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SBA Administrator Uses Story to Grab Attention

By January 25, 2023July 25th, 2023No Comments
Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman sits down to talk with Erinn Roth, veteran and owner of Ms. Jo’s Petite Sweets.

As a small business contractor to the Federal Government, I subscribe to the SBA’s newsletter. On the recent Veterans Day, I received an email from SBA Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman. And what immediately caught my attention, was the first few words — “Tucked among the bright brick-line shops…” I knew right away, she was telling a story.

Storytelling in this case, is a mix of Storytelling for Customer Service and Storytelling for Outreach (Sales to my friends in for profits). The Administrator illustrates through the story of Erinn Roth, a small business owner and veteran, what the SBA has and can do for the reader. It is chock full of messages that promise, what we call, A Better Tomorrow Message.

Here’s the email in full, with the various links from Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman. Enjoy…


Hello Friend,

Tucked among the bright brick-lined shops of Old Alexandria, just out of view of the National Harbor, stands a small artisanal bake shop called Ms. Jo’s Petite Sweets. Go inside and you’ll be met by the smell of sugar rising from rows of freshly baked cupcakes and other treats.

This is a small business that just makes you feel happy when you walk in the door. Nothing about it would tell you its owner, a retired Army lieutenant colonel, had faced the darkest days of a global pandemic.

Last week, during National Veterans Small Business Week, I had the opportunity to visit Ms. Jo’s Petite Sweets and meet its owner and founder, Erinn Roth, who exemplifies the heralded veteran can-do spirit, grit, and agility.

Erinn opened her new food business in tribute to her mother, Ms. Jo, shortly after retiring from military service. I am so pleased that she persevered. Combined with skills and knowledge she gained through SBA’s Boots to Business program, Erinn used her experience as an officer to lead her team to success. As a result, her customers, her community and all of us reap the benefits: the creation of jobs and more opportunities, and a selection of Southern-inspired desserts.

We value Erinn and the nearly two million veteran entrepreneurs and countless military family-owned small businesses that are moving America’s economy forward every day.

At the SBA, we are always striving to help them harness their incredible strengths, and to empower them with the resources and support they need to start, grow and build resilient businesses.

In that spirit, I am proud to share the upcoming launch of the SBA’s Veteran Small Business Certification Program, a new program that will open the doors of opportunity for more veteran entrepreneurs to grow their businesses through the largest buyer in the world – the federal government. We are aiming to make this certification program the gold standard in customer experience and support to ensure we expand our base of veteran federal contractors.

And that’s just the beginning.

We’re lowering barriers to capital for veteran and military family entrepreneurs through Lender Match and other programs and helping Main Street navigate everyday challenges. We’re working to grow opportunities for federal contracting, and increasing access to knowledge resources through our Veterans Business Outreach Centers (VBOCs) across our programs. We owe our veterans the best, and, at the SBA, supporting our veterans and military families is a mission we commit ourselves to every day.

This Veterans Day, let’s each do our part to support our local veteran and military family-owned businesses by shopping, dining, experiencing, and promoting them.

And I hope you will join me in a few weeks as we launch this exciting new SBA program supporting our military-connected entrepreneurs. If you know a veteran or military family member who might find this information useful, please share this email.

To all who have served in our nation’s military and armed forces: thank you.

Happy Veterans Day!

Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman

Ira Koretsky

Ira Koretsky is the CEO of The Chief Storyteller®. He helps you improve performance and employee engagement with better communication. Storytelling in all its forms is his secret sauce. He is also an adjunct professor in public speaking, storytelling, and data storytelling at the University of Maryland Robert H. Smith School of Business. With over 25 years of experience, he is a sought-after global speaker, trainer, consultant, and coach for storytelling and public speaking.