Natalie Madeira Cofield Appointed to Lead Office of Women’s Business Ownership as Assistant Administrator, U. S. Small Business Administration
Natalie Madeira Cofield, Founder & CEO of Walker’s Legacy and Walker’s Legacy Foundation, has been appointed to serve as the Assistant Administrator, Office of Women’s Business Ownership, at the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) effective Monday, March 1, 2021.
In this role, Ms. Cofield serves as a senior executive providing executive oversight, management, leadership, and national championship of female entrepreneurship. As Assistant Administrator, Cofield will oversee 136 centers which comprise the Women’s Business Center (WBC) national network.
SBA’s WBCs is a national network of centers that offer one-on-one counseling, training, networking, workshops, technical assistance, and mentoring to women entrepreneurs.
The opening of 20 new WBCs in January 2021 marked the largest single expansion of WBCs across America in the SBA’s 30-year tenure. The WBC growth includes expansion to rural and underserved markets and recent partnerships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
In addition to managing WBCs, Cofield will also oversee the SBA’s recent launch of Ascent, a digital e-learning platform geared to help women entrepreneurs grow and expand their businesses.
The U.S. Small Business Administration helps power the American dream of business ownership. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow or expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations.
Cofield founded Walker’s Legacy in 2010 to establish a platform to engage, equip and inspire multicultural women. Under her leadership, the organization evolved from a 30-person event series into one of the largest national platforms to support minority women entrepreneurs providing training, resources, and support to thousands and building a national network of more than 60,000 multicultural women. In 2016, Cofield established the organization’s nonprofit arm, the Walker’s Legacy Foundation to provide entrepreneurial, financial, and professional supports needed to improve the economic prosperity and reduce economic inequality for multicultural women and girls, globally.
A sought-after thought-leader, Cofield has provided some of the nation’s most prominent CEOs of billion-dollar organizations, executives of global brands, senior advisors to the White House, mayors of leading national cities, and community activists and leaders with inspiration, insight, and advisement.
As an entrepreneur and executive, Cofield has successfully raised more than $22 million in corporate and philanthropic investments and government contracts and is responsible for more than $300,000 in cash prizes awarded to entrepreneurs.
She has been named by Entrepreneur Magazine as one of the 100 Most Powerful Women in Business and was selected among 137 cover-story business leaders and entrepreneurs from across the nation for her response to COVID-19 in the magazine’s July/August 2020 edition cover. The Root named her one of the 100 Most Influential African Americans in the country and she has also been named among the list of Women Who Mean Business and one of the 100 Most Powerful Washingtonians by the Washington Business Journal.
Quotes from Community Stakeholders on Cofield’s Departure and Tenure:
“When Natalie first approached me more than eleven years ago to share her idea for Walker’s Legacy, she was determined to create a space for women entrepreneurs to flourish. It’s been a joy to watch her vision take flight and an inspiration to see her persevere through all the challenges inherent in bringing any endeavor from start-up to stability. In the spirit of Madam C. J. Walker, Natalie has carved her own legacy in her efforts to empower other women.” –A’Lelia Bundles, Author, Journalist, and Great-Great Granddaughter, Madam C. J. Walker
“Black History is being made every day. Natalie is a part of Black History and excellence. I am so proud to know this distinguished woman that has done so much for our community. Natalie has worked for years to empower women and women-owned businesses across the globe. During the time that I spent as Chair of Walker’s Legacy Atlanta chapter, I was able to see her diligent work firsthand. She will undoubtedly excel exponentially in her future endeavors.” — Erica Thomas, Georgia State Representative (District 39)
“Natalie’s impact on and voice for the cause of diverse and women-led businesses has made her one of the most influential entrepreneurial leaders and champions for diversity within the business landscape. Under her leadership, Walker’s Legacy became a founding partner of the Coalition to Back Black Businesses, a first-of-its-kind collaboration with American Express and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation. Her hard work, dedication, and commitment are admirable. I know that she will create an impact in all of her endeavors and continue to provide invaluable insight on the needs of women of color entrepreneurs.” – Rick Wade, Senior Vice President of Strategic Alliances and Outreach, US Chamber of Commerce
“I’ve had the honor of working with Natalie and watching her personal and professional growth for more than a decade. To know Natalie is to understand her focus and vision, as well as her brilliant combination of business and economic expertise. Natalie has always been a driven and passionate change agent for the inclusion of minority business owners. Her founding of Walker’s Legacy is a testament to this. Because of both her entrepreneurial acumen and her commitment to service, Walker’s Legacy has evolved into a nationally regarded leader for women of color advocacy. In building an
organization to pay homage to legacy, Natalie has undoubtedly created her own.” – Ron Busby Sr., President & CEO, US Black Chambers, Inc.
“Natalie Madeira Cofield is a genius who has created her legacy and place in history as a champion of economic equity and financial independence for women. Her clear vision to create a global platform that supports self-belief, sisterhood, and economic independence through Walker’s Legacy has inspired thousands of women who have become unapologetic champions of their own dreams and change-makers in their communities. I am looking forward to seeing the incoming impact of her future work and her capacity for extraordinary leadership that has yet to be fully realized.” – Dr. Valecia Brooks Dunbar, Jacksonville City Director
“I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Natalie for a decade. In that time I have come to know her as one of the foremost leaders of economic empowerment in the nation. Throughout her career, she has shown a commitment to the Black and minority business community and a passion for women’s equity that is both inspiring and rarely rivaled. The impact of Walker’s Legacy is undeniable, a testimony of Natalie’s visionary leadership.” – Dr. Kenneth L. Harris, Ph.D., President/CEO, National Business League, Inc. (NBL)
“Natalie is a visionary and a fierce advocate for women of color in business. I am highly appreciative of Natalie’s contributions in leading Walker’s Legacy over the past 10 years, during which time she established and turned the organization into one of the most prominent centers of thought-leadership surrounding women of color in business.” – Jeanne K. Wardford, Program Officer, W.K. Kellogg Foundation
“Natalie Madeira Cofield has built a tremendous platform for minority businesswomen over the last ten years. Her passion for service and her commitment to championing women mark her as a leader of distinction and leave the brand in excellent shape to thrive in the coming years.” – Karen Little, Strategic Partnerships, PayPal Gives
The organization recently named Ayris T. Scales as the incoming CEO, Walker’s Legacy Foundation and Managing Director, Walker’s Legacy. Scales will commence her role on March 1, 2021