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at SunTrust Plaza

NOVEMBER 27, 2017



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In celebration of Entrepreneurship Month and following the launch of the Simple Business Checking product, SunTrust™ and Emprendedores Latinos USA™ present Empowering Minority-Owned Small Businesses by bringing together four of the most influential business leaders in the country. This event provides networking and educational opportunities for small-business owners and Atlanta’s corporate community. Attendees will also hear from renowned business leaders on relevant topics such as the power of minority small businesses, fraud, digital marketing, business strategy and more. The event is free of charge, please RSVP today.

Javier Palomarez, President and CEO of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC), is a pioneer in multicultural marketing, Palomarez has more than two decades of corporate experience and entrepreneurial insight. He began his career at Allstate Insurance Corporation, where he worked to initiate the industry’s first fully-integrated, nationwide Hispanic marketing, sales and service campaign. 

His opinions and viewpoints have appeared in leading media outlets including ABC, Bloomberg Businessweek, CBS, CNN, Dallas Morning News, Fox, Los Angeles Times, MSNBC, NBC, Reuters, Telemundo, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Time, Univision, USA Today, and many others. Palomarez is a seasoned public speaker, delivering numerous keynote speeches, as well as panel discussions for some of the nation’s most influential institutions and conferences – including the Republican National Conventions, the Democratic National Conventions, The Atlantic, the Milken Institute, and the George W. Bush Institute. He is also a sought-after commencement speaker, and has addressed graduating classes as Notre Dame University, Westminster College, University of California – Irvine, Florida International University and Miami Dade College. He has consistently appeared on Latino Leaders Magazine’s “100 Most Influential” list and was presented with their Maestro Award in 2014. He has been named one of the “75 Most Influential Hispanics” and “Top 100 Green CEOs” by PODER Magazine. Palomarez was also profiled by El Pais, Spain’s leading daily news outlet, and was featured by the British Broadcasting Corporation’s (BBC) in “Ten Latinos Who Made History in 2012.”

Stacey J. Key, President and CEO of the Georgia Minority Supplier Development Council (GMSDC), has more than 20 years of corporate experience in sales, marketing, operations and customer services at global brands like IBM, AT&T, Schlumberger and Samsung Telecommunications. Prior to joining GMSDC, she was responsible for leading nationwide marketing efforts for Samsung Telecommunication as its Marketing Director. Key also served as Vice President of Public Sector for Schlumberger, the world’s leading supplier of products and services to the oil and gas industry. She also is an accomplished entrepreneur, with more than 15 years of experience at the helm of a successful small business. Stacey has been recognized as a leader throughout the state for her career accomplishments and community service. Some of her awards and honors include Who’s Who of Black Atlanta, the Business Advocacy Award from MARTA, the Atlanta Business League’s 100 Top Women of Influence, Diversity Plus Magazine’s Top 25 Women in Power Impacting Diversity, Black & Latino Council’s Global Commerce Award, and the DeKalb Chamber of Commerce Apex Small Business Champion Award.


 Susan Au Allen, National President & CEO of the US Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce Education Foundation (USPAACC Education Foundation) 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 small business clients, took sabbatical leave from her law practice, and became USPAACC National President & CEO. Susan has been a frequent guest at the Executive Branch and Congressional events that address issues affecting America’s small, minority and women business communities. Susan has served on Pfizer’s Small Business Advisory Council; Diversity Council of the American Hotel & Lodging Association, International Franchise Association and American Red Cross; 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 also 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’s Washington Initiative.


Ron Busby, President/CEO of the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc. (USBC) is a successful business owner with significant experience in the small business arena. Recognized as one of the country’s best CEOs, he grew his first business, USA Super Clean, from $150,000 annual revenue to over $15 million per year.

He has received countless awards including the Western Region SBA Small Business Person of the Year in 1996, the Greater Phoenix Chamber Small Business Person of the Year in 2006, and the Maricopa County Small Business of the Year in 2007, to name a few. Trained by some of the country’s leading executives, Busby developed many of his skills at major corporations (such as Exxon, Xerox, IBM and Coca Cola USA) in various senior management positions. In the course of his corporate America career, President Busby received nationwide recognition from several major corporations as National Sales Person of the Year.

While residing in Houston, Texas, he lead and served on many boards and committees. Most notably, he was co-chair of the XL II Super Bowl Host Committee. Other boards that he served on include the Arizona Governor’s African American Leadership Council, The Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, the Bay Area Chapter of the 100 Black Men (he was president of this chapter), the Urban League and Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.

