Hilda Kennedy, former chief of staff to the Inglewood mayor and City Council, as well as a economic development director, is one of 15 people across the country who have been appointed to the United States Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Council on Underserved Communities (CUC).

Kennedy, who was recently elected president of the Inland Empire chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners, is now founder and president of AmPac Tri State Certified Development Co. (CDC), located in Grand Terrace, Calif., which is a certified lender for the SBA’s 504 loan program. She also operates the first faith-based CDC in the country.

The council will meet for the first time in July in Washington, D.C., but prior to that each of the members will hold listening sessions in their regions to hear from small business owners and members of the community about what they need from the SBA.

Kennedy has not yet established dates for her listening sessions, but interested individuals may contact her by phone at (909) 915-1706 or via email at hkennedny@tristatecdc.com.

The advisory council is led by Catherine Hughes, founder and chairperson of Radio One and TV One, and is comprised of 20 members who represent a diverse range of backgrounds and geographic regions.

“One of SBA’s core missions is to support small businesses in traditionally underserved communities, including minorities, women, veterans, people with disabilities and in rural areas,” SBA Deputy Administrator Marie Johns said. “The Council on Underserved Communities will provide valuable insight and advice into how we can ensure that small businesses in these communities throughout the country have access to the tools they need to grow, create jobs and win the future.”

The council was organized in recognition of the fact that recovery from the nation’s recession is uneven and the group will advise the SBA on the challenges small businesses face with access to capital, sustainability, growth and job creation.

In other business news, President Barack Obama declared May 15-21 National Small Business Week, and from May 18-20 the SBA recognized these business owners during its 48th annual observance of this week.

Among the activities was the announcement of the national small businessperson of the year, selected from the 54 award winners from the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.