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Elisa Waldman named Kansas SBDC State Star

Elisa Waldman is officially a star. Of course, her co-workers and clients already knew that.

Elisa Waldman

Waldman, consultant for the JCCC Kansas Small Business Development Center (Kansas SBDC), was named the 2011 State Star and a national Star Performer.

But hold off on the autographs and red-carpet treatment. Waldman’s stardom was bestowed not by Hollywood, but by the Kansas Small Business Development Network and the Association of Small Business Development Centers (ASBDC).

“It’s always nice to be recognized for the work I do because I typically don’t take a lot of credit for it,” Waldman said. “We work really hard here, and it’s very meaningful to be acknowledged.”  Waldman was nominated by her JCCC colleague John Addessi, and the statewide Kansas SBDC team supported the nomination.

Waldman’s work involves helping aspiring and existing small business owners to achieve their dreams of business ownership and success. She works with clients in Johnson, Wyandotte and Miami counties to help guide them through start-up aspects as well as long-term growth strategies and management challenges.

“I am helping them to accomplish their dream,” Waldman said. “The best part of this job is that I am allowed to listen, guide and counsel. It’s a perfect fit for me, and I love it.”

Before Waldman was a consultant for Kansas SBDC, she was a client. After working as an attorney and teaching law school in Chicago, she decided she wanted to do something else when she moved back home to Kansas City.

She started Paint, Glaze and Fire, a paint-your-own pottery studio located at 127th Street and Metcalf Avenue. In addition, she began a consulting firm helping other pottery studios around the country.  In 2005, she sold her studio in order to consult on a full-time basis.  Waldman also started consulting part-time for the Kansas SBDC.

Then, when state funding allowed for an additional full-time position at the Kansas SBDC in 2007, she jumped at the chance.

Sandy Scubelek is glad she did. Scubelek, owner of Dayspring Electric, worked with Waldman to get her business off the ground. A female electrician who wanted to start her own company, Scubelek said she found Waldman’s help invaluable.

“Elisa is an absolute wealth of knowledge about so many things in business,” Scubelek said. “If she doesn’t know the answer, she can point you in the right direction to someone who does know the answer. Elisa knows everybody.”

Scubelek said Waldman helped her with paperwork to certify Dayspring Electric as a woman-owned business and introduced her to experts in marketing and banking.

“She is awesome. I can give you a thousand stories on how she has helped me,” Scubelek said.

Waldman’s supervisor, Malinda Bryan-Smith, is regional director of the Kansas SBDC. She said Waldman's love of learning and relationship building inspires her co-workers and her clients.

“Elisa a great consultant because she is continually learning and always open to new ways of assisting clients, ” Bryan-Smith said.   Another strength is her ability to build strong relationships with small business owners.  “Her clients know she will be there for them, even when it means having to discuss issues they may not want to hear at the time. She does what is necessary to help the client.”  

Elisa’s love of learning started at an early age, and JCCC played a part. Waldman’s mother, Carol Sader, was a college trustee from 1981 to 1986, and 14-year-old Elisa would watch trustee meetings.  In elementary school, she took Spanish classes at JCCC, and each summer, her two sons attend JCCC summer programs.

“I’m very happy to be back here,” Waldman said. “This college a wonderful place, and I’m very proud to be a part of it.”