The country's shifting demographics have huge implications for U.S. industry and the economy. By 2030 minorities are projected to provide all of the net growth of workers in the labor force. Experts say that increased public investment, skills training, and workforce development are crucial to improving the economy, expanding the middle class, and empowering the country's minority populations.
In an era of slow financial growth and tight public budgets, American minorities have taken to entrepreneurship, innovation and service to create new jobs, build wealth, and provide critical social value for their communities. Minority businesses make up 15 percent of the country's small businesses today and employ 5.9 million workers.
Join National Journal for our fourth Next America summit as we convene the nation's key opinion leaders for a robust discussion about minority financial empowerment, workforce development and entrepreneurship. We will explore questions such as: How can government grow the economy and improve the job market for all of its citizens? How can the public and private sectors best equip U.S. minorities with the skills they need for work? How do small businesses impact community growth? And what is the future of minority entrepreneurship?
Susan Au Allen came to the United States from Hong Kong on an invitation from the White House in recognition of her volunteer work for people with disabilities. She received her Juris Doctor from the Antioch School of Law and LL.M. in International Law from Georgetown University. During her 17 years with Paul Shearman Allen & Associates of Washington, DC and Hong Kong, she became nationally recognized for her work on immigration, international trade and investment.
In 1984, Susan founded the US Pan Asian American Chamber of Education Foundation (USPAACC) with a group of business and civic leaders in Washington, DC and California, to bring the diverse Pan Asian American business and professional people together as one unified voice in business, commerce and trade. In 2001, she won two Federal cases for her clients, took sabbatical leave from her law practice, and became USPAACC National President & CEO.
Long an effective advocate for small businesses on Capitol Hill, the White House, government, corporate America and the media, Susan achieved a new level of influence when President George H.W. Bush appointed her to the Council of the Administrative Conference of the United States where she served from 1991 to 1996.
Susan is a frequent guest at the White House and Congressional events that address issues affecting America’s small, minority and women business communities. Her participation in these forums plays an important role in shaping the national agenda on the economy.
She is frequently approached by the media to comment on small and Asian American businesses, US-Asia commerce and trade, and Asian American women executives, entrepreneurs, and professionals.
Susan analogizes USPAACC as the acorn that has grown into an Oak Tree since its founding 28 years ago, with strong roots and wide branches extending to thousands of small and Asian American businesses and professionals across the country. She is proud of USPAACC’s ability to connect business to business, open doors to contract, educational and professional opportunities for Asian Americans which is the fastest-growing group with the highest business growth in the United States, and substantial social and economic connections to the dynamic Asian Pacific region, the world’s fastest-growing economic bloc.
Once an immigrant, she knows the obstacles that must be overcome to achieve the American Dream, and she has dedicated her life to help entrepreneurs to pursue their Dream - develop, grow and build a successful business.
Susan is a member of Pfizer’s Small Business Advisory Council; Diversity Council of the American Hotel & Lodging Association, International Franchise Association and American Red Cross; National Association of Women Business Owners National Advisory Council; and the Kennedy Center Community Board.
She has served on the President’s Council on the 21st Century Workforce Committee on the Future of the Workplace; the Small Business Advisory Committee of the U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. General Services Administration; U.S. Marine Transportation System National Advisory Council; U.S. Small Business Administration National Women’s Business Council; NASA’s Minority Business Resource Advisory Committee; Women Small Business Summits National Advisory Board; Washington Board of Trade Board of Trustees for The Washington Initiative; Diversity Council of Time Warner, Wyndham International, Premier Automotive Group (Aston Martin, Jaguar, Volvo and Landrover); Board of Directors of the Virginia Small Business Finance Authority; Diversity Boards of AMTRAK and the U.S. Marine Corps; Commissioner of the Minority Business Opportunity Commission of the District of Columbia; and the Board of Trustees of Excelsior College in New York.
She has contributed op-ed articles to USA Today, The Washington Times, The Baltimore Sun, Asian Week, and Asian Fortune, and appeared as a commentator on C-Span, CNN, CNBC, ABC, Fox News, The News Hour, To the Contrary, This is America, and The Editor.
