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Local entrepreneur gets a boost from Small Business Development Center

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On an average day, Trina Worrell Benjamin handles invoices, returns calls and emails, directs a team of nearly a dozen employees and manages a client roster that has included big names like Rite Aid and Toys“R”Us. She admits her first steps into entrepreneurship were not easy. But with the help of…

Local entrepreneur gets a boost from Small Business Development Center

  • SBDC: Temple University SBDC
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Cindy Nellis Named Director of Clarion University SBDC

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Cindy Nellis has been named Director of the Clarion University Small Business Development Center (SBDC). Employed with the program for more than twenty years, she brings significant experience in program management, business and economic development.

“We are proud to have Cindy take on this role, as she has been a leader at the Clarion SBDC and the statewide SBDC network for many years,” said Christian Conroy, State Director of the Pennsylvania SBDC Lead Office. “We congratulate Cindy on her promotion and look forward to having her as part of our leadership team,” he added.

“We’re very fortunate to attract a candidate with her superior experiences in the management of SBDCs.  Since her start with the Clarion University SBDC in September of 1996, she has held the responsibilities of Outreach Consultant, Assistant Director, and Interim Director and has recently completed her MBA degree at Clarion University,” said Dr. Phillip Frese, Dean of the Clarion University College of Business Administration and Information Sciences. “We are grateful she has chosen to lead our SBDC,” he concluded.

Nellis will be responsible for delivering SBDC programs and services to small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs in the Center’s service area of Armstrong, Cameron, Clarion, Clearfield, Elk, Forest, Jefferson, McKean, Potter, and Venango counties. In addition to providing direct business development support and managing a staff of six business professionals, she will also serve as an advocate for business development, expansion and retention in the region.

Nellis has been with the Clarion University SBDC since 1996. She is responsible for oversight and directing the assignment and coordination of the SBDC staff and its operations. In addition, she provides confidential one-on-one consulting to current or prospective small business owners and developing and instructing educational programs for the SBDC.

Before being named Director, Nellis held the positions of Outreach Consultant, Assistant Director, and Interim Director. She specializes in researching, developing marketing and advertising strategies, business plans and financial proposals and prepares detailed financial reports for SBDC clients. She has worked with clients in many different industries, including manufacturing, retail, service, and tourism.

Prior to joining the SBDC, Nellis worked in the banking industry for 10 years. She graduated from The Ohio State University, earning a bachelor's degree in finance and holds her MBA from Clarion University. She is a graduate of the Consumers Banking Association’s Graduate School of Retail Bank Management.