Interise's StreetWise Summit Small Business Awards


Celebrate the growth and success of (y)our network by nominating yourself, a business owner or an instructor today.

Award nominations will remain open until May 26, 2017. Finalists will be announced towards the end of June and will receive a customized press kit. All of our award winners will be announced at our Awards Ceremony as part of the StreetWise Summit 2017, in Alexandria, VA on September 12, 2017.

Interise is pleased to recognize our outstanding alumni business owners, as well as an instructor and partner, in the following categories:

Small Business Awards:

Impact Award: For an Interise alumni business owner who has demonstrated significant impact through the growth of his/her business and engagement in his/her community.

Nominate for Impact Award Here!

Best Place to Work Award: Do you employ, or work for, the greatest company on earth? This award celebrates a company that celebrates its team.

Nominate for Best Place to Work Award Here!

Company to Watch Award: For an Interise alumni business owner of 2016 or 2017 who has already shown signs of growth because of changes made during his/her Interise program.

Nominate for Company to Watch Award Here!

Instructor Award:

Small Business LIFT (Leadership in Facilitation and Training) Award: For an instructor who demonstrates expert facilitation in the classroom, creates connections among participants, and goes above and beyond to support business owners in achieving their next levels of growth!

Nominate for Small Business LIFT Award Here!

Partner Award:

#ShowUsYourImpact Innovation Award: In recognition of a partner of Interise for innovative work in the field of economic development. If you are a partner of Interise, please share an innovation that exemplifies your mission, engages your organization's network, and demonstrates innovation.

Nominate for #ShowUsYourImpact Innovation Award Here!

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Tanya Photo

As Assistant Vice President, University Supplier Diversity and Business Integration at Columbia University, Tanya manages the compliance of minority-. Women- and locally-owned business enterprises (MWLBE) suppliers on the new Manhattanville Campus project. Her unit is responsible for reporting on Columbia’s agreements with the community and to the state of New York on the Manhattanville project, and she works to source capable, diverse vendors to support the initiatives of the University. Her department also oversees community projects associated with the university’s local commitments and initiatives.

Tanya’s experience includes work in the non-profit sector working with national clients to provide a capacity building curriculum for small businesses, at the NYC Department of Small Business Services in the Department of Economic & Financial Opportunity (DEFO) and in business development roles in entertainment, publishing and travel.

She holds a bachelor’s in Communications Management and master’s in Leadership and Strategic Management, both from Manhattanville College.


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Ralph Little began his career before graduating from the University of Utah. He took a part time job and created a national company from scratch. Growing rapidly over 20 years, Ralph and his company were named to the prestigious INC 500 list of the Fastest Growing Private Companies in America. Qualifying once for this honor was a feat in and of itself, but his company qualified an unprecedented four years in a row.

Concerned that his bachelor's degree in finance would not support his need for management skills in his growing company, Ralph applied for acceptance to the Harvard Executive Education Program for Owners and Presidents of their companies. Meeting for 3 weeks each year for 3 consecutive years, Ralph graduated from the program with a solid understanding of high growth management.

This education became the bedrock of his teaching and writing.

Today, Ralph teaches at two universities and consults with another, in their entrepreneurial programs. Additionally he accepts a number of private students and small business owners to assist them in starting and growing their businesses. Business success is based upon following basic principles of success, not on luck or chance.

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Mary Marshall began her business career running a small, family-owned business. Learning the details of small business operations and management led her to a career coaching small and medium-size business entrepreneurs who were interested in selling their companies. After three years of successfully completing many mergers and acquisitions, Mary was fascinated by one small high tech company and accepted a position as Sales and Operations Manager. In less than three years the company grew from $250K in revenue to over $5MM, with Nintendo and Microsoft included as clients. She was then hired to create a value added resale channel and start a branch operation for a similar business that led her to become Vice President for the company. She became an owner and President of the company after completing a successful turnaround in less than a year.

