Meet Our Team Of Experts

meet with andy

Andy Pham

Director, Illinois SBDC at The Joseph Center®

Andy Pham is the Director of the Illinois Small Business Development Center at the Joseph Center®. Since joining the SBDC in 2018, Andy has been a valuable asset to the team and at the start of 2022, he was promoted to Director. With nearly ten years of leadership experience, he regularly conducts business and entrepreneurship workshops such as Start Your Business in Illinois, Developing Your Brand Using Digital Fabrication, and Hiring Your First Employee.

Mr. Pham specializes in advising both emerging and established entrepreneurs in all areas of business, from marketing and financials to the protection of intellectual property. Simultaneously, he is a volunteer advisor and evaluator at JBS. Previously, he served as the Medical Educational Program Coordinator before becoming an academic advisor at the University of Illinois, College of Medicine. Andy Pham holds a bachelor’s of science in biology from the University of Illinois at Chicago and is a 2014 graduate of the JBS nine-month entrepreneurial program. He is also a GrowthWheel Certified Advisor and Certified Business Development Advisor (CBDA).

meet with brittney

Brittney Wallace

Business Advisor, Illinois SBDC at The Joseph Center®

Brittney Wallace is a Business Advisor at the Illinois Small Business Development Center at The Joseph Center®. As an advisor, she provides support local businesses who are in need of assistance. From human resources to organizational process and structure to implementation of business strategies to digital marketing, Brittney has a passion for helping entrepreneurs go from good to great and great to excellent. She has experience in organizational development and design, program development and delivery, client management, human resources, as well as conducting market research. She also helps in conducting business and entrepreneurship trainings such as the monthly Start Your Business in Illinois Workshop.

Brittney previously worked as a human resources professional for Living Word Christian Center’s human resources department. Prior to becoming an advisor, she was the program coordinator for the SBDC-ITC-APEX Accelerator at the Joseph Center®. In 2017, Brittney received her Professional in Human Resources (PHR) Certification, which signifies specialized training and knowledge in the HR sector. She is also a Certified Business Development Advisor (CBDA), as well as a GrowthWheel Certified Advisor. Brittney is a graduate of DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois where she obtained her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Organizational Leadership.

meet with Shanna

Shanna Smith

Business Advisor, Illinois SBDC at The Joseph Center®

Shanna Smith is a Business Advisor at the Illinois Small Business Development Center at The Joseph Center®. She is passionate about helping entrepreneurs and small business owners achieve success by gaining and creating clarity and pathways to operational efficiency. Along with assisting entrepreneurs to start and grow their businesses, Shanna is an expert in organizational development and the mental and wellness mindset. She has experience aiding corporate businesses in the service provider arena, to create programs and training to accurately support and transition their staff in various ways.

Shanna has a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry, Biology and Sociology from Millikin University in Decatur, Illinois and a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Concordia University in River Forest, Illinois. She uses her mental health counseling background to support entrepreneurs and business owners in identifying and clarifying their blind spots so they can create strategic plans for operational execution.

meet with Lisa

Lisa Cherivtch

Director, Illinois ITC at The Joseph Center®

Lisa Cherivtch is the Director of the Illinois International Trade Center at The Joseph Center®. She is a Certified Global Business Professional that helps small and medium-sized businesses bridge borders and thrive in new markets. Lisa also assists in the navigation of regulatory landscapes, works with companies to tailor their export plans, and connects them to various resources and networks.

In addition, Lisa is a college professor where she creates dynamic curricula infused with cultural awareness and real-world challenges to prepare students for the complexities of international business. She has a MBA from DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois and is driven by a passion for empowerment and impact. Lisa is building a world where education and trade pave the way for a flourishing future.

meet with Diane

Diane Gist

International Trade Specialist / Business Advisor, Illinois SBDC-ITC at The Joseph Center®

Diane Gist is an International Trade Specialist and Business Advisor at the Illinois Small Business Development Center and Illinois International Trade Center at The Joseph Center®. She brings more than 15 years of experience and expert knowledge in human resources, labor and employee relations, and policy and compliance. Previously, she was the Chief Compliance Officer for United Airlines, Inc. where she successfully developed a compliance investigation department, created, and delivered diversity training for the organization’s global workforce.