Busby graduated with honors from both Florida A&M University and Clark Atlanta University. He is a major advocate and promoter of education; especially, the importance of higher learning. In his spare time, you can catch Ron golfing or spending time with his two sons.


Aleem Gillani, SunTrust CFO (Opening Remarks) is the chief financial officer of SunTrust Banks, Inc.  Named to this role in April 2011, he is responsible for the corporate finance functions – including corporate finance, corporate development, corporate tax, corporate real estate, strategic planning, investor relations, strategic supply management, and treasury.

Previously, Mr. Gillani served as corporate treasurer, managing SunTrust’s interest rate risk profile as well as liquidity, capital management and investment portfolio functions. Prior to joining SunTrust in 2007, he spent the majority of his career in risk management roles, including the chief market risk officer for two other super regional banks. 

Mr. Gillani obtained degrees from York University and the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology as well as Certified Management Accountant (CMA) designation from the Society of Management Accountants of Canada.  He is a graduate of the Advanced Management Program from Harvard Business School. 

Distinguished by ExecRank as one of the 2014 top rated CFOs in the country and honored by Atlanta Business Chronicle with a Distinguished Community Service Award in the 2017 CFO of the Year Awards, Gillani is active in both industry and community organizations. Gillani serves on the National Board of Trustees for the March of Dimes Foundation. He was the founding chair of the Market Risk Council for RMA, the Risk Management Association and served for many years as a director on the RMA board. He is also a member of the board of directors of SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, Inc and serves as the dean for SunTrust’s “Insights” leadership development program. Additionally, Gillani serves as chair of the Parent Board at the Georgia Institute of Technology.


Veronica Maldonado-Torres (Moderator) is a highly versatile and visionary Latina business woman, small business champion, supplier diversity advocate and community leader with 10+ years of professional experience and successes. Veronica excels in building strategic alliances and fostering win-win relationships among diverse stakeholders. As an innovative thinker with excellent communication and consensus-building skills Veronica leads the Georgia Mentor Protégé Connection (MPC) as Program Director, the nation’s first state- sponsored program (formerly named Governor’s Mentor Protégé Program) matching small businesses with corporate mentors for one year of intense business development and leadership training. MPC is in partnership with the Georgia Department of Economic Development and Georgia Tech Enterprise Innovation Institute and over its 15 year history the program has graduated over 200 firms. During her 4 year tenure, Veronica has created over 300 + jobs in the State of Georgia while mentoring and guiding over 82 firms between $1M-$30M in annual revenue.


4:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.


5:00 p.m. – 6:25 p.m.

Workshops will be held in two sessions, with three workshops running simultaneously in each session. Participants will be able to select one topic per session.  


6:25 p.m. – 6:55 p.m.

Appetizers will be served during the networking session. 


6:55 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

Lissa Miller, FVP/Supplier Diversity at SunTrust Bank.

Lissa Miller, FVP/Supplier Diversity at SunTrust Bank.

Lissa is the interface between SunTrust and the diverse supplier community and is responsible for working with its lines of business and functions to expand the company’s utilization and development of qualified minority, women, veteran, disabled, LGBT-owned and small businesses and ensure that the bank is in compliance with federal guidelines concerning diverse supplier inclusion in procurement activities. She brings with her over 20 years of collective experience and expertise in Supplier Diversity, Procurement, Sales and Logistics from Georgia-Pacific, Scientific Games International and Kennesaw State University. Lissa is currently the Treasurer of both the FSRSD (Financial Services Roundtable for Supplier Diversity) and the USPAACC-SE (US Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce- SE) and actively participates on committees of the GWBC (Greater Women’s Business Council) and the GMSDC (Georgia Minority Supplier Development Council) where she also served as board chair. She’s been recognized for advancing diverse businesses by the National Black and Latino Council, Greater Women’s Business Council and Atlanta Women Magazine. She mentors small businesses through the Georgia Education Foundation and the Greater Women’s Business Council programs and volunteers with organizations such as Cool Girls Inc. and Junior Achievement of Georgia. Lissa has a BBA in Marketing from The University of Georgia, MBA in International Business from Mercer University, PhD in Business Administration from Warren National University and is a GA licensed associate real estate broker, certified Zumba instructor and entrepreneur at heart.


