Karen G. Mills

EXCLUSIVE
  • Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration (2009-2013)
  • Senior Fellow, Harvard Business School and Harvard Kennedy School
  • Former Member of Obama Cabinet and National Economic Council
  • Author of Fintech, Small Business & The American Dream


Karen Gordon Mills is a renowned expert on fintech, small business growth, entrepreneurism, job creation, and the economy at large.  Businesses and governments (including officials in the United Kingdom, Australia and the European Union) seek her insight not only for her higher-level ideas of growth and innovation, but also for important small business tactical insights such as access to capital, regional economic clusters, hiring skilled workers, boosting exports, and tapping into government and commercial supply chains. Mills was widely praised for doing this on a national level when she served in President Barack Obama's Cabinet as Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration and as member of the President's National Economic Council.

Author of Fintech, Small Business & The American Dream: How Technology is Transforming Lending and Shaping a New Era of Business Opportunity, Mills is a leading voice on how new technologies are revolutionizing the lending market, and how traditional institutions can create the impetus for innovation and change.

 

 

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Rave Reviews About Karen G. Mills
Working with Karen Mills was an absolute pleasure. Her speaking engagement was so well received and in turn we had many bankers request [a video of] her presentation. Karen definitely added to the success of our event and we were so glad she attended our dinner as well. I hope we have the opportunity to work together again.

A Sample of the Groups That Have Hosted Karen G. Mills
  • Lenders One Conference
  • PayNet
  • American Express
  • Money 20/20
  • Federation of Small Business (FSB)
  • Harvard Graduate Council
  • SourceMedia
  • Intuit (Quickbooks Connect event)
  • LendIt
  • Politico “Women Rule”
Virtual Moderated Discussion - Small Business and the CARES Act | LinkedIn Business UnUsual [22:55] 4.2020 - Get Sharable Link
Explore Karen G. Mills's Talks
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Fintech: How Technology is Transforming Lending and Shaping a New Era of Business Opportunity

Fintech innovators are disrupting nearly every aspect of the financial sector, ushering in a new era of opportunity and innovation for small business owners while traditional banks scramble to catch up. In this substantive, engaging, and actionable talk, Mills takes audiences behind the in-depth res ...

Fintech innovators are disrupting nearly every aspect of the financial sector, ushering in a new era of opportunity and innovation for small business owners while traditional banks scramble to catch up. In this substantive, engaging, and actionable talk, Mills takes audiences behind the in-depth research of her new book Fintech, Small Business & The American Dream to reveal how technology will transform the small business lending market and facilitate entrepreneurialism, and how traditional lending institutions can create an impetus for innovation and change. Drawing on her extensive experience as former head of the U.S. Small Business Administration (2009-13) and current fintech backer, Mills provides in-depth analysis and tangible takeaways on fintech’s implications for both small businesses and the economy at large. Covering key issues such as the historical role of credit markets, the dynamics of innovation cycles, and the policy implications for regulation, Mills customizes her talk for bankers, investors, and regulators.

Leading in Uncertainty: How an Entrepreneurial Mindset Can Overcome Challenges and Disruptions

An entrepreneurial mindset is not just for running a business, it’s a leadership quality that often defines success, progress and innovation. Thinking outside the box to confront disruption, challenges or simply the unknown is what America’s entrepreneurs – and business leaders – must do every day. ...

An entrepreneurial mindset is not just for running a business, it’s a leadership quality that often defines success, progress and innovation. Thinking outside the box to confront disruption, challenges or simply the unknown is what America’s entrepreneurs – and business leaders – must do every day. Throughout her career Karen Mills has drawn on innovative and entrepreneurial approaches to succeed at the highest levels of both business and government. When she joined the White House economic team at the height of the Great Recession, her bold actions helped save small businesses owners trapped by frozen credit markets. Karen’s unique experiences in Washington and as a venture capitalist offer practical and inspirational insights for leaders of any organization.

