Sierra SBDCServing Modoc, Lassen, Nevada, Placer, El Dorado, Sierra and Plumas County

Our Team

The Sierra SBDC is staffed with experienced leaders who assist SBDC clients grow and develop their businesses.

Megan Arneson

Business Advisor

Megan is an entrepreneur, business coach and consultant with over 15 years experience across multiple industries. She holds an MBA in Sustainable Management and BA in Communications.

Having lived in South Lake Tahoe, Truckee, and now the Foothills, she is passionate about helping small businesses thrive in the Sierra region. Her specialties include business planning, marketing/communications and branding, sales, start-up systems and operations, and strategic planning.

Tanya Barron

Business Advisor

Tanya is an independent contractor specializing in QuickBooks Services & Consulting.  She has over 20 years of combined experience in Bookkeeping, Payroll, QuickBooks Training, Customer Service, Professional Organizing and Marketing & Sales.  She is passionate in helping clients focus on what is essential, so they can focus their energies on what brings the greatest rewards. Learn more about Tanya

Jessica Carr

Business Advisor

Jessica Carr is the Program Manager at the Sierra Small Business Development Center at Sierra Business Council. Jessica has worked for small businesses and nonprofits all over Northern California. She thrives in dynamic work environments contributing to all aspects of operating and growing independent companies and specializes in social media strategy. Jessica received BA degrees in both Geography and Spanish with a minor in General Business from the University of Denver. 

Tracy Owen Chapman

Business Advisor

Tracy is owner of TOC Consulting specializing in brand development, marketing strategy and community outreach. During her more than 20 year business career in the Lake Tahoe region, Tracy has worked across a variety of industries including: hotel/casino, ski resort, academic, environmental redevelopment, media, agency and tourism. Her background has focused on target market engagement and marketing strategy for diverse offerings such as retail, real estate, new products and business openings covering both the private and public sectors. Tracy works in South and North Lake Tahoe and Truckee.

Evelyn Fassett

Business Advisor

Evelyn is a long-time Nevada County resident who enjoys supporting her local community. She has a technical background that varies from working at The Grass Valley Group as a software engineer, to teaching WordPress at Sierra Commons and Placer School for Adults, to providing WordPress websites and help with other technology needs through her business Technology For Tender Hearts. Evelyn is also an instructor for the Sierra Commons Business Ignitor course in Nevada City.  Her specialty is working with people who might not feel comfortable with technology, and this may have held them back from sharing their talents and businesses with the online world.

Clyde Green

Business Advisor

Clyde created and taught the “Business Basics” and business plan workshops for the SBDC since 2001.  He has over 20 years of experience in directing general services for a major life insurance companies home office operations including field office locations in thirteen western states.  In addition, Clyde has 10 years of experience in health care, directing facilities management, and support services in multiple acute and non-acute care facilities.

Craig Hollingsworth

Business Advisor

Craig has had a long history of providing support for businesses in California. Throughout his career he has worked in the hospitality and resort industry helping businesses start up, loan readiness, financial management, and strategy. Currently Craig works in South Lake Tahoe. 

Dan Keenan

Business Advisor

Dan is a web developer, graphic designer, SEO strategist, and owner of Hatchback Creative in South Lake Tahoe. Dan comes from a non-profit background and specializes in building brand identities, creating marketing pieces, and developing engaging websites that effectively reach their target audiences.

Dave McDougall

Business Advisor

Dave received his MBA from Rider University then obtained his position as the CEO of a $12 million dollar, 100+ employee, multi-location service company in the Bay Area. Dave brings a strong background in both the corporate and entrepreneurial worlds having owned his own business since the mid 1980’s and worked with several Fortune 500 companies. Dave concentrates in the following areas: Financial Management, Business Planning, Economic Feasibility, Cash Flow, Budgeting, and Financial Statement Analysis.

Barbara Read

Business Advisor

Barbara is an adjunct faculty member at CSU-Sacramento teaching Marketing and Entrepreneurship. Her work focuses on business and marketing strategy development.She specializes in transforming and enhancing the mission, vision, values, and branding of organizations. Barbara works in Auburn, Grass Valley, Nevada City areas.

