Name, company name & title: Dawn M. Hopkins, Regional Business Manager, Sussex County, Delaware Division of Small Business.
Key responsibilities: I assist would-be entrepreneurs and small businesses with navigating the government regulatory process, connecting them with resource agencies and helping them access capital.
Education: Dual Master of Science in Management: Public Administration and Human Resource Management from Wilmington University; Bachelor’s degree from University of Delaware.
Family: Husband, John (32 years); two sons, one daughter-in-law, two grandchildren
Interests: Spending time with family, serving at my church, hunting for treasures in unique shops and small businesses.
Community involvement: Praise Team, Crossroad Community Church; Milton Volunteer Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary (17 years).
Personal and professional goals: To continue growing and learning new things and taking on challenges in my career and personal life.
Please share any advice that you have been given or who has influenced you:
Don’t allow the opinions or actions of others to keep you from going the extra mile. Go with what you know is right.
Name, company name & title:
Shavonne H. White, DE Division of Small Business, Director of the Office of Supplier Diversity
Key responsibilities: Assist minority, women, veteran, service disable veterans, Individuals with Disabilities-owned businesses and eligible small businesses become certified with the State of Delaware and to help advance their business opportunities.
Education: M.S. Administration of Human Services; Wilmington University
B.S. Hotel, Restaurant & Institutional Management; University of Delaware Paralegal Certificate; Widener University Delaware Law School
Family: Son; Shane
Interests: Reading, exercising, sports, trivia games, music, movies, theatre & the arts
Community involvement: Wilmington Little League Volunteer
Personal and professional goals: To learn something new everyday and try something different every year.
Please share any advice that you have been given or who has influenced you:
Always choose kindness, stay true to yourself and own your presence.
Name: Laura Wisler
Company: Delaware Division of Small Business
Title: Kent County Business Manager
Key Responsibilities: Guiding clients through small business questions and issues that include:
How do I get started and what do I need to do first?
How do I fix this problem?
How can I grow my business?
What resources are available to me that I don’t know about?
Education: B.S. in Business Management from Wilmington University
Family: Husband – Ryan Wisler
Interests: reading, running/working out, traveling
Community Involvement: Destination Downtown Dover, Active Real Estate Agent, Community outreach through her CrossFit gym
Personal/Professional Goals – personal: run a sub 2:00 half marathon
professional: be known as the person in Kent County that can help small businesses out, no matter what the issue is.
Name: Liz Keller
Company: Delaware Tourism Office
Responsibilities/; Oversees the state of Delaware Tourism Office to ensure mission and goals are met. The DTO works to draw large volumes of visitors from out-of-state to drive positive economic impact to the state. Liz oversees a team of seven including a sales and marketing team.
Family: Liz resides in Smyrna with her husband and four fur-babies.
Interests: Liz is an avid fan of all things Disney. As a previous cast member, she often travels to Orlando to revisit the magic. Liz also loves to spend time with family and travel. Their latest adventure was to Vermont.
Community involvement: Liz is a board member of Gals That Give, a non-profit that works to support Kent County non-profit organizations through a fundraising event once a month at Dover Downs. Gals That Give provides opportunity for all women to be engaged philanthropically in real and meaningful ways that impact the community.
Personal and professional goals; To continue to grow tourism in Delaware and support tourism small business and non-profit organizations to achieve their goals. Our goal is that people think of Delaware as a go-to destination for their travels.
Personally, I hope to leave a positive impact on the state and community. Specially, the area where I grew up. The community gave so much to my family. It’s time to give back and help others.
Advice give that impacted you: Don’t burn bridges. My Mom said this over and over growing up. As a child, I brushed it off. As an adult, I see the delicate balance of moving towards goals, relying on partnerships. In our sector, you never know where the day will take you. The community and relationships you build around you are integral. Don’t build bridges because together we can make a difference.
Name, Company Name, and Title: Regina Mitchell, Delaware Division of Small Business, Business Finance Director
Overseeing the operations of the Business Finance team. The Business Finance team is responsible for administering the financial incentive programs offered through the Delaware Economic Development Authority, as well as coordinating applications for incentives as received from the Delaware Prosperity Partnership.
