What is “A Moment With”? The Women’s Business Development Center is pleased to continue with our series, “A Moment With”, where we periodically highlight some of our greatest supporters and partners, sharing their career experiences and advice. This month, we will be highlighting Geraldine “Geri” Sanchez Aglipay, Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator, Region V.
Meet Regional Administrator Geri Aglipay: As Region V Administrator, Geri Sanchez Aglipay oversees SBA programs, offices, and operations in the SBA’s Great Lakes region, serving Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin. With over 20 years of experience in entrepreneurship and economic development, she is passionate about strengthening collaborative innovation across sectors and industries to create more equitable paths to financial security for small business owners and the self-employed, especially for socially and economically disadvantaged communities. Prior to SBA, she served as Director of the Midwest Region and National Director of Women’s Entrepreneurship for Small Business Majority; served as commissioner of the Cook County Commission for Social Innovation; co-chair of Racial Wealth Gap Committee of Financial Inclusion for All Illinois; and on the advisory council of HHS NIOSH Center of Excellence UIC Center for Healthy Work. Geri is the first Filipino American Regional Administrator at SBA and the first Filipino American woman in a senior regional appointment by a U.S. president at a cabinet level federal agency.
She is a graduate of Bradley University and pursued graduate study in community development finance from the University of New Hampshire.
We asked: Tell us about a piece of your childhood that shaped your career.
Regional Administrator Aglipay shared: A part of my childhood that shaped my career was observing the resilience and strength of my mother after my father’s passing. From unexpected medical expenses to navigating being a single mother, I watched my mother’s experience and was inspired to devote my career towards sharing resources and information with individuals who do not have the same privilege and access as others. Later in life, I was also inspired to continue on this career path by the strong women and colleagues who dealt with financial insecurity, racial bias and discrimination, and lack of resources for starting a business. Through my career, and programs such as the Chicago Community Trust’s Chicagoland Workforce Funder Alliance, we are able to create a more diverse and equitable working environment.
A Turning Point
We asked: Where do you look to for creativity?
Regional Administrator Aglipay shared: To me, I have found that understanding what my strengths are helps foster creativity – first understanding my individual skillset and then turning those skills into creative assets. I think it can be difficult, in any setting, to really understand or find our strengths. A few years ago, I was fortunate enough to participate in a program, specifically for women of color in the nonprofit space, in which we were guided through the CliftonStrengths, previously known as StrengthsFinder. This experience allowed me to not only recognize natural strengths I knew that I needed to lean more into, but it cultivated a space in which I was able to frame them in a way that was salient for myself.
We asked: What is your favorite quote?
Regional Administrator Aglipay shared: “Know History, Know Self. No History, No Self.” – Jose Rizal. This quote has always spoken to me because it makes us question how we identify with our past and how does that then impact where we feel we belong. I also think it speaks to the importance of identity and what fabric we are part of. Why do we do the things we do, and how do we then contribute and give back?
Thank you, Geri Aglipay, for participating in “A Moment With”; we are proud to call you a loyal friend of the WBDC.