Our Accomplishments Reflect The Character Of Our Team
From the top down, our experienced staff operates in a team-oriented collaborative environment that helps foster small business solutions to share with our clients. We are prodigious learners, meticulous listeners, and natural problem solvers. Our collective experience is our foundation and it grows stronger with every new challenge we face and every new client we help.
President - Prior to joining WESST in 1991, Agnes served as a small business consultant in the United States Peace Corp in Costa Rica and as the Executive Director of the American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt. She holds a BA in Political Science from Berea College and a MA in International Affairs from The George Washington University. She has received numerous honors: Top-Performing CEO (2009), Junior Achievement’s New Mexico Business Hall of Fame, (2005); Women of Influence (2005); and New Mexico’s Small Business Advocate of the Year, United Stated Small Business Administration, (1995). Agnes is particularly passionate about personal and business financial literacy. She loves to read and fantasizes about becoming a beach bum.
Director of Lending - Kim received her MBA in Finance from the UNM Anderson School of Management in 1982 and spent the next 8 years in banking as a commercial loan officer in Arizona and New Mexico. When WESST started in 1990, she joined to set up the micro-loan program, which she currently manages. She also teaches classes in Albuquerque on business planning and financial projections. Kim is passionate about the outdoors, and spends as much time as she can biking, hiking, skiing and fly fishing while attempting to manage her three teenagers and their father.
Regional Manager, Santa Fe - Before coming to WESST in 1992, Bette spent over 18 years in advertising and marketing with national companies, serving as Senior Marketing Executive for Kay Jewelers, B Dalton Booksellers and Henry Birks Jewelers. She holds a BA in Secondary Education and a MA in Mass Communication. Named the 2009 Home-Based Business Champ by the SBA and the 2009 Women’s Business Advocate of the Year by the New Mexico Women’s Business Association, Bette is also the winner of numerous CLIOS, ADDYs, and Printing Industry of America awards, and is the author of WESST’s award-winning Perfect Pitch™ curriculum. Bette boasts particular pride in transitioning professional skills from the for-profit world to the non-profit world. A healthy and active wife, mother and grandmother, Bette loves to read, run, garden, travel and golf, and particularly enjoys rowing at sunrise on Cochiti Lake. She is a serial entrepreneur to boot!
Managing Director, WESST Enterprise Center, Albuquerque – Russell is experienced in many aspects of business incubation, including incubator management, entrepreneurship training, development of technology-based facilities and training programs, management of governmental programs supporting economic development, as well as business consulting in the private sector. He formerly served as Executive Director of the Erie Technology Incubator at Gannon University Erie, PA. Previously he directed a regional multi-facilities business incubation project in Northern Virginia. He also served as President of the Virginia Business Incubators Association, a statewide organization. His administrative experience has included direction of the Tech Ventures division for a community development non-profit corporation, which included management of a youth entrepreneurial development program, a technology-based business incubator, and four community technology centers. Russell has also directed the administration and marketing of an Economic Development Zone initiative in rural New York that was recognized globally for its successes as an “incubator-without-walls.”
Regional Manager, Las Cruces - Jennifer has over 30 years combined experience in business consulting, human resources, training, organizational development, and entertainment. In the past, she had worked for a variety of organizations including NMSU, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, and Universal Studios before joining WESST in 1995. Her BA is in Journalism and Mass Communications, and her graduate work is in Training and Development. She was on the founding Board of the local ASPA (SHRM) group, was named Small Business Advocate of the Year in 1997 and Minority Small Business Champion of the Year in 2011 by the U.S. Small Business Administration, and has illustrated two books. A native New Mexican, Jennifer enjoys writing and painting in her spare time.
Loan Officer - Prior to joining WESST, Antoinette spent 26 years working for various financial banking institutions beginning her career as a loan review analyst to commercial loan officer. She holds a BA in Finance and Economics from the University of New Mexico. At WESST, she works directly with microloan clients analyzing their information and looking for ways to help them achieve their dreams for success. In her spare time, Antoinette loves to cook, travel and spend time with her husband and two children.
Senior Project Consultant, Office of Refugee Resettlement - Humberto was born and raised in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba. Before coming to the United States as a political refugee in 1995, he was a professor of physics at the University of Oriente in Santiago de Cuba. Humberto is now the owner of a small business and the Senior Project Consultant of WESST’s Refugee Program. Humberto is a great chess player, and he loves to read.
Jo Ann Garay
Regional Program Coordinator and Trainer, Las Cruces - Jo Ann has been with the WESST Las Cruces office since 2000. As Program Coordinator, Jo Ann has developed Computer and Business curriculum and trained in both English and Spanish. In 2007-2008, NM Business Weekly added her to their list of Top Young Professionals, “40-under-Forty,” in New Mexico. Jo Ann has a Computer Technology degree, and in October of 2011 she graduated with honors with a Bachelor’s degree in Human Resources Management. As a wife and mother of two young children, Jo Ann is used to juggling career and family.
Development Associate - Krissy Hansen is a native New Mexican. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Information Systems and has worked in a variety of fields including office management, integrating test systems, customer service, and human resources. Krissy is devoted to her husband and their miniature American Eskimo Spitz, Jake. She enjoys camping, biking, reading and traveling.
Regional Manager, Farmington – Prior to joining the WESST team in 2013, Chris owned and operated his own Farmington-based business development practice for over 10 years where he served a wide variety of clients in helping them build better businesses. Prior to returning to Farmington in 1999, Chris gained over 20-years’ experience working in a variety of financial, operations and communications capacities at several large domestic and international companies including PNM, PacifiCorp and Peabody Coal Company. He has a B.S. in Business Administration from William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri and an M.B.A. from the UNM Anderson School of Management. He enjoys skiing, digital photography, reading, computers and helping people accomplish goals. He is married and has two grown daughters.
