With the forthcoming retirement of long-time leader Margaret Adams, the Cornerstone Alliance Small Business Services and Women’s Business Center Team is operating under new leadership on several fronts.
The organization, which for more than 20 years has helped entrepreneurs launch their dreams in Berrien, Cass and Van Buren Counties, is announcing the next generation of leaders. Three new talented professionals will continue to provide high quality counseling to the organization’s clients and will launch new, innovative programs to propel small business creation, investment and job growth.
New to the helm of the Women’s Business Center as Director is Brandon Campbell. Campbell joins Cornerstone Alliance having previously served as Director of Small Business and Diversity Initiatives at the Little Rock Arkansas Regional Chamber of Commerce. He was responsible for facilitating growth among small businesses and promoting small business and diversity programming, as well providing guidance, programming and resource opportunities to enhance economic growth and diversity in the area.
A serial entrepreneur himself, Campbell is the founder and owner of Little Rock Fashion Week, as well as three other companies. He is a graduate of the University of Iowa where he wrote for the Iowa City Press-Citizen and was the editor of the UI National Association of Black Journalists NURU. Campbell has held various positions in the entertainment industry in Los Angeles and New York. He and his wife, Connie, are active in Big Brothers Big Sisters, American Red Cross, Easter Seals and Susan G. Komen.
Joining Campbell as the new Manager of the Women’s Business Center at Cornerstone is Kristen Patzer. She joined Cornerstone Alliance back in June and is the new Business Development Manager of the Women’s Business Center. Patzer’s responsibilities include counseling aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners, developing and coordinating WBC programming, and assisting the finance division. Her communications, marketing and fiscal management skills create an advanced level of counseling and advisory services, benefiting area entrepreneurs.
Patzer has served as Executive Director and General Manager at several organizations, including the Box Factory in St. Joseph.
She participates in arts and cultural activities throughout Berrien County. A graduate of Indiana University, she lives in Baroda with her partner, Matt, and her daughter.
Also new to the ranks at Cornerstone is Microloan Manager Giovana Silva, who will manage the Cornerstone Alliance microloan program and assist with counseling and support for the Women’s Business Center. A graduate of the University of Kansas, Silva is a former Assistant Branch Manager for US Bank.
Silva is responsible for assisting entrepreneurs in securing funding from area lenders, as well as from Renaissance Development Fund and SBA sources. Silva, who speaks three languages, lives in Berrien Springs with her husband, Edgar Tovar.