After selling her business to a partner in 2000, she launched a career as a consultant, primarily focused on operations management and organizational development. This expanded to executive coaching and becoming a Vistage Chair in Seattle, running a successful Chair Practice. Vistage International is the world’s leading peer advisory membership organization, serving more than 20,000 CEOs and senior executives in 15 countries. Mary successfully ran 4 CEO and Key Executive groups working with over 50 local CEOs. During her time as a Vistage Chair Mary received many awards including the Rookie of the Year, the Chair Excellence Award, the Master Chair designation, and the Star Award. She was consistently ranked among the top Vistage Chairs in the country and was the first woman in Vistage history to hold the #1 Chair ranking for the US.

In 2008 Mary accepted a position with Vistage running the Western Division. She managed the growth of the division and training and development for approximately 200 Chairs. Mary was promoted in early 2009 to run Training and Development for the entire organization, Chair Selection and New Group starts in addition to her role as Western Division SVP. Her work focused on how the Chairs (Consultants) could grow their practices by finding the right entrepreneurs and businesses to join their groups.

In late 2012 Mary left corporate life at Vistage to go back to what she loves best – working with entrepreneur’s to help them achieve their dreams. She launched Marshall Advisors, LLC as a CEO and Executive Advisory agency to work with CEOs and their executive teams to help them achieve their goals more quickly and efficiently, and have some fun while doing it! As a part of her practice she also teaches a course for Entrepreneurs for the SBA called Emerging Leaders. She helps the business get over the hurdles of entrepreneurship so they can thrive.

Mary also is a member of WIPP (Women Impacting Public Policy), advocating for women business owners and participated in Small Business Saturdays. She is also a Trustee for Washington State Chapter of The Nature Conservancy.

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Lin O’Neill is an accomplished consultant with expertise in the development and implementation of strategic plans for businesses of all sizes and revenue levels. Working with employees, she demonstrates the incorporation of strategic plans into the everyday decisions of their organization.

She has both led and participated as a member of strategic planning teams for Fortune 100 companies, coached multiple CEO’s in strategic plan development, facilitated strategic planning as part of major contract negotiations and aided small businesses as they work to develop their strategies and incorporate this process into their day-to-day operations.

Lin’s experience spans numerous industries and includes Operations, Consulting and Human Resources: A former Vice President and Corporate Officer for Continental Airlines, where she operated a $300MM division with responsibility for several thousand employees and a former HR Director for TRW where she had both national and international responsibility. While living in California, Lin founded Futures Consulting, Sakred Cow Enterprises and, since returning to Texas, she founded Entrepreneurs Dallas and Entrepreneurs Fort Worth.

Lin has a B.S. in sociology and a M.B.A, is licensed as an Assisted Living Administrator. She conducted a weekly talk show regarding career and career transition challenges for a Los Angeles F M radio station. In 2007, Lin published her first book in The Simple Series, Managing High-Maintenance Employees. Her second and third books (Leaders in Drag, all the news about fake leadership and Status Quo is Not a Happy Place) are scheduled for publication. Recently, she has been accepted for participation in Seth Godin’s AltMBA.

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Gail is a serial entrepreneur who owned 2 successful multi-million dollar businesses: first, a national retail franchise operation; next, a groundbreaking worldwide Internet company. In each case, her unique sales approach fueled their growth and resulted in award-winning businesses. In 2000, she transitioned to business coaching and works exclusively with professional service providers, CEOs and their teams to organize for growth and develop a success mindset.

As President and Founder of Gearshift, she consults, coaches, mentors, conducts workshops, writes and speaks – all for the purpose of inspiring successful women and men to achieve their dreams and make bigger impacts on their world. She is a 3-time author.

Now in her 8th year as a contract Instructor and Support Coach for Interise, she trains and coaches new and returning instructors nationwide for the Emerging Leaders program. She is Past President of NAWBO Chicago, and co-chair of the Women’s Business Committee for the Small Business Advisory Council. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Applied Professional Studies (MAAPS) from DePaul University.

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