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Commissioner Kevin D. Kim
Kevin D. Kim was appointed by Mayor Eric Adams to serve as the Commissioner for the NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS), a dynamic City agency focused on equity of opportunity leading to economic self-sufficiency and mobility for New York City's diverse communities. Among the initiatives SBS successfully launched in his first year as Commissioner include: 1) largest public-private partnership loan fund in NYC directed to small businesses ($75M); 2) Cannabis NYC to outreach and educate New Yorkers on the opportunities connected to this newly-legalized market; 3) Small Business Forward - recommending more than 100 reforms to violations that overly-burdened small businesses, saving small businesses millions of dollars annually; and 4) Small Business Advisory Commission to give actual small business owners a seat at the table when important policy decisions are being made.
Commissioner Kim is an attorney, entrepreneur, and public servant. As a son of immigrant small business owners, and a former co-founder/operator of several small businesses, he understands first-hand the various challenges small businesses face.
In public service, Commissioner Kim served as the first Asian American commissioner of the New York State Liquor Authority. For more than a decade, he has been a recognized community leader serving on the boards of various non-profit organizations, including the CUNY Board of Trustees, President (Biden)'s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders, and American Red Cross (Queens). He is also a certified community mediator through his participation in the Black Korean Mediation Project.
Commissioner Kim is a proud product of the NYC public school system, having attended K-12 in Queens (graduating from Townsend Harris High School at Queens College). He received his B.A. and M.A. from Stanford University and his J.D. from Columbia Law School, where he was a member of the Columbia Law Review.
Executive Deputy Commissioner
As Executive Deputy Commissioner, Michael Forte is the NYC Department of Small Business Services’ (SBS) chief administrative officer overseeing agency operations, infrastructure, and performance.
He previously served as Deputy Commissioner at the NYC Department of Probation (DOP), where he managed core support and oversight functions including budget/finance, technology, procurement, human resources, and workforce development. Michael played a key role in pioneering a new neighborhood-based model of service delivery that significantly increased opportunities and improved outcomes for historically disadvantaged New Yorkers.
Michael's career in City government spans 30 years, starting at the Department of Personnel. His extensive expertise in public sector organizational management includes more than 10 years at the Department of Citywide Administrative Services (DCAS), where as Assistant Commissioner for Human Capital, he led professional development for the City's diverse public-sector workforce of 300,000+ employees.
Before joining government, Michael was a consultant for National Development & Research Institutes and also managed a small business for several years. He received his B.A. from Baruch College and M.A. from the CUNY Graduate Center, and is a former Taft Fellow in American Government.
Executive Deputy Commissioner
Dynishal Gross is the Executive Deputy Commissioner for the NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS), responsible for overseeing the agency's four programmatic divisions supporting small businesses, government contractors, jobseekers, and commercial corridors citywide, as well as the work of the Food & Beverage Industry Partnership.
Prior to serving as Executive Deputy Commissioner, Dynishal was the Deputy Commissioner for SBS' Division of Economic and Financial Opportunity, supervising a team focused on increasing equity and financial opportunity for minority and women-owned businesses, as well as other underserved businesses. Dynishal also guided the work of the Labor Services unit, charged with enforcing the compliance of ICAP tax abatement beneficiaries and city vendors with equal employment opportunity, and other mandates.
Dynishal's career in public service includes five years of work for members of the NYC Council, including serving as Director of Legislation and Budget for the chair of the Committee on Small Business, and nearly two years as Assistant Commissioner for Business Programs in SBS' Division of Business Services. She holds a B.A. in Africana Studies from Cornell University, an M.P.A. from Baruch College, and a J.D. from Columbia University School of Law.
Merideth (Meri) Weber
Assistant Commissioner, Community Outreach
Merideth Weber is the Assistant Commissioner of Community Outreach at the NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS). In this role, Meri oversees a team that raises awareness of the agency's resources to help businesses, job seekers, and neighborhoods across boroughs, communities, and industries. The team aims to reach communities directly in their neighborhoods, with a particular focus on helping low-to-moderate income, and non-English speaking New Yorkers access City services.