Diane has a passion for social responsibility instrumental in connecting individual power with an organization’s strengths for executing strategies and achieving visionary goals. She earned her master’s degree in Social Science from DePaul University, two HR Certifications; SHRM-SCP and HRCI SPHR. Diane is an instructor at The Joseph Business School, an internationally accredited business institution for entrepreneurs where she teaches Business Leadership. She is also an intermediate tennis player with the USTA and an avid reader.

meet with Pierre

Pierre Dunagan

International Trade Specialist / Business Advisor, Illinois SBDC-ITC at The Joseph Center®

Pierre Dunagan is an International Trade Specialist and Business Advisor at the Illinois Small Business Development Center and Illinois International Trade Center at The Joseph Center®. He provides technical assistance to companies that seek to grow their businesses by means of international trade and exporting. This assistance includes developing export business plans, target market research, resource referrals and export readiness planning.

Pierre brings with him a wealth of experience in advising, coaching and consulting small and medium size businesses, particularly in the area of finance. He utilizes his extensive background in finance to assist clients in identifying potential avenues to finance cross border transactions. Pierre has a bachelor’s degree in Organizational Leadership and Management from North Park University in Chicago, Illinois. He is also an Instructor at the Joseph Business School, our host location’s entrepreneurial business school.

meet with chris

Chris Hollingsworth

Director, Illinois APEX Accelerator at The Joseph Center®

Chris Hollingsworth is the Director of the Illinois APEX Accelerator (formerly the Procurement Technical Assistance Center) at the Joseph Center®. Chris joined the team with over six year’s experience as an APEX Accelerator Director. Previously he was responsible for overseeing NORBIC’s Procurement Technical Assistance Center. NORBIC was a regional economic development organization that promoted job growth through professional and technical services to small businesses with a particular focus on manufacturing. The organization worked to revitalize Northeast Illinois’ manufacturing base and retain and create new jobs through a partnership with the Alliance for Industry and Manufacturing.

In this role, Chris assisted Northern Illinois companies with improving their current government procurement initiatives; including, solicitation/RFP analysis, proposal creation assistance, market research, contract administration assistance, and customized computerized bid matching service. He has an extensive background in sales and marketing in the consumer product goods and foodservice equipment sectors of business, where he initiated his government sales experience and was vital to incremental revenue growth for those organizations.

He gained knowledge of developing and implementing government marketing strategies within these market segments through initiating and negotiating General Service Administration (GSA) contracts and pricing with a variety of government agencies. Additionally, Chris served as a Medical Corpsman in the US Navy and holds a BS in Business Administration from Indiana University-Bloomington.

meet with Marcus

Marcus Streeter

Procurement Advisor, Illinois APEX Accelerator at The Joseph Center®

Marcus Streeter is a Procurement Advisor at the Illinois APEX Accelerator at The Joseph Center®. With a seasoned professional career spanning over a decade, Marcus initially honed his financial acumen in the high-stakes realms of corporate finance and investment banking at prestigious institutions like Societe Generale and Goldman Sachs for eight transformative years.

Driven by a passion for driving change on a broader scale, Marcus transitioned into government procurement, where he has thrived for over four years, bringing his financial prowess to the public sector. Marcus’s journey is underscored by an impressive track record in advanced capture management, a skill set that has translated into securing over $5 million in government sales for his clients. Leveraging an arsenal of procurement tools such as GovWin, Bloomberg GOV, and EzGovOpps, Marcus has consistently demonstrated an innate ability to navigate the complexities of the procurement landscape.

He has a certification as a Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) from the esteemed Project Management Institute (PMI) and a master’s degree in Economics and Public Policy Analysis from DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois.