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 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. 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 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 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 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.
Karen Mills in the news
Karen Mills is an expert on supply chain disruption
Former Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration KAREN MILLS is a leading expert on supply chain innovation, in-demand for her sharp, actionable insights. Mills recently penned a groundbreaking white paper on the topic,"A New Categorization of the U.S. Economy: The Role of Supply Chain Industries in Innovation and Economic Performance," which made headlines in Forbes and the Harvard Business Review, thanks to the paper's insights into how supply chains could unleash the next job wave. Mills has also been sought-out for several interviews to shed further light on how the "supply chain economy" could be a source of better quality jobs hidden in plain sight. She's shared her in-depth, first-hand insights with audiences nationwide to rave reviews. At a recent Milwaukee Economic Forum, she encouraged business leaders to go beyond supply chains related to manufacturing, and to invite new businesses in the future-facing service sector. Her comments garnered tweets of praise from the audience such as: "Phenomenal speaker who presented solid data and thoughtful suggestions for improvement for #MKE.”; “Very good presentation by @KarenGMills.”
Karen Mills’ new book is a #1 new release on Amazon
Former Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration KAREN MILLS’ new book, Fintech, Small Business & The American Dream was an instant #1 New Release on Amazon. A crucial and compelling examination of how technology is transforming lending and creating a new era of small business opportunity, Mills' book offers powerful and timely lessons for bankers, fintech investors, regulators, and anyone who is interested in the future of business in America. Mills has been in-demand to share insights from the book, appearing on CNBC's Squawk Box, Yahoo Finance, Bloomberg Radio, and Lend Academy's Podcast. She was also sought-out for an in-depth interview with Harvard Business School's Working Knowledge and was the subject of a profile in American Banker about her journey from head of the SBA to fintech backer. As Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers said of the book: “It will change how you think about both financial innovation and small business.” A current Senior Fellow at the Harvard Business School and Harvard Kennedy School, Mills is a leading voice on economic growth and innovation, regularly in-demand for her keen and actionable insights on fintech, supply chain disruption, and the future of the labor force. As an expert on economic growth, businesses and governments around the world seek Mills’ insights not only for her higher-level ideas of growth and innovation, but also for important small business tactical understanding. Sought-out to speak everywhere from LendIt to Intuit to American Express, she receives rave reviews at each engagement such as: “Karen was fantastic... Loved working with her.” (LendersOne Conference) and "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." (PayNet)
Karen Mills shares insights on disruption and the future of work
Former Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration KAREN MILLS was sought-out to speak at the MIT Technology Review's EmTech Next Conference, to shed light on crucial topics such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), the future of work, disruption and more. A current Senior Fellow at the Harvard Business School and Harvard Kennedy School, Mills is a leading voice on economic growth and innovation, regularly in-demand for her keen and actionable insights on fintech, supply chain disruption, and the future of the labor force. As an expert on economic growth, businesses and governments (including officials in the United Kingdom, Australia and the European Union) seek Mills’ insight not only for her higher level ideas of growth and innovation, but also for important small business tactical insights. On an EmTech Next panel entitled MIT Work of the Future: Perspectives from Business and Economics, she illuminated what we can learn from past examples of massive disruption in the workforce, which lessons apply today, and where we might be in uncharted territory. She highlighted how AI function more as a service than a physical good, and its economic implications, as well as the four players participating in the supply and demand of the work force and how they are, and are not, serving one another. Heralded for balancing substantive commentary and actionable strategies, Mills receives rave reviews after each of her events, including: "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," (PayNet) and "Karen was fantastic... Loved working with her" (Lenders One Conference).
Attention Banks: Programming Idea for regional events with your best small business customers
As the former head of the Small Business Administration (2009-2013), and as a vocal and active champion for small business and regional development, KAREN MILLS is an expert on issues affecting your best customers: pro-business deregulation, tax code changes, supply chain issues and, perhaps more importantly, access to capital. The difference, however, is that Mills is an authentic champion of small businesses as the true driver of the economy and savors the interaction with the audience in the Q&A that follows every keynote. That one-on-one feeling makes her appearance truly valuable for your clients. Banks approach us about securing Mills for a series of events, in each of their important regions, as a marketing event for prospective business customers, current customers and employees. She is impressive and motivating, and has worked on small business policy at the highest level.Learn more about Karen Mills' work on small business access to capital >>
Karen Gordon Mills served in President Barack Obama’s cabinet as the Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration from 2009 until August 2013. She is currently a Senior Fellow at the Harvard Business School and at the Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government at the Harvard Kennedy School focusing on U.S. Competitiveness, entrepreneurship and innovation.
As SBA Administrator and a Cabinet member, Mills served on the President’s National Economic Council and was a key member of the White House economic team. At the SBA, she led a team of more than 3,000 employees and managed a loan guarantee portfolio of over $100 billion. Mills is credited with turning around the Agency, streamlining loan programs, shortening turnaround times, and reducing paperwork. These efforts resulted in record-breaking years for SBA lending and investments in growth capital. In addition, Mills helped small businesses create regional economic clusters, gain access to early stage capital, hire skilled workers, boost exports, and tap into government and commercial supply chains.
Prior to the SBA, Mills held leadership positions in the private sector, including as a partner in several private equity firms, and served on the boards of Scotts Miracle-Gro and Arrow Electronics. Most recently, she was president of MMP Group, which invested in businesses in consumer products, food, textiles, and industrial components. In 2007, Maine Governor John Baldacci appointed Mills to chair Maine’s Council on Competitiveness and the Economy, where she focused on regional development initiatives, including a regional economic cluster with Maine’s boatbuilding industry.
Mills earned an AB in economics from Harvard University and an MBA from Harvard Business School, where she was a Baker Scholar. Additionally, she is a past vice chair of the Harvard Overseers, and is currently a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Harvard Corporation.