Meri has extensive experience planning, developing, and disseminating strategic communications. She led the agency's outreach to businesses during COVID-19, keeping business owners and community leaders informed about quickly changing guidelines. She also spent four years as Communications Director, leading the SBS communications team during Hurricane Sandy, and driving a rebrand after a Mayoral transition. She also engaged more than 1,500 Black entrepreneurs to inform the design and launch of BE NYC, an initiative to advance Black entrepreneurship in NYC. Outside of SBS, Meri managed internal communications for more than 500 staff at Zocdoc, an NYC technology startup, and led the largest field program ever in Sullivan County, NY to help elect Congressman Antonio Delgado. Meri also worked in a Public Relations firm focused on public health, as well as Capitol Hill.
Meri has a B.A. from Barnard College/Columbia University, and an MPA from the NYU Wagner School of Public Service.
Chief of Staff
Dasheeda Dawson is a global cannabis advocate, award-winning Fortune 100 business strategist, and bestselling author on the cannabis industry. Dawson has nearly 20 years of business development, strategic management, and brand marketing excellence while leading transformative organizations in both the public and private sectors, nearly a decade of which has focused on the growing cannabis industry.
As an advocate and policy advisor, Dawson was pivotal to the 2021 landmark passage of New York's Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act. While fighting for legalization in her home state, Dawson led cannabis regulation in Portland, Oregon, for a number of years. In that role, Dawson oversaw all regulatory licensing, compliance, education, and equity initiatives for the city's cannabis industry. Under her leadership, Portland approved a multimillion-dollar Cannabis Emergency Relief Fund, becoming the first government jurisdiction in the country to allocate cannabis tax revenue to provide aid and emergency relief to the industry.
In October of 2022, Dasheeda was appointed Founding Director of Cannabis NYC by Mayor Eric Adams. As profiled by the New York Times, she returns home to lead the city’s efforts to become a global leader in cannabis industry excellence. As the founding director, she oversees the interagency creation and curation of citywide resources and services to help build a sustainable cannabis industry, including helping entrepreneurs to apply for licenses, access financing opportunities, and navigate municipal regulations.
Dawson serves as Board chair of the Cannabis Regulators of Color Coalition, a national organization of industry policymakers and regulators often referred to as the leading architects of cannabis equity and reform in the United States. She received her MBA from Rutgers Business School and completed her undergraduate degree in molecular biology at Princeton University.
Division of Business Services
Katherine "Kitty" Chan
Kitty is a seasoned manager who has worked in the private, nonprofit, and government sectors serving in senior leadership positions. Kitty spent the last seven years at the NYC Campaign Finance Board (CFB), a nonpartisan, independent City agency with more than 115 employees. As Chief of Staff at CFB, Kitty directed the Operations Division overseeing a team of 48 staff members and leading the build out of the CFB's administrative infrastructure including Human Resources, Finance and Administrative Operations. She also developed and managed the CFB's annual budget, served as project manager on all capital projects, and directed the agency's emergency planning and response efforts. Kitty also served as the Agency Chief Contracting Officer at CFB.
Prior to joining CFB, Kitty was the Chief of Staff at Safe Horizon, where she worked with the Board of Directors and CEO to develop the organization's strategic vision, managed funder relations, and fundraising, and oversaw communications. Kitty also previously worked at the Harlem United Community AIDS Center as the Senior Director of Administration. In addition to her work in the U.S., Kitty worked for several years in Japan at Bosch and Marubeni. She received double degrees in English and Communications from the State University of NY at Buffalo. She has also studied karate for more than 27 years and obtained a fifth degree black belt.
Assistant Commissioner, Incentives and Resiliency
As Assistant Commissioner, Don oversees the agency's efforts to make businesses more resilient and prepared when facing emergencies or business disruptions. Don also administers several key incentives programs including the Energy Cost Savings Program (ECSP), Lower Manhattan Energy Program (LMEP), and Industrial Relocation Grant Program. Prior to his appointment as Assistant Commissioner, Don served as Executive Director of the NYC Business Relocation Assistance Corp. and helped create the Industrial Relocation Grant Program and Printer's Relocation Grant Program.
Don has more than 20 years of experience in economic development and working with the City of New York to assist commercial and industrial firms relocate and expand within NYC. Before his work with SBS, Don worked with Ernst & Young Tax Incentives Division. He holds degrees from Boston College and Columbia University.
