• Priscilla Cordero, Director

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    Priscilla Cordero is the Director of the Illinois Small Business Development Center at Governors State University and is responsible for marketing the services to the Chicago Southland region, consulting with small business owners, and managing the center. She was previously Marketing and Lending Team Manager at Accion Chicago, where she managed a team of loan officers, headed up bank outreach in the Chicago area, and led marketing efforts in the southland region and Northwest Indiana. In her tenure at Accion, she closed $3 million in microloans totaling 24% of the organization’s entire production from 2004-2013.

    She is not new to the Illinois SBDC network, having worked as a finance and loan specialist at the Women’s Business Development Center in Chicago. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Economics with a concentration in Economic Development from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is also a GrowthWheel certified Business Advisor.

    Priscilla serves as co-chair on the Friends of Habitat for Humanity Board, is a loan committee member for the Northside Community Federal Credit Union, and is a committed member of the Downtown Homewood Business Association where she currently resides. She is passionate about economic development in the southland region and helping small businesses overcome challenges in order to grow.

  • Lauren Esolato, Business Advisor

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    Lauren Esolato is a Business Advisor with the Illinois Small Business Development Center at Governors State University. She has worked with local small businesses in different capacities for the last 5 years, and has been with the SBDC since 2012.

    Lauren conducts seminars on a range of topics and works one on one with entrepreneurs coaching them on their entrepreneurial journey towards success. Lauren graduated from The University of Dubuque with a Bachelor’s in Environmental Science and has a wide array of small business and financial experience including working within the Small Business Banking division at a local bank.

    She resides in Tinley Park and is active within her local business community, participating in the South Side NetWorking Women’s group on various committees, the Civil Service Senate of Governors State University, and as an active board member of the Tinley Park Jaycees. Lauren enjoys getting to know local business owners and assisting them achieve their goals and dreams.

  • Hongxia (Mary) Ma, Director of ITC

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    Mary Ma is the Director of the Illinois International Trade Center at Governors State University. She is responsible for providing targeted, high-impact services for export companies, including consulting and training , market research, technical assistance in trading, logistics, and financing. A current client received the 2011 Illinois Export Award. Another client acquired the SBA Export of the Year Award in 2012. With her continuous contribution, her center has achieved the 2013 Governor’s Export Awards for export awareness and development. She was also honored with the Daily Herald Business Ledger’s 16th Annual Influential Women in Business award in 2013.

    Mary has extensive experience in international trade and global logistics management as an executive with a Fortune 500 Chinese ocean shipping company, and has worked in China, New Zealand and managed overseas companies in Singapore, Japan, Korea and Greece before her current position. She was a volunteer business counselor at SCORE Fox Valley as well.

    Mary has a MA in international trade and supply chain management from the University of International Business and Economics in China. She also received an MBA degree and Certification of Public Administration from Northern Illinois University. She holds a NASBITE Certified Global Business Professional (CGBP) credential and Certified Business Development Advisor designated by the Illinois Entrepreneurship and Small Business Growth Association.

  • Bob Rakstang, Consultant

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    Bob draws on his first hand experiences of 35 years of ownership and management responsibilities in all areas of a growing international manufacturing business including strategic planning, sales and market planning, new product introductions and acquisitions. Bob was previously the Assistant Director of the Illinois Small Business Development Center at Governors State University for 6 years.

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