Small businesses are vital to the wellbeing of California, and the impact of Covid-19 on their operations is proving to be devastating for many. While federal and state support has provided critical relief to some businesses, major gaps still exist.
Join us to learn more about the state of small business relief in California right now, discuss how key philanthropic partners are organizing their responses, and discover ways in which supporting small business might have a downstream effect on many of the other issues philanthropy seeks to address.
Isabel Casillas Guzman, Director, Office of the Small Business Advocate
Isabel Casillas Guzman is California’s Director of the Office of the Small Business Advocate and leads the Entrepreneurship Task Force for the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development. Prior to her appointment, Isabel was a consultant in technology commercialization and an entrepreneur who co-founded an advisory firm focused on helping small business contractors leverage the federal marketplace. Isabel previously served in the Obama Administration as the Deputy Chief of Staff at the U.S. Small Business Administration. Before joining the Obama Administration, Guzman co-founded small businesses and advised founders, growth companies and Fortune 1000s across multiple sectors.
Luz Urrutia, Chief Executive Officer, Opportunity Fund
Luz Urrutia is CEO of Opportunity Fund, the nation's leading nonprofit lender to small businesses. She is a recognized financial services pioneer and an executive with a track record of leading change, bringing new solutions to market, investing in the future of consumers and small businesses, raising capital, and driving scale. Her career has been focused on financial services and serving underserved populations across society—from unbanked/underbanked immigrants to the previously banked, to small business owners.
Luz has successfully led numerous organizations through change, including guiding a start-up bank for Hispanic immigrants, geographically expanding to an early stage consumer lender, and transitioning an established global financial services provider from payday lending. Previously, Luz was Vice President of Retail Sales & Service at Oportun, Co-Founder and President/Chief Operating Office at El Banco de Nuestra Comunidad, and Managing Director at Wachovia Bank.
Erica Wood, Executive Vice President, Community Impact, Silicon Valley Community Foundation
As the executive vice president, Erica leads SVCF’s efforts to identify and respond to the most challenging issues facing the San Francisco Bay Area region. In this role she oversees the institution’s discretionary grantmaking programs, strategic initiatives, research and convening activities. She also supports the institution’s public policy and advocacy work on board-prioritized issues.
Erica joined the community foundation in 2003 and has held several senior leadership positions including vice president and senior vice president of community leadership and grantmaking. Under her leadership the organization has received numerous awards for its work in economic security, early learning and education, immigration and land use planning.
Prior to joining the foundation, Erica was the director of research and evaluation at Applied Survey Research in Santa Cruz, California. While there she led the firm’s community assessment and major evaluation projects throughout the State.
Erica graduated with honors from the University of California at Santa Cruz and studied in Spain and Mexico. She serves on the board of the Community Action Agency in San Mateo County and is a current fellow of the American Leadership Forum – Silicon Valley Chapter.
Erica lives in Half Moon Bay with her husband, Jesse and daughter, Paloma.