Natasha D. Joseph
Assistant Commissioner, Government Navigation and Regulatory Reform
Natasha D. Joseph is the Assistant Commissioner of Government Navigation and Regulatory Reform at the NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS), responsible for a team of dedicated professionals with the mission to help business owners understand rules, regulations, and processes while advocating for change where barriers to the small business community's sustainability exist. The NYC Business Express Service Team (NYC BEST) and Regulatory Reform teams work closely together to inform change, and drive positive and lasting impact, for the benefit of small business owners. These teams aim to create paths for business owners to open and operate in New York City.
Natasha has held numerous roles while at SBS including a Neighborhood 360° Fellow where she worked at the Flatbush Avenue and Church Avenue BID, connecting business owners in the corridor to City services and programming. Following the aforementioned role, Natasha guided business owners through the process of opening and operating their businesses as a Small Business Advocate, which led to her work on the Regulatory Reform team. As Project Manager and subsequently Director, Natasha worked to develop data-driven solutions for challenges faced by business owners by partnering with internal and external stakeholders.
Natasha has a combined decade of experience in operations management at the City University of New York (CUNY) and project management in a construction services company. She has a Master of Urban Planning from CUNY Hunter College and earned her bachelor's degree from CUNY City College.
Assistant Commissioner, Capital Access & Business Programs
Sherri Lane is the Assistant Commissioner of Capital Access & Business Programs for the Division of Business Services at the NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS). Sherri's team is responsible for designing and managing programs that help entrepreneurs start, operate, and grow their businesses in New York City. These programs include the NYC Business Solutions Centers and Industrial Business Service Providers – offering free consulting and funding connections in physical locations across all five boroughs; Women Entrepreneurs NYC (WE NYC) – an initiative to help women build community and launch and grow their businesses; FastTrac – a cohort-based bootcamp for businesses across multiple stages; the Worker Cooperative Business Development Initiative (WCBDI) – a collaborative with community organizations that support conversions and existing co-ops; and more. Additionally, her team provides solutions to connect NYC business owners to capital, with a particular focus on businesses that are underserved by traditional financial offerings. In a previous role at SBS, Sherri oversaw the Regulatory Reform unit, working with the Mayor's Office and more than a dozen agencies to minimize the regulatory burden for small businesses.
Sherri is a leader with deep professional services experience. Before joining SBS, she was a management consultant at Deloitte Consulting. Her cross-industry engagement experience includes strategic planning, operating model design, strategic sourcing & procurement, and technology integration. Sherri began her career as a small business lender at Accion (now called Ascendus), providing access to capital for underserved small businesses. As a loan consultant, she worked one-on-one with hundreds of business owners across the U.S. She has also provided advisory services to microfinance organizations in Nicaragua and Guatemala. Sherri earned her MBA from NYU's Stern School of Business with specializations in Finance, Social Innovation & Impact, and Business Analytics.
Division of Economic & Financial Opportunity
Tenisha Dyer is the Deputy Commissioner of the Division of Economic and Financial Opportunity (DEFO) within the NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS), where she oversees teams charged with increasing equity in financial opportunities for minority and women-owned businesses and other underserved businesses in City contracting. Her work includes helping to provide a pathway for Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprises (M/WBEs), emerging businesses, and local businesses to do more work with the City of New York through certification, technical assistance, training, mentoring, and capacity building programs. In addition, Tenisha oversees the Division of Labor Services, which monitors citywide vendor compliance with equal employment opportunity and labor standards, as well as compliance of ICAP abatement beneficiaries.
Tenisha previously held positions with the NYC Mayor's Office of M/WBEs as Associate Director of Strategic Initiatives and with the NYC Mayor's Office of Contract Services as Executive Director of the M/WBE Program where she was responsible for strategic policy and program initiatives around the City's M/WBE Program, as well as overseeing Program performance analytics and reporting metrics. Tenisha is an experienced attorney and advocate who has worked on behalf of businesses and marginalized communities within NYC and has a deep belief in the power of public service to support and empower NYC residents and business owners.
Tenisha holds a B.A. in Psychology from New York University and a J.D. from New York University School of Law.
