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When it comes to growing businesses, Utah is Pamela Okumura’s garden. Okumura, who worked previously as a business consultant for a private firm, is currently the program director of the Salt Lake Chamber Women’s Business Center and is committed to helping Utah businesses be successful.
“I loved what I was doing, but my biggest frustration was that there were so many small businesses that needed help but couldn’t afford it,” Okumura says. “I love that the chamber is nonprofit and that we provide free consulting and low-cost trainings.”
And businesses seem to love what the chamber offers as well. During the 2010-2011 grant year, the Women’s Business Center provided more than 160 hours of training to 1,581 people, and 250 clients came in for one-on-one consulting. Not only were current businesses strengthened through the programs, but 15 new businesses were started and 22 jobs were created with the help of the center.
“The economy is driven by small business owners. They are the lifeblood of the U.S. economy, and it’s gratifying to know I’m doing my little part out in the community, making a difference one business at a time,” Okumura says.
As director, Okumura spearheads the center’s commitment to providing trainings, forums, consulting and seminars that help businesspeople in Utah learn about their industries and grow their companies. Okumura is also looking toward the future and plans to fill in any gaps she finds in the programs to meet even more business needs.
First on her docket is the launch of an online program to help women (and men—the center does not discriminate) in business throughout the state. Okumura also plans to create a program to address financial and credit issues.
Okumura’s personal resume is impressive. She is known for her marketing and sales experience, and her ability to increase revenue, net profit and anything else that matters. But Okumura is motivated by much more than the bottom line. When it comes down to it, Okumura is simply passionate about helping others.
“I absolutely love what I do,” Okumura says. “The best thing about my job is the satisfaction of seeing people live their dream—when I have clients come and say thank you and that we’ve been a blessing.”