Where are the New Jobs? Optimism and Opportunity in America’s ‘New’ Economy

Americans should be optimistic about the opportunities available in the “new” economy. While the first two decades of the 21st century have been marked by tepid growth, a great recession and a slow recovery, bright spots are emerging that are driving the creation of good-paying jobs and economic opp ...

Americans should be optimistic about the opportunities available in the “new” economy. While the first two decades of the 21st century have been marked by tepid growth, a great recession and a slow recovery, bright spots are emerging that are driving the creation of good-paying jobs and economic opportunity. Economic forces are shifting and key players – including entrepreneurs and small supply chain companies – are proving their resilience through reinvention and innovation, supported by a growing movement of collaboration between government, philanthropy and business sectors. With unique perspective and insight gained from her successful leadership at the highest levels of both business and government, Karen Mills will share why she’s optimistic and believes this cross-sector collaboration may well define the 21st century economy.

In a Fintech Future, Who Will Be the Winners and Losers?

Fintech innovators are disrupting nearly every aspect of the financial sector. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the small business economy. While the loan application process at banks can take weeks, fintech startups are putting capital in the hands of small business owners within days, and eve ...

Fintech innovators are disrupting nearly every aspect of the financial sector. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the small business economy. While the loan application process at banks can take weeks, fintech startups are putting capital in the hands of small business owners within days, and even minutes. It's a classic David vs. Goliath story, with online startups taking market share from community banks and Wall Street giants alike. But the truth is, sometimes David wins, sometimes Goliath wins, and sometimes the right solution involves a combination of the two. From leading a $100 billion loan portfolio at the U.S. Small Business Administration to her seminal research at Harvard Business School, Karen Mills continues to have a front-row seat to how this dynamic and evolving financial sector is changing the landscape and opportunities for small businesses and our nation’s economy. In this highly-competitive space, Karen offers game-changing insights and analysis for convenings of community bankers, regional banking executives, internal bank leadership teams and fintechs.

The Small Business Playbook: Three Keys for Growth and Success

America’s community of more than 28 million small businesses is diverse. From manufacturing suppliers and distributors to Main Street shops and tech companies, they collectively drive job creation, innovation and our nation’s competitiveness. Quite simply, their success is America’s success. Yet, in ...

America’s community of more than 28 million small businesses is diverse. From manufacturing suppliers and distributors to Main Street shops and tech companies, they collectively drive job creation, innovation and our nation’s competitiveness. Quite simply, their success is America’s success. Yet, in this post-Great Recession economy the challenges facing small businesses can be numerous and daunting. Drawing on her success as a small business owner and investor, to her leadership at the U.S. Small Business Administration in Washington, Karen Mills has the playbook for helping small businesses successfully tackle the challenges head on. As you convene your suppliers, distributors, franchisees and members, let Karen share the Small Business Playbook for getting (1) the money, (2) the customers and (3) the skilled workforce to grow and succeed.

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Biography

Karen Gordon Mills served in President Barack Obama's Cabinet as the Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration from 2009 to 2013, and was a member of the President’s National Economic Council. At SBA, she led a team of more than 3,000 employees and managed a loan guarantee portfolio of over $100 billion. At the height of the Great Recession, she took steps that led to record-breaking years for SBA lending and investments in growth capital. Additionally, Mills’ efforts helped small businesses create regional economic clusters, gain access to early-stage capital, boost exports, and tap into government and commercial supply chains.

Mills is currently a Senior Fellow at both the Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard Business School, where she is part of the entrepreneurship faculty. She is a leading authority on U.S. competitiveness, entrepreneurship, and innovation. She is the author of the book Fintech, Small Business & the American Dream, as well as a number of Harvard Business School white papers and publications.

Mills is a venture capitalist—the Vice Chair of Envoy, an immigration services provider, and a Director of Churchill Capital II and Clarivate Analytics. She also serves in leadership roles for several policy organizations, including the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Small Business Capital Formation Advisory Committee and the National Bureau of Economic Research. She is a Member of the Harvard Corporation and a past Vice Chair of the Harvard Overseers.

Mills earned an AB in economics from Harvard University and an MBA from Harvard Business School, where she was a Baker Scholar.