Education: Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Communication, La Salle University; Master of Public Administration, University of Pennsylvania
Family: Originally from Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Currently resides in Middletown with husband, Nate, one year old son, Jack, and dachshund, Harley.
Interests: Running, reading, camping, visiting new places
Community Involvement: Participate in various charity 5Ks; participate in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s every year
Personal and Professional Goals: Continue to grow in my role as a manager and further develop my professional skills
Please share any advice that you have been given or who has influenced you: Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Name, Company Name, and Title: Jordan Schulties, Deputy Director, Delaware Division of Small Business
Daily responsibilities: Oversee the daily operations of the Division of Small Business
Education: BS Accounting, University of Delaware
Family: husband Greg and two children, Avery and Colton
Best advice: The best advice I have been given, both personal and professional, is that people and relationships come first. In a world that is becoming increasingly tech oriented, the ability to connect with people on a more personal level will be the thing that sets you apart.
Interests: Traveling! I love to explore new places and get a feel for all of the unique local flavors.
Community involvement: My favorite way to be involved in the community is to volunteer with all of the various activities that my kids join. It’s always rewarding to be able to witness firsthand the drive and determination that our leaders of tomorrow are already showing!
Name, company name, and title- Patty Cannon, MSM, AZS; State of Delaware, Department of State, Division of Small Business; Director of Special Projects and FTZ #99 Grantee administrator
Key Responsibitilies- I am responsible for several federal programs including marketing and community education related to the state’s Foreign Trade Zone and the federal Opportunity Zone tax credit program. I also serve as the State Coordinator of the Main Street Program, which is the Coordinating Program associated with the National Main Street Center. I am proud to continue my support of Delaware’s economic and community development as a member of the Division of Small Business team.
Education- I graduated from Wilmington University with a Bachelors of Science in Business Management degree (with honors) and a Masters of Science in Management degree. Most recently, I earned the Accredited Zone Specialist certification from the National Association of Foreign Trade Zones where I serve on several active committees.
Family: I have three daughters and five grandchildren.
Interests: Delaware offers so many things to enjoy! I love taking walks through Delaware’s beautiful parks, reading in our truly impressive libraries, digging my toes in the sand at our award winning beaches, shopping along our charming main streets and being mesmerized at our abundant art productions across the state.
Community involvement: I recently moved to a new neighborhood and am looking forward to becoming an active member of the Homeowners Association here. In my previous neighborhood, I was a member of the Board of the HO and I strongly support the empowerment of a community working together. I also serve as an active member of Delaware Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters (DVOAD), carrying on a legacy of my father who was an active member of Wilmington Manor Volunteer Fire Company where I was taught the importance of volunteer service, emergency preparedness and disaster recovery.
Personal and professional goals: My goals are similar to most people. I want to make a difference, hoping that the world is a better place because I was here. My personal goals are reflected in my professional work. I want to be the person who rolls up her sleeves and is willing to do the most menial and/or elaborate tasks if they will help my family, my community, my peers, Delaware businesses, the State of Delaware and the United States of America. I believe that “hope” is powerful and I am committed to supporting projects that provide hope for our community whether that is job creation, public safety, housing, education, clean water or innovative solutions for transportation and energy.
Please share any advice that you have been given or who has influenced you: The BEST advice I was ever given came from my maternal grandmother, Evelyn Scott. She passed away over 15 years ago but her sage advice still guides me every day. She told me that my children will learn from what I do as I am making decisions throughout my life, not from what I tell them. She cautioned me to always think about the example I wanted to set for them, because they would be watching me. I was far from a perfect mother – just ask my girls! They love to get together to tell “bad mom” stories about when I was the last mom to pick them up after a school event, or other similar stories. But, I still live by the mantra of making decisions as though each decision would be published on the front page of the local news. I always want them to be proud of my ethics. Ethics require us to do what’s right, even when that is the hardest thing to do.
Name, company name & title: Karin D’Armi-Hunt, VP, Treasury Services Product Manager, The Bank of Delmarva
Key responsibilities: I manage the bank’s business banking products, matching the right products to the customer’s needs.
Education: University of Delaware, B.A.
Family: I am blessed with three sons and three grandchildren. One son lives in the area and the other two live away, in Texas and Minnesota. Lucky for me, the three grands are local!
Interests: I enjoy movies, a good read, and good music. I also enjoy running, taking walks and kayaking.
