's outreach and development efforts in Colorado. 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.
Kevin Gbolie, Small Business Engagement Coordinator
As the Small Business Engagement Coordinator for Small Business Majority, Kevin Gbolie recruits small business owners into Small Business Majority’s network, conducts interviews and fosters relationships with entrepreneurs, and helps oversee the organization’s small business owner database. Kevin actively builds the small business owner database and assists in direct outreach efforts.
Michaela Hahn Burriss, Ohio Outreach Manager
As the Ohio Outreach Manager, Michaela Hahn Burriss is responsible for statewide policy efforts and educating small business owners on issues impacting the small business community. Michaela also coordinates events and serves as a liaison to small business leaders about clean energy issues, healthcare and more.
Before joining Small Business Majority, Michaela worked in a legal capacity for both the Ohio Senate Minority Caucus' Legal Counsel and the Columbus City Attorney's Office. She also worked in the United States Senate. Michaela is an attorney, a fellow for the Ohio State Bar Foundation, a member of the Columbus Bar Association’s Barrister Leadership Program, and a Certified Tourism Ambassador for the City of Columbus.
Jarvez Hall, Workforce Initiatives Manager / Northwest Outreach Manager
Jarvez Hall manages Small Business Majority's national workforce initiatives and outreach for the Pacific Northwest from our Portland office. Jarvez develops and maintains strategic partnerships with national organizations working on Opportunity Youth, Men and Boys of Color and other associated initiatives. He also builds and maintains relationships with small business owners, business organizations and advocacy groups in the Pacific Northwest, and provides education on key small business issues affecting small businesses in this area. 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 the entrepreneurship community. He 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 that focuses on building students' self-esteem, self-worth, and 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 works directly with business organizations and small business owners, particularly in the Central Valley, to educate them about the Affordable Care Act, energy, immigration and a variety of other issues. Previously, Mark worked for state and federal lawmakers, where he directed business operations and built relationships with small business owners about public policy issues.
Elliott Long, Policy & Development Associate
Elliott Long serves as Policy & Development Associate for Small Business Majority, working on a range of policy and legislative issues that affect small business owners including taxes, budget, access to capital, minimum wage and more. He also researches and engages new funding opportunities for the organization. Lastly, he assists Small Business Majority’s CEO and members of the organization’s leadership team with scheduling, administrative and logistical support. Before becoming Policy & Development Associate, Elliott served as Small Business Majority’s Outreach Coordinator. Previously, he was an intern for members of Congress and at the White House Office of Legislative Affairs. He comes from a family of small business owners.
Cassie Mills, Communications Manager
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 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 Overbey, Outreach Associate
As a Missouri Outreach Associate, Mary Overbey 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 and other key small business issues. 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 Manager/National Hispanic
Xiomara Peña works from our Los Angeles office where she focuses on strengthening relationships with small business owners and organizations across Southern California. She also manages Small Business Majority’s national Hispanic small business outreach work. Xiomara is a former small business owner herself, having established MsExpertTutor Co. in early 2012. Prior to joining Small Business Majority, Xiomara served as a Program Coordinator for a local non-profit organization, El Nido Family Centers, where she focused on youth workforce development by helping adolescents in low-income communities acquire marketable skills and foster growth. She also has extensive experience as a community organizer and campaign manager for various campaigns. Xiomara is fluent in Spanish.
Brian Pifer, Grants Manager
Brian Pifer manages the grants department for Small Business Majority, overseeing the organization’s grant writing and managing grants and prospects. Previously, he managed a regional copy desk that handles copy editing and layout for more than a dozen newspapers across Northern California. He also was project manager for his company’s migration to centralized newspaper production. He has more than 10 years of journalism writing and editing experience, including serving as copy desk chief at the Santa Cruz Sentinel, an award-winning daily newspaper on California’s Central Coast.
Erik Rettig, Northeast/Middle Atlantic Outreach Manager
Erik Rettig builds and maintains strategic partnerships with small business owners and organizations throughout the Eastern seaboard. He educates small business owners and organizations about the Affordable Care Act, clean energy policies, key workforce issues such as family medical leave, and other important small business issues. Previously, Erik worked as a small business advocate around the DC and NYC metro areas. He also worked on political campaigns and as a staffer in the House of Representatives.
Tanya Rey, Grant Writer
Tanya Rey writes, reports on and manages grants for Small Business Majority from our Sausalito office. Tanya has worked as a grant writer at One Story and The International Rescue Committee, and as a biographer for an attorney’s office in New York. She has received writing fellowships from the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, the Rona Jaffe Foundation, UCross Foundation and Blue Mountain Center. Tanya 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 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. She has educated hundreds of small business owners across Missouri and the Midwest. She also participated in the National Small Business Week event in St. Louis alongside representatives from the Small Business Administration and the Department of Health and Human Services.
Prior to joining Small Business Majority, she worked with the Alliance for Climate Protection, building support from individuals and businesses for clean energy legislation, and spent years working on healthcare issues across the country. Additionally, she worked for the state of Texas, with both the Legislative Council and the State Preservation Board.
Cat Ulrich, Communications Associate
Cat Ulrich serves as a Communications Associate for Small Business Majority, where she focuses on building, maintaining and activating the organization’s network of small business owners and spokespeople. Cat engages with small business owners to develop online profiles for the Small Business Majority website and assists with media relations. Prior to joining Small Business Majority, Cat spent more than two years at APCO Worldwide, where she focused on issues management and grassroots advocacy for clients, including Fortune 500 companies and national associations.
Trent Varva, Michigan Outreach Manager
As the Michigan Outreach manager, Trent is responsible for building relationships with small businesses in the Metro Detroit area and across the state of Michigan to help drive public policies that ensure small businesses have access to the resources they need to succeed.
Prior to joining Small Business Majority, Trent worked in several public sector areas including local and state government, and has had extensive involvement in electoral campaigns. Most recently he served as a Regional Field Organizer with the Michigan Senate. He has done public administration projects with the City of Bay City and Saginaw, and has contributed or co-authored multiple policy papers regarding infrastructure needs in the state of Michigan that are vital to the success of businesses.