Susan was named Women Worth Watching by Profiles in Diversity Journal in 2013; America’s Top Diversity Advocates together with President Clinton, President Carter, and Oprah Winfrey by DiversityBusiness.com in 2007; and one of 50 Most Influential Asian Americans by
A-Magazine in 1994.
Among Susan’s awards are the Urban Wheels Lifetime Achievement Award (2010), DiversityBusiness.com Top Diversity Advocates (2007), Minority Business Hall of Fame (2005), National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers’ Diversity Advocacy Award (2006), NASA Special Recognition Award for Extraordinary Efforts in Promoting Small Business Programs Nationally and Internationally (2002), AT&T Spectrum Award for Advocacy for Minority Business Opportunity (2001), and Skirt in Power Award from the District of Columbia Chamber of Commerce (1992).
Susan speaks (Cantonese and Mandarin) and writes Chinese fluently. Married with two sons, she lives in McLean, Virginia.
In 2014, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker appointed Ms. Alejandra Y. Castillo to serve as the National Director of the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA). Ms. Castillo is the first Hispanic-American and the second women to lead the Agency since its creation. In this capacity, Ms. Castillo directs the Agency’s strategic efforts to enhance the growth and global competitiveness of minority business enterprises (MBEs). Under Ms. Castillo’s leadership, the Agency has expanded its effort to help MBEs grow and succeed through access to capital, access to contract and access to business opportunities both domestically and abroad. Prior to assuming this role, she served as National Deputy Director managing the Agency’s day-to-day operations and its national network of 44 business centers.
Under the Obama Administration, MBDA has assisted minority-owned firms in obtaining nearly $15 billion in contracts and capital and creating and saving over 33,000 new jobs. She has forged important strategic stakeholder relations and key public-private partnerships.
Ms. Castillo first joined the Department of Commerce in 2008 as a Special Advisor to the Under Secretary for the U. S. Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration (ITA). In this capacity, she was responsible for business outreach and intergovernmental affairs, as well as assisting in the development of policy initiatives geared at trade promotion and enforcement of U.S. trade laws.
A practicing attorney for several years, Ms. Castillo has worked in the private, government and non-profit sector. Prior to joining the Obama Administration, Ms. Castillo served as the Executive Director of the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA) headquartered in Washington D. C. During her tenure at HNBA, she was instrumental in working with the White House, and non-profit organizations, such as the Latinos for a Fair Judiciary, in support of the nomination and confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Ms. Castillo served as a member of the Clinton Administration as a Senior Policy Analyst to the Deputy Director at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, and was responsible for developing and analyzing White House initiatives on anti-drug traffic and interdiction, anti-money laundering policies, as well as drug prevention and treatment programs.
A native of New York, Ms. Castillo holds a Bachelor Degree of Arts from the State University of New York at Stony Brook in economics and political science. Ms. Castillo holds a Master’s Degree in Public Policy from the Lyndon Baines Johnson School of Public Affairs, University of Texas at Austin; and also holds a Juris Doctorate Degree from American University - Washington College of Law. Ms. Castillo is active in a number of civic and professional organizations, including: The Hispanic National Bar Association, the Hispanic Bar Association of DC, the American Bar Association, and the American Jewish Committee. She also serves as a Board Trustee for the University of the District of Columbia. In 2010, Hispanic Business Magazine recognized Ms. Castillo among the Top 100 Influential Latinos in the U.S. and she received the 2010 Rising Star Award by the Hispanic Bar Association of the District of Columbia.
Stanley S. Litow
Stanley S. Litow is IBM’s Vice President of Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs and President of IBM’s Foundation. Under his leadership, IBM has been widely regarded as the global leader in Corporate Citizenship, and praised for societal and environmental leadership, labor practices, and civic leadership.
Mark Hugo Lopez
Mark Hugo Lopez is the associate director of the Pew Hispanic Center, where he studies political engagement among young Latinos and helps to coordinate the center's national surveys.
Prior to joining the center, he served as research director at the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement (CIRCLE) at the University of Maryland. Through his work at CIRCLE, he has studied young people's electoral participation, the civic engagement of immigrants, young people's views of the First Amendment, and the link between college attendance and civic engagement.