Community Involvement: The H.A.P.P.E.N. group; Western Sussex Chamber of Commerce – Bike and Brew committee; Nanticoke Heritage Byway Steering Committee – secretary; Nanticoke Rotary – Laurel Group speaker chair
Personal and professional goals: Personal: Enjoy all the time I can get with family and friends, and work with others to better our communities.
Professional: I have been blessed to have the opportunity to work in several areas of banking over my career. I want to continue to experience new opportunities, learning all I can along the way.
Please share any advice that you have been given or who has influenced you: Early on in my career I had the good fortune to work with someone who taught me that before going to someone else to ask a question, I should first exhaust all resources available to me. This lesson in resourcefulness has served me well, in life as well as in my career. Maybe the best advice I have ever received is the simplest – treat others as you want to be treated. If we put ourselves in our customers’ shoes, we’re more likely to come up with the solution that works for everyone.
Name, company name, title: Kim E. Paden, Unique Jewelry at The Marina, Owner, President, Goldsmith
Key responsibilities: Running the entire shop – goldsmith, advertising, safety, décor, paperwork, cleaning, etc. Making sure my customers are very happy when they pick up whatever work I have done for them on their treasures.
Education: high school – South Carroll in Taylorsville, Md.; college: 18 months at Catonsville Community College; 4 Years + USMC, 29 Palms, Calif., Electronics TDCC, E-5; Gemological Institute, Carlsbad, Calif. – Diamond Course, Colored Stone Course, Gem Identification Course. Recently went to the LaserStar Campus in Rhode Island to learn to be efficient with my new LaserStar welder.
Family: My Husband (Richard Paden) and I moved to Seaford August 2018. I closed my previous store in Westminster, Md. between July and September 2018 and followed my husband to Seaford in October 2018.
I have one Brother who has lived in Dover for over 30 years with his family. I have another brother and sister who live in Maryland. My mother, who is almost 92, moved in with us in June. I also have a 16-year-old cat, who is the last of five cats who all died of old age. We inherited a pond of Koi in our new home.
Interests: I was active in several Living History groups as my previous home was just south of Gettysburg, Pa. I love to read just about anything. I like needlework, sewing and gardening, cooking, hiking, glamping, and getting together with friends and Family.
Community involvement: While in Westminster, I supported the Arts Council and Historical Society. I also donated to various charities over the last 27 years.
Personal & Professional Goals: To provide top service to the people in this area. A lot of my customers became my friends. This area promises to be as wonderful as the last place I lived. I already love it here. I am in the process of upping my goldsmithing training by learning to use the LaserStar welder I just acquired. This will enable me to repair or create.
Please share any advice that you have been given or who has influenced you:
Ross Stockwell was my first jewelry boss. He was a Master Jeweler and watchmaker from the Lake Placid area of New York. He passed away last year at 96 after a traffic accident. I believe he would have lived to be over 100 otherwise. He was a great, talented man.
My philosophy is the Golden Rule. I also believe that we are all related and should love each other, or at least respect each other.
Name, company name, and title- Patricia Rivera, Hook PR & Marketing
Key responsibilities: Oversee day-to-day operations of marketing agency
Education: Bachelor’s from the University of Tennessee
Family: Husband, Mike McClure; Children, Miranda and Rafael Perez-Rivera
Interests: Kayaking, reading and spending time with family
Community involvement: Board president of La Esperanza, board director of the Delaware Alliance for Nonprofit Advancement, member of the Delaware Hispanic Commission
Personal and professional goals: Develop a charitable arm that helps single mothers receive the training and marketing tools needed to grow successful businesses.
Please share any advice that you have been given or who has influenced you: In a world full of problems, be the solution. You’ll always have a distinctive edge when you can effectively analyze challenges and offer cretive options.
Name, company name & title: Catharine Nicolaides Lyons, Lyons Companies, President and CEO
Key responsibilities: Leadership and business strategy
Education: B.A., Hollins University, Roanoke Va.
Family: Sons: Dave and Tim Lyons; dog: Liberty Girl
Interests: Connecting people with opportunity
Community involvement: Delaware Fund for Women
Personal and professional goals: To be a positive example for people in my life
Please share any advice that you have been given or who has influenced you: Smile.