Thank you for this honor. As a long-time small business owner and former local nonprofit executive, I know how important our Bay Area communities are in making this one of the most entrepreneurial places in the world. At Square, I head up Small Business and Community Advocacy, and I am in awe of the creativity, innovation, and inspiration of the small business and nonprofit communities here in the Bay. Being a small business owner is one of the greatest gifts of my career. You get to be an employer, demonstrating compassion and building a ladder for growth. You get to be an operator, learning that every business decision has an impact. You get to be a neighbor, demonstrating hospitality, and the guests you serve or support — they become family.
You become a part of the fabric of a neighborhood. With that sense of belonging, I began to advocate for my neighborhood, co-founding a merchants’ association and joining local trade and nonprofit boards.
Through these experiences I learned that there was more to do, which led me to advocate for policies that support other small businesses so that they too can start, run, and grow. In this year, more than any, this work is critical and I strive to continue serving our communities across the country, and especially here in the Bay.