Maria Contreras-Sweet was yesterday sworn in as the new administrator of the Small Business Administration, after being confirmed in January.
Contreras-Sweet previously served in senior roles in both the public and private sectors. She was the first Latina cabinet secretary in California, oversaw one of the largest state government agencies in the nation, and launched a bank dedicated to serving traditionally underserved Latino communities.
As secretary of California’s Business, Transportation, and Housing Agency for California, Contreras-Sweet oversaw a $12 billion budget and was responsible for a 40,000-strong workforce and various statewide departments. She also founded ProAmerica Bank, the first Latino-owned business bank in California in more than three decades. Prior to that, Contreras-Sweet served as vice president for public affairs at Seven Up and co-founded Fortius Holdings.
During her nomination in January, President Barack Obama said Contreras-Sweet would work to help businesses to “get their good ideas off the ground, to expand, to hire, to sell their products and ideas,” not just domestically but overseas.
“I’m confident that she’s going to put her heart and soul into making sure that all the other people who are out there striving and trying to achieve their dreams can succeed as well,” Obama said.