You may recall that this past summer, Business For Good launched the search for our first-ever Managing Director. The position is a huge step in a long trajectory of driving meaningful change for us.
We are ecstatic to introduce our new Managing Director, Danea Ramos! Danea is a passionate advocate of BFG’s mission, and she has robust experience leading purposeful organizations to reach their full potential and thrive.
Read on to get familiar with Danea and her significant work in San Diego thus far. And, be sure to give her a warm virtual welcome and/or a high-five at our next in-person BFG event!
Please share with us a bit about your background and work prior to coming on board with Business For Good.
DR: My background is heavily rooted in working with purposeful startups and helping them get the tools and leverage they need to be successful. After graduating from CSU San Marcos with my bachelor’s in Global Business, I first worked abroad in Lao PDR doing communications and relationship-building at a tiny startup. There, I experienced first-hand the many difficulties and constraints involved in growing a business, especially in an underbanked setting.
When I returned to San Diego, I continued my career as Business Development Officer at Accessity (formerly known as Accion) to help grow financial opportunity for traditionally underfunded business owners—primarily entrepreneurs of color, women, and immigrant entrepreneurs.
I was then called to join CONNECT ALL @ the Jacobs Center (CAJC) to co-develop and help oversee the region’s first low- to moderate-income and diversity-focused Business Accelerator Program. Accelerator equips growth-focused startups with all the support they need to quickly and successfully expand. CAJC also offers a free Business Resource Center where entrepreneurs can connect and learn about local services and support programs to help move their ideas and businesses forward.
CAJC staff built the Accelerator and Business Resource Center program from the ground up, and we launched it in May 2019. We’re proud to say that our four entrepreneurial cohorts have so far helped 52 underrepresented San Diego founders launch and accelerate their businesses. We’ve also assisted more than 300 businesses with access to resources. (Fun fact: BFG Board Member Brad Keiller, owner of Nomad Donuts, was part of the first cohort!) Recruiting for our fifth cohort is happening right now. It’s an incredible feeling to see how our program fills business owners with a real sense of hope and agency.
Which of BFG’s core policy action areas resonates the most with you, or do you feel you have the most experience in?
DR: The two that resonate most with me are Small Business Investment and Immigration.
As you can probably deduce from my background and experience, I have a real passion for Small Business Investment. But I also have a personal connection to it. My mother is a small business owner. I’ve seen it, lived it, and been involved in small business life since I was very young.
As a first-generation American, I’m also a big proponent of working together to create an inclusive local economy that celebrates the value of Immigration. My parents emigrated from Mexico in the early 1990s without many resources or knowledge of U.S. culture. Watching them work to acclimate to this new world was a profound experience. Throughout our childhood, my sisters and I regularly assisted them with translation and navigating the ins and outs of daily life here in America. My parents always told me that as a U.S. citizen born here, I had much more opportunity than they did—and I should always work hard to make the most of that. Which I have!
What would you say are your top leadership goals for your first year at BFG?
DR: One thing I absolutely love to do is to help organizations with streamlining processes and creating a strong foundation for action. I am an organizer by nature and find it super fulfilling to prioritize and create structure. Much of my leadership at the Accelerator program is centered around this type of work because it is the tried-and-true method that grows organizations. This is one of my first leadership goals as Managing Director—helping BFG streamline their internal processes so that they can focus more on doing their impactful work.
Secondly, I am very keen on helping to grow our membership base to double the size it is now. I realize this may sound starry-eyed, but I promise there is a strategy behind it. (See next question for more details!)
One of our main goals at BFG is growing our membership base all across San Diego County. How do you believe your leadership skills and background can best help drive that?
DR: The bulk of my career has been focused on assisting purposeful businesses and organizations develop clear strategies that drive growth. I know for a fact from working with a wide range of businesses and diverse colleagues over the years, there are so many different ways for organizations like BFG to authentically recruit new members. Especially here in San Diego, where there are still lots of untapped, values-aligned local business owner populations in north, south, and east SD county.
Another piece of successfully growing membership is having empathy. I am grateful that my lived experience has equipped me with the ability to really put myself in the shoes of local entrepreneurs; to know their hopes, fears, and challenges. For this reason, I am very excited to dig in with the BFG board and members to explore what types of additional membership benefits, rewards, and opportunities would resonate the most with our current and potential members. Then, I’ll get to work on implementing them!
What is your philosophy on helping to drive meaningful change in San Diego County?
DR: My philosophy on driving meaningful change in San Diego County is to build trusted, functional relationships with local politicians and government. Our elected officials must truly understand what San Diego County’s needs are, and know that organizations like BFG are here to help support them with driving change.
Usually, there’s a significant knowledge gap between politicians and the community. My hope is for BFG to be the bridge between them. I also believe partnering with local nonprofits and foundations is absolutely crucial in driving more impactful change. BFG has already done a great job of forming key alliances with many progressive-minded groups, and I hope to continue to help facilitate incredible partnerships like these.
Give us a fun, little-known fact about yourself!
DR: I am an avid traveler, and I’ve traveled to 12 countries so far. I love learning about the different cultures around the world and getting to know new people. Once the pandemic ends, I hope to continue to travel a lot more.
Business For Good is growing, and we’re stoked to have values-aligned San Diego businesses like yours join us. Become a member with us today!