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avatar for Karen Gordon Mills

Karen Gordon Mills

Harvard Business School
23rd Administrator of the Small Business Administration & Senior Fellow
Karen Mills is a Senior Fellow at the Harvard Business School, focusing on U.S. competitiveness, small business and entrepreneurship, and innovation. She served in President Barack Obama's Cabinet as the Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration from 2009 to 2013. Karen’s research has provided a comprehensive look at small business financing, including in her 2016 paper – The State of Small Business Lending: Innovation and Technology and the Implications for Regulation – and she is one of the leading experts on the growth and impact of fintech on small business financing globally. As SBA Administrator, Karen focused on deploying the agency’s programs and initiatives to drive economic recovery in the wake of The Great Recession. This included leveraging and streamlining the agency’s loan guarantee programs, which contributed to record years of SBA lending during her tenure. Prior to the SBA, Mills spent 25 years in venture capital and private equity, including as a partner in several firms. She is a co-chair of the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Main Street Finance Task Force, chairs the Advisory Committee of the Private Capital Research Institute, and is on the Board of Directors of the National Bureau of Economic Research. Karen earned an AB in economics from Harvard University and an MBA from Harvard Business School, where she was a Baker Scholar.