Assistant Commissioner, Capacity Building & Corporate Partnerships
Marcello Rios is the Assistant Commissioner for Capacity Building & Corporate Partnerships within the Division of Economic and Financial Opportunity (DEFO) at the NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS). Marcello oversees the agency's efforts to support the development and success of minority-owned, women-owned, and other small businesses looking to grow through public and private sector contracting opportunities by connecting them to free training, technical assistance, one-on-one consultations, and other programmatic resources. Marcello also supports the SBS Buyer Services team which helps City agencies and private firms seeking to identify New York City-certified M/WBE vendors for business opportunities.
Prior to joining SBS, Marcello worked at the NYC Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) serving as the Assistant Deputy Agency Chief Contracting Officer for the Office of Contract Compliance and Opportunities. He also worked at the NYC Mayor's Office of Contract Services (MOCS) as the Assistant Director of the Labor Unit. Marcello holds a master's in Public Policy from the College of William and Mary as well as a bachelor's degree in Economics and Political Science from the University of Rochester.
Assistant Commissioner, M/WBE Recruitment and Eligibility
Anna Yakubova is the Assistant Commissioner of M/WBE Recruitment and Eligibility for the Division of Economic and Financial Opportunity (DEFO) at the NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS). Anna oversees the day-to-day operations of the External Affairs team in the planning and execution of DEFO events, SBS participation in external events, and the development of recruitment campaigns for Certification. Anna also manages the Certification team in processing and evaluating applications from businesses applying for the City's Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprise (M/WBE), Locally Based Business Enterprise (LBE), and Emerging Business Enterprise (EBE) Certification Programs.
Prior to joining SBS, Anna worked with the NYC Department of Youth & Community Development serving as a Management Auditor. Anna holds a Bachelor of Arts in Accounting and Information Systems from Queens College, City University of New York, and a Master of Public Administration from Baruch College, City University of New York.
Financial Management and Administration
Chief Information Officer
David Lubetkin is the Chief Information Officer at the NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS). In this role he leads the agency's Technology Unit which includes the Technology Operations, Application Development, and Project Management Office teams. David is responsible for aligning IT initiatives to the agency's strategic and tactical objectives, overseeing high-impact, strategic technology programs, and defining and implementing the IT portfolio model and supporting processes.
David began his City service in 1999 at the NYC Department of Employment working on the Help Desk. In 2003, he joined SBS and moved into application development and website design. He later led multiple teams within the Technology Unit as they launched new systems supporting both internal SBS processes and services provided to New York City businesses, neighborhoods, and jobseekers.
David is a graduate of the University of Delaware where he received a B.A. in International Relations with minors in History and Economics.
Assistant Commissioner, Technology and Chief Information Security Officer (CISO)
Stephen Fisher is the Assistant Commissioner for Technology for the NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS) and serves as the agency's Chief Information Security Officer (CISO). In this role, Stephen leads the day-to-day management of all critical agency technology operations and network infrastructure, software applications, and databases. He represents the agency in citywide technology forums to ensure cooperation and integration of data services across agencies.
Stephen began his technical career as a customer support technician with IBM/TSS where he was responsible for repairing technology hardware. He trained himself to become a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer and was hired by MCI as a Network Administrator at one of their local city offices. Stephen joined SBS as a Network Administrator and during his time here, has assisted the agency through several major networking migration projects and network security audits. Prior to his current position, he served as the agency's Executive Director of Technology Operations. Stephen is also a U.S. Air Force veteran who served for four years throughout the United States and Europe as a Ground Radio Communication Specialist.
Stephen received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the New York Institute of Technology.
Neighborhood Development Division
Calvin T. Brown
Deputy Commissioner, Neighborhood Development Division
Calvin T. Brown is the Deputy Commissioner for Neighborhood Development at the NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS). In this role, he manages three program areas – Neighborhood Planning, Capacity Building, and Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) - that are aimed at assisting in the creation and support of community-based development organizations (CBDOs) advancing the growth of commercial districts across the five boroughs.
Calvin is a planning professional with nearly two decades of experience. He previously worked at the NYC Department of City Planning (DCP) as a senior planner, where he supervised project managers working in Upper Manhattan. As the senior planner, he supervised the East Harlem Neighborhood Rezoning Team and worked closely with other divisions within DCP, other City agencies, elected officials, and community stakeholders.
