Where Is She Now? Jennifer Deamud
COO, Small Business Development Center
When Jennifer was selected as Volunteer of the Year in 2015, she was the COO / associate state director for the Small Business Development Center. Since this time she was selected by the board of directors of the National Association of Small Business Development Centers to serve as one of twenty-two national accreditors. In her role as COO she engages with community leaders and small business owners to ensure the right resources are available to help small businesses succeed in all of Michigan’s 83 counties. Still, she has continued to make time to share her expertise well beyond her “role as COO” through GROW and many other organizations. Here is a glimpse at what she’s been up to since last fall.
Q. What types of entrepreneurial work/events or woman focused community events have you participated in since Seeds of Growth 2015?
Over the past year I’ve been engaged with the Michigan’s Women’s Foundation to collaborate on activities and share information/resources to help women interested in entrepreneurship.
I’ve had the opportunity to be part of the Women’s Resource Center’s program evaluation committee, teach a Word basics class and humbly be engaged as a mentor in their “New Beginnings” prisoner re-entry program.
I also have the honor of being the Chair of the Grand Rapids Chambers ATHENA program. And I write a monthly syndicated business column for Women’s Lifestyle magazine.
Q. How has the recognition from GROW for the 2015 Volunteer of the Year award changed your outlook on your work or role at SBDC? In the community?
It’s an exciting time to be an entrepreneur in Michigan. There are a number of programs across the state to help entrepreneurs launch and grow their businesses. When collaboration is at the core of these programs the entrepreneurs win. Spending time with community programs provides me with an opportunity to assess how programs can align to help individuals and small business owners. The outcome of these collaborations is stronger communities
If anything, my outlook has changed to see even more opportunity for collaboration through our different organizations who support individuals who want to start or already own their own business.
Q. You’d mentioned you’re a committee member for one of the GROW board committees. What made you want to get involved with the board?
I decided to get involved with GROW because I believe in their mission to help entrepreneurs, especially women, start and grow their businesses. The fund development board committee I’ve served on has a distinct purpose to assess GROW’s financial sustainability and develop approaches to ensure GROW has the financial resources to advance their mission. GROW is an asset to our community and I have a sincere desire to help them be in our community for many decades to come.
Q. What else can you share about your experience as a GROW Volunteer of the Year Award winner, and your outlook on women entrepreneurs here in West Michigan?
Strengthening our communities is a responsibility we should all take seriously. Whether you give back financially or give your time, there are endless opportunities to share your resources with community members that need support and encouragement. Organizations like GROW need your support.
It’s very exciting to see first-hand that more women are choosing entrepreneurship. There have been a number of articles discussing this trend. According to Kauffman, startup activities across the nation are on the rise (for the past two years). Women are playing a role in this increase of startup activity as they decide to pursue their interests in entrepreneurship. Engaging with entrepreneurship through volunteering at GROW and my role at the Small Business Development Center allows me to be part of this trend.