He also currently serves as a visiting professor at the University of Maryland's School of Public Policy.
Dr. Maya Rockeymoore leads Global Policy Solutions, a Washington, DC-based policy firm that makes policy work for people and their environments.
A former adjunct professor in the Women in Politics Institute at American University, Maya has also served as the vice president of research and programs at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF), senior resident scholar at the National Urban League, chief of staff to Congressman Charles Rangel (D-NY), professional staff on the House Ways and Means Committee, and as a CBCF legislative fellow in the office of Congressman Melvin Watt (D-NC) among other positions.
Maya’s areas of expertise include health, social insurance, income security, education, women’s issues and youth civic participation. She is the author of The Political Action Handbook: A How to Guide for the Hip-Hop Generation and co-editor of Strengthening Community: Social Insurance in a Diverse America among many other articles and chapters. Rockeymoore serves on the board of the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare and the National Association of Counties and is a member of the National Academy of Social Insurance. The recipient of many honors, she was named an Aspen Institute Henry Crown Fellow in 2004 and is the recipient of Running Start’s 2007 Young Women to Watch Award.
A regular guest on radio and television shows, Maya has appeared on NPR, CNN, Black Entertainment Television, ABC World News Tonight, Fox News, Al Jazeera and C-SPAN. Her opinions have also been quoted by the New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, LA Times, Boston Globe, Black America Web, and Houston Chronicle among other prominent national news sources.
Dr. Winslow Sargeant is the sixth Chief Counsel for Advocacy of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy, appointed by President Obama August 19, 2010. The Office of Advocacy is an independent voice for small business within the federal government with a mission of encouraging policies that support small business start-up, growth, and development.
As chief counsel, Dr. Sargeant directs Advocacy’s operations, which include conducting research on the U.S. small business sector, advocating for small businesses within the federal government’s agencies and rulemaking processes, reaching out to regional and state small business advocates and policymakers, and fostering public awareness of small business contributions and concerns.
Dr. Sargeant sees the entrepreneurial spirit as uniquely American and as a path to wealth and job creation—a thread that runs through his life story. Most recently, he served as managing director of Venture Investors, LLC, in Madison, Wisconsin. The firm provided seed and early-stage money to high-potential health care and IT companies. There, he specialized in computer software, hardware, and materials, and worked with technology transfer offices.
The chief counsel brings to his advocacy role years of experience as a federal partner to small firms. From 2001 to 2005, he was program manager in electronics for the National Science Foundation’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program, while also serving as adjunct professor at the University of Pennsylvania. The NSF is one of the federal agencies with the largest extramural research and development budgets that are required in the SBIR program to dedicate a portion of their awards to small firms.
And Dr. Sargeant knows the challenges of starting and building a small firm. He enrolled in a PhD. Program at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, in 1988 and left in 1992 to work at IBM in Rochester, Minnesota. He received his PhD in electrical engineering in 1995, and worked at ATT/Bell Labs in Allentown, Pennsylvania. In 1997, Dr. Sargeant and partners co-founded Aanetcom, a “fabless” semiconductor integrated circuit design company. The company designed state-of the-art computer circuits for telecom and broadband applications. In March 2000, Aanetcom was acquired by PMC-Sierra, a publicly traded company.
Dr. Sargeant met his wife, Ikanyeng, during his graduate studies at the University of Wisconsin. Winslow and Ikanyeng have three children, Kgosi, Lorato, and Marang.
United States Senator Tim Scott is working daily to ensure that every American has the opportunity to succeed.
Growing up poor in a single parent household in North Charleston, South Carolina, Tim learned the importance of faith, hard work, and living within your means. By understanding the basic economic principles Washington so often forgets, and with the same determination he brings to advancing conservative principles in the Senate, Scott grew from his humble beginnings to build one of the most successful Allstate agencies in South Carolina.
Margaret Simms is an Institute fellow in the Center on Labor, Human Services, and Population at the Urban Institute, where she directs the Low-Income Working Families project. A nationally recognized expert on the economic well-being of African Americans, her current work focuses on low-income families, with an emphasis on employment and asset building.