Calvin has a B.A. in Urban Studies and a master's in Urban Planning from CUNY Hunter College, and a Ph.D. in Urban and Public Policy from the Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy.
Assistant Commissioner, Neighborhood Development Division
Raquel Olivares is a Lower East Side resident who has a passion for social justice and a demonstrated record of strengthening commercial districts. She holds an associate degree in Office Management from ASA and a Bachelor of Arts in Business Management from St. Joseph's College. As an immigrant herself, Raquel understands the challenges of learning a new culture and the many public systems necessary to achieve success. She is grateful for the trust she has established with local merchants, most of whom are also immigrants, and she is committed to working with the diverse residents and stakeholders of New York City to make all communities a great place to work and live.
As Assistant Commissioner of the Neighborhood Development Division at the NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS), Raquel assists with the daily supervision and management of the division to ensure successful delivery and fulfillment of program objectives and outcomes. The division works with community partners to identify local commercial district needs and plan targeted, customized solutions offering training, tools, and one-on-one assistance to build the capacity of local community-based organizations administering grant programs to revitalize, strengthen, and support commercial districts.
Previously, Raquel served as the Executive Director of the Woodhaven Business Improvement District (BID), where she was responsible for the day-to-day functions of the organization and executed programming and services for commercial tenants and residents along a 25-block stretch of Jamaica Avenue that includes 369 ground floor storefronts. Raquel advocated to City agencies and elected officials for services to support and enhance the district and to encourage capital projects.
Raquel also previously worked at Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation as a Program Director. While at Cypress Hills, she conducted a Commercial District Needs Assessment (CDNA) in partnership with SBS and implemented a multitude of organizing, marketing, and revitalization programming based on the needs identified through the CDNA. As part of her work, Raquel organized dozens of local merchants to not only report on their needs but provided them with the tools and support needed to develop into leaders that would later guide the future of their commercial district. As a result of this effort, Raquel spearheaded the development of a merchants association with more than 50 active members. She is proud to have implemented several initiatives that have strengthened the Fulton Street corridor and is excited about many more successes that will soon come as a result of its dedicated merchants.
Workforce Development Division
Deputy Commissioner, Workforce Development Division
Yurij Pawluk is Deputy Commissioner of the Workforce Development Division at the NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS), and leads the SBS team responsible for connecting New Yorkers to good jobs and career paths.
Yurij has devoted his career to creating and enhancing employment and education opportunities for underserved communities. He most recently served as an Associate Commissioner at the NYC Administration for Children's Services, where he designed, implemented, and managed a portfolio of education, internship, job training, apprenticeship, and college access programs for young people in the foster care and juvenile justice systems. Yurij's career in City government includes time at City Hall, the Department of Education, and the Human Resources Administration, where he worked in the aftermath of the 9/11 tragedy to support the launch of Workforce1. He also has prior experience as a higher education administrator at Columbia University's School of Professional Studies and Wellesley College, developing cutting-edge programs designed to meet the needs of students and employers.
Yurij is a graduate of Cornell University and Columbia Law School, and lives in Brooklyn.
Assistant Commissioner, Workforce1
Je'Nean Jones-Seo currently serves as the Assistant Commissioner for Workforce1 at the NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS). In this role, Je'Nean is responsible for leading the overall strategy, design and operations of the network of Workforce1 Career Centers across New York City. With a goal of connecting New Yorkers to quality employment, Je'Nean oversees Employer Engagement, the development and implementation of Candidate Services and manages the Community Partners Program at SBS.
In her previous role as Executive Director of Center-Based Programs, Je'Nean was responsible creating customized workforce development programs targeting Veterans, justice-involved individuals, out of school and out of work (OSOW) Youth, foreign-born New Yorkers, and the general population. Her dedication and passion to the work played an instrumental role in connecting 20,000+ New York jobseekers to opportunities across the 5 boroughs every year.
A graduate of Indiana University, with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, Je'Nean remains committed to ensuring that all New Yorkers have equal access to career opportunities in order to better support both themselves and their families.
Assistant Commissioner, Training
Assistant Commissioner, Budget and Reporting