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.

Kristin York

VP of Business Innovation and SBDC Director

Kristin York is the Vice President of Business Innovation for the 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.

Jessica Carr

Associate Director

Jessica Carr is the Associate Director 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. She loves her job assisting small businesses across the Sierra, and for work/life balance you can usually find her somewhere outside with her husband and son!

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

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.

Heather Hawkins

Business Advisor

Heather Hawkins is a brand strategy and visibility consultant specializing in transformative technology and human performance. Over a 20+ year career, she's contributed to brand launch strategies for Sony, Sega, divisions of Apple, CLIF Bar, CamelBak-- even David Bowie and Maroon 5. Her work includes helping early-stage start-ups craft a compelling brand story and define their larger mission in a way that attracts the attention of investors, potential employees, customers and media. 
Two years ago, she left the city life behind to start her consultancy, Elevation Strategy, in Truckee, CA. When she's not educating and empowering brands to get wildly visible, she's an avid endurance junkie, trail ultrarunner, stand-up paddleboarder and Crossfitter. 

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.

Marina Marenco

Business Advisor

Marina has over 35 years of experience working as an accountant for several local businesses and most recently as CFO for Tahoe Dave’s Skis and Boards for the past 28 years. She has a strong understanding of the local business environment and the challenges businesses face in an ever-changing market. Over the years she has counseled numerous business with their start up planning and assisted with accounting system implementation and transitional projects such as Point of Sale and Rental Systems.

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.

Ed Steinglass

Business Advisor

Ed started his career in sales and product management at IBM before going on to lead corporate marketing and national sales teams at smaller companies. Then helped a variety of hardware and software start-ups position and promote their products and obtain their first sales. He spent the last twenty years as a business owner, continuously growing and re-inventing the business, managing both day-to-day operations and long-term strategic activities. His client focus is on product positioning, sourcing and supply chain issues, sales channel strategies and effective QuickBooks implementation.

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. 


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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.