Carolina Ramon, Director, Office of Minority Business at UGA

Carolina Ramon, Director, Office of Minority Business at UGA

In 2016, Carolina Ramon became the first Latina to serve as director of the University of Georgia SBDC Office of Minority Business Development. She immediately set out to identify the needs of the minority business community in Georgia and began to provide strategies to overcome these obstacles through education and one-on-one business consulting. To fund these efforts to support business development for minorities, she increased program income and sponsorships by an astounding 70 percent. She also created the Premier Development Program, to help minority entrepreneurs do business with both the federal government and the private sector. As director, Carolina oversees the delivery of minority small business training and consulting statewide which includes business development, financial analysis, financial strategy, loan packaging, market research, and certification and procurement opportunities. Carolina is an experienced small business counselor and certified federal procurement instructor with an extensive history of launching business enterprises and designing entrepreneur programs for non-profit organizations in Georgia.


Joseph Reaves, SVP/Small Business Administration, SunTrust Bank

Joseph Reaves, SVP/Small Business Administration, SunTrust Bank

Joseph is a Team Lead Manager for the bank’s metro markets in Atlanta, Greater Washington D.C., Maryland, South and Central Florida.  He is responsible for managing a team of SBA business development officers, primarily focusing on SBA 7a and SBA 504 products.  Prior to joining SunTrust, Joseph most recently served as Metro Banking Group President for SouthCrest Bank in Atlanta, Georgia.  He was also the Southeast SBA Regional Sales Manager for Wells Fargo Bank. Following an honorable discharge from the United States Army, Joseph earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management from Saint Leo College and a Master’s degree in Finance from Central Michigan University.  He is a current or former member of several professional organizations, including the Georgia Lending Quality Circle, Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM), and Chamber of Commerce for both Fayette and Coweta County. He is an avid reader, movie buff and also enjoys golf. Joseph, his wife, Angie and daughter, Tyler, live in Peachtree City, GA. 


Diana Baldwin, SVP/ Consumer Lending Marketing at SunTrust Bank

Diana Baldwin, SVP/ Consumer Lending Marketing at SunTrust Bank

As a marketer in both the B2B and B2C markets, Diana Baldwin Martinez has experience in building businesses.  She established her own consulting practice in 2008 after working at GE in Consumer Finance and previously at Bank of America for 16 years.  As a marketing consultant, her clients spanned the Insurance, Beauty, Entertainment, HR, Legal, and Retail segments.  As a new business owner, she launched her consulting practice providing social media support, web-design, email marketing, direct mail marketing, Public Relations, and event marketing for her clients.  She maintained her consultancy for 8 years and moved from consultant for SunTrust to a consultant within SunTrust for digital marketing.  She has held marketing roles setting strategy in the Small Business segment, and now is now managing the Client Marketing for the Consumer Lending business at SunTrust. 


Mary Harrington, FVP, Specialized Sales Consultant at SunTrust Bank

Mary Harrington, FVP, Specialized Sales Consultant at SunTrust Bank

Mary Harrington is a First Vice President in the Treasury & Payment Solutions team at SunTrust Bank. Her role as Specialized Sales Consultant encompasses several areas including Fraud Mitigation and Payables Solutions.  She has over 30 years of Banking and Treasury Management experience. In addition to Payables product consulting responsibilities, she is the Treasury & Payment Solutions Fraud Specialist.  She works closely with the SunTrust Fraud Prevention and Risk Management teams to stay abreast of critical issues impacting both the Bank and our Clients. She provides advisory services and presentations about current fraud & cybercrime trends including mitigation tools and best practices. Mary holds a B.S. in Finance from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.   She is also a Certified Treasury Professional.


Javier Mendez, SVP/Fraud Management at SunTrust Bank

Javier Mendez, SVP/Fraud Management at SunTrust Bank

Javier Mendez-Castillero is a Senior Vice President in the Fraud Risk Operations team at SunTrust Bank. His is responsible for Fraud Prevention and Detection activities company-wide as well as managing the Financial Crimes Investigation team and liaison to Law Enforcement. He has over 15 years of experience in Fraud Management, Credit, Payments and Collections in Telecom and a Banking Industries in 7 different countries. Javier holds a MBA in International finance from George Mason University and a B.S. in Econometric, the science of data modeling and applying statistical analysis to business.
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SunTrust Plaza
Conference Center/ Lower Lobby,
303 Peachtree Street, NE, Atlanta, GA 30303
For more information about the event, please contact Yeny Malaver at:
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