Natalie Madeira Cofield made history as the highest-ranking Black woman in the Biden Administration when last year, she was named as the assistant administrator for the Office of Women’s Business Ownership, a division within the Small Business Administration.
Just ahead of Women’s Equality Day, she announced she’s exiting the role to focus on supporting female founders like herself to reach their fullest potential.
Madeira Cofield was pivotal in leading the SBA’s $100 million Community Navigator Pilot Program, which is aimed at supporting underrepresented groups tap into governmental financial assistance, contract procurement and marketing. The program was an extension of the American Rescue Plan, an act that was endorsed by Biden last March.
“My career has been colored by my passion and my commitment to advocacy and service, as well as my experience as a national champion for women entrepreneurs,” she said in a 2021 Forbes interview shortly after her appointment was announced.
“As a seasoned entrepreneur who grew a business from start-up to million-dollar revenues, I understand firsthand the challenges of starting and scaling a small business. As the founder and former CEO of a national women’s platform, Walkers Legacy, I know the challenges of funding and providing ongoing and aligned educational support, training, and community for enterprising women. And, as a former Chamber CEO, I understand the challenges of navigating the intersections of public and private sectors to achieve economic outcomes.”
With a storied entrepreneurial background, she reportedly brought a wealth of information to the White House role, and has been credited for growing the SBA’s footprint while being at the helm. Her appointment was a signal of Biden’s vow to improve racial equity in the US upon taking office in January 2021.
Ron Busby, chief executive officer of the US Black Chambers Inc., spoke highly of Madeira Cofield and highlighted her pivotal role in supporting Biden’s efforts. “It was critical for us to work with the administration to change the policies,” Busby said. “Natalie was very involved in that.”
Bloomberg reported that Madeira Cofield has laid plans to support “the number of Black women starting a business.”
Her team at the White House noted she was instrumental in moving the needle on actions that positively impacted underrepresented groups. “Her tireless efforts during her tenure have allowed the Office of Women’s Business Ownership and the U.S. Small Business Administration to make remarkable strides in uplifting women leaders,” Tene Dolphin, executive director of the National Women’s Business Council said in a statement.