Ep. 99: Lessons, with Maria Contreras-Sweet

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Ep. 99: Lessons, with Maria Contreras-Sweet

Author(s)
Michael Milken
Michael Milken
Chairman, Milken Institute

Episode 99 : Lessons, with Maria Contreras-Sweet

Maria Contreras-Sweet

Former Administrator, U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)

“Venture capital is concentrated in...three states: California, Massachusetts, and New York. We know that not all the good ideas come from those three places. And so it's really important that we think hard about how we make sure that all small businesses can access capital.”

With a career that effortlessly spans public and private sectors, including successful forays into entrepreneurism and philanthropy, Maria Contreras-Sweet is lauded for her ability to bring efficiencies and modernization to large scale organizations. Her tenure as the 24th Administrator of the Small Business Administration was noted for record-breaking results in lending, investments, and contracting. A proud immigrant, Contreras-Sweet has never forgotten her family’s journey nor the lessons it taught her.

“I still remember being the 4th grade milk monitor and writing to my grandmother to say, ‘I'm now in charge of something,’” she tells Mike. “And she said, ‘It's not about the titles that you have. It's about what you do with the titles that you have.’ And so, I found ways to make sure that all the kids—even though they didn't have the nickel for milk—that I was the right kind of gatekeeper and offered them free milk. That's how it all started.”

Published September 15, 2020