Ruth Schwartz

Business Advisor

Ruth Schwartz spent 25 years in the music industry and 10 years on the radio; owned a publishing company and a syndicated radio program; produced records; ran a mail order company; and in 1983 started and built a $10 million sales, distribution company called Mordam Records.

Today, Ruth is an internationally certified (PCC) business leadership coach, motivational speaker, author of the book The Key to the Golden Handcuffs: Stop Being a Slave to Your Business, and the facilitator of Business Mastermind Groups. Highly trained in behavior and motivation assessments, she is the owner of High Performance Advocates, a management and leadership development coaching company, and the creator of the Fail Proof Hiring System. She is an enthusiast for working with successful entrepreneurs, start ups and business leaders who are tired of task and employee management and are ready to create change.

John Smulo

Business Advisor

John Smulo is the CEO and founder of the highly successful Purple Cow Agency, an innovative marketing firm that has worked with hundreds of businesses across multiple sectors and industries to develop specialized websites, create targeted marketing strategies, and implement best practice digital marketing systems and processes. He has also been involved in multiple startup tech companies, including most recently the restaurant tech startup, Feast. Working from the perspective that marketing and sales are essential to one another, John walks clients through the thought process of discovering their ideal customer and analyzing their needs and values as consumers. Utilizing his extensive business experience, John has taught courses such as the New Ventures business planning course for the Contra Costa SBDC. He has also shared his expertise as a guest lecturer on digital marketing strategies for JFK University, as well as Berkeley City College. John is now concurrently a business advisor for the Sierra SBDC, as well as the Solano SBDC. His primary focus is assisting his clients with the growth of their revenue streams through targeted marketing strategies, and ultimately the successful continuation of their businesses.

Hillary Talbot

Business Advisor

Hillary has a decade of experience scaling small businesses through the San Francisco Bay Area and Reno/Tahoe region. In 2011, she founded être to guide companies past the obstacles that often cause them to stumble—lack of a strategic plan, diffculty obtaining funding and management issues.

In 2018, she founded Sail Community Capital to help startups and small business access capital through their communities via Regulation Crowdfunding. Sail helps each client prepare its offering, tell its story, select a platform and market its raise.

Hillary is also a business advisor at the Sierra Small Business Development Center and a financial advisor at the Silicon Valley Small Business Development Center.

Robert Trent

Business Advisor

Robert has been consulting with Nevada County businesses for twenty years.  His for-profit marketing communication company Velocity7 assisted local “mom and pop” businesses, corporations, government organizations, and NGO’s with planning, outreach, marketing, and public relations.  As the founder of Nevada City’s non-profit business incubator Sierra Commons, Robert has consulted with and taught hundreds of entrepreneurs - helping them plan, launch, grow, and sell their businesses. Robert was also Executive Director of the Nevada County Economic  Resource Council, Development Director for an agricultural non-profit, and has launched several businesses of his own. With a broad understanding of what it takes for businesses to survive and thrive, Robert brings his expertise to SBDC clients who are inspired to take their businesses to the next level.

Leslie Williams

Business Advisor

Leslie has a 30 year history in banking, most recently with US Bank in Auburn as the Vice President of the SBA Division. She brings expertise to clients in access to capital, general business, financing, loan readiness, accounting, recordkeeping, and business plan development. Leslie specializes in general business consulting for small businesses looking to grow, as well as assisting entrepreneurs looking to start a new business with strategy and structure. In addition to consulting, Leslie works as the Outreach Coordinator for the SBDC, expanding awareness to potential clients all over the region. 

Kristin York

Business Advisor

Kristin York is the Director of Business Innovation for the NE CA Sierra Small Business Development Center at Sierra Business Council. Kristin leverages her 20 years of experience in strategic planning, finance, operations, marketing, training, and business transformation to assist businesses in the Sierra thrive economically while understanding their environmental and social impact.

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Funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA or HSU Sponsored Programs Foundation.

Funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration. All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA or HSU Sponsored Programs Foundation.