Business Consultant/Trainer - Amy Lahti has nearly 15 years of experience working for large companies and small businesses on projects involving strategic communications, marketing and sales, training and development, and social media. A passionate advocate for effective organizational development, Amy is skilled at identifying the challenges organizations face, and creating customized solutions. Amy is a proud native New Mexican who grew up in Las Cruces and graduated from ENMU in Portales with a B.S. in Communications/Journalism. Amy has an M.S. in Organizational Leadership from Colorado State University’s Global Campus, and also holds a Professional of Human Resources (PHR) certification. She loves cooking, reading great nonfiction books, collecting board games, and spending time with her husband and son, and her parents.
Business Consultant, Office of Refugee Resettlement – Victor was born in Camaguey, Cuba. He graduated from medical school in 1993 and worked as a doctor in Mexico for five years. In 1998, he came to the United States as a political refugee and settled in New Mexico. Today Victor is the owner of a small business in Albuquerque, as well as a business consultant for WESST’s Refugee Program. He enjoys computers and playing chess.
Office Administrator/Trainer, Santa Fe - Roseanna brings a wealth of experience to the WESST team, including Pueblo Human Resources, corporate Customer Service Management on a large scale, and experience in the hospitality industry. In addition, she is bilingual, has extensive training experience, and is herself an entrepreneur. Roseanna has been recognized for funds raised for Race for the Cure and for her participation in Boxing for Seniors. In her spare time she loves to bowl and read, and she coaches a boys’ elementary basketball team.
Regional Manager, Rio Rancho - Stacy has 25+ years’ experience in marketing management for small business, non profits and national corporations. After hours, Stacy serves as an Adjunct Professor in UNM’s Entrepreneurial Studies Program and Webster University’s MBA program. Stacy has also served as one of 15 instructors nationally in the SBA’s e200 InnerCity program. Stacy was named a New Mexico Power Broker the past three years by the NM Business Weekly. Stacy holds an MBA from Pepperdine University and a BS in Marketing from the University of Arizona. Stacy and his wife, Dorothy, are active members of the Albuquerque Int’l Folk Dance Foundation and dance everything from Hungarian Gypsy, to Israeli Line dancing to Salsa every Saturday night!
Executive Assistant - Lorena Schott is a native New Mexican that brings a wealth of experience to the WESST team. Before joining WESST in 2009, she worked for Intel where she was acknowledged for her establishment of Intel’s centralized on-line system, rewarding and recognizing employees worldwide. Lorena is devoted to her husband and two sons. She enjoys the outdoors and spends her free time reading, hiking, and baking.
Regional Manager, Albuquerque | Marketing Director - Julianna Silva is a native New Mexican and a graduate of the UNM Anderson School of Management. She has over 15 years’ experience mentoring nonprofit organizations, women entrepreneurs, and artists. Julianna works with her clients to develop and implement business plans, accounting systems and marketing strategies. She is passionate about promoting artists and entrepreneurs, especially her husband who designs and builds beautiful, modern furniture. She is inspired by her son, the California redwoods, La Tour Eiffel, and baking lemon pistachio biscotti.
Executive Assistant – Prior to joining WESST in 2010, Michele spent 10 years in the Air Force and 10 years at Intel. She has been in the customer service/admin world for over 20 years. She is a mother of two boys, Josh & Tylor as well as 2 lab pups, Koko & Bandit that keep her very busy. In her spare time she loves to read, spend time with family and serve in the homeless ministry.
Loan Fund Administrator – Prior to joining WESST, Melissa spent a few years working in the microloan industry. She holds a BS in International Business Administration with an emphasis in Spanish from Missouri State University. At WESST, she will help manage the microloan portfolio.
Regional Manager, Roswell – Anthony brings over twenty years of firsthand small business experience to his position as the regional manager for the WESST Roswell office. He particularly enjoys providing business consultation to WESST clients. Anthony also contributes board leadership to agencies dedicated to special life skills needs within the community. He enjoys spending time with his son, Jonathan, and they love to travel, cook, and do sports activities.
VP Development - Ann has been involved with nonprofits in New Mexico for more than 16 years, including extensive experience on the funding side with the J. F Maddox Foundation for the past 13 years. A former litigation attorney, Ann received her J.D. from Wake Forest University School of Law in 1993 after obtaining her B.A. in French from Hollins College in 1990. Although her ability to speak French has waned, Ann is a still a passionate Francophile. Both Ann and her husband grew up in southeastern New Mexico, in Hobbs. Their two wonderful daughters and plentiful pets complete the family.
Director of Grants Management – Sharon brings a wealth of knowledge to WESST’s Finance Department with over 30 year of accounting experience for both private for-profit companies & non-profit organizations. She moved here from the Midwest and enjoys hiking, reading and playing with horses.
Regional Program Coordinator and Trainer, Roswell - Cindy Wilson’s background encompasses over 30 years’ experience in technology, management, business administration, operations, support and training. Cindy’s experience with technology includes the computer eras of mainframes, minis and personal computer levels. Her work experience spans the defense industry, education, government and private sectors, and small business. As a technology trainer, Cindy has served as a college instructor, professional seminar presenter, and creates many of the WESST computer-based class materials. Cindy graduated from Pepperdine University with a bachelor science in management and holds several awards in management, group skills, and work achievements. Cindy and her family have lived in Roswell for the last 20 years. She is also very active as a minister and religious consultant, and is also working on a book of her spiritual experiences.