Samira Cook GainesChief of Economic Empowerment
Samira serves as the Chief of Economic Empowerment for the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) were she provides vision and leadership for two small business development centers: The Washington, DC Women’s Business Center (DC WBC) and the Small Business Teaming Center.
Samira was the Founding Director of the Washington, DC Women’s Business Center which supports women entrepreneurs through training, individual consultation, mentoring, and business growth through government procurement opportunities and exporting. Under Samira's direction, the DC WBC has assisted over 1000 women in achieving their business goals. In honor of her work with small businesses, Samira was recently selected as a White House Champion for Change in the area of entrepreneurship mentoring.
Throughout her public service career, Samira has worked to enhance community economic development in several states and local governments including New Jersey, St. Louis, and San Francisco. Her interest in community economic development has also taken her to several countries in Europe and Africa to assist in local business development. She has also served the residents of the District of Columbia as a Community Planner where she assisted Business Improvement Districts and Business Associations and as Assistant Director for Training and Education for the Department of Small and Local Business Development. Samira also has her own business, a real estate consulting firm, where she strives to engage residents and local businesses in their changing neighborhoods.
Samira received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts and her Master of Public Administration degree from The George Washington University in Washington, DC. She is an active member of her Fort Lincoln neighborhood and volunteers on the Board of the Association for Enterprise Opportunity, the Association of Women’s Business Centers, and the Brandywine Street Association. Samira is also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated.
Candice Miles works as the Director of the Washington, DC Women’s Business Center (DC WBC), operated by the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC). She is responsible for the overall management of the DC WBC, where counseling and training is provided to women who are current and future small business owners.
Under her leadership, the DC WBC delivers counseling and training services using a 4”E” strategy that focuses on: Entrepreneurship, Engagement, Empowerment and Exposure. With an emphasis on the stage of business the client is in and the 4”E” strategy, clients are able to better understand the process of improving or starting their small business by using attainable steps to meet goals that include: creating business plans, obtaining capital infusions, hiring employees or becoming a federal government contractor. Additionally, the DC WBC will host its 3rd annual Shop, Sip and Celebrate Holiday Bazaar in December. The Bazaar started as Candice’s vision to promote and prepare seasonal businesses for the holiday season. This year up to 35 small businesses will participate sell their products and services to other clients and members of the community.
Candice has a Bachelor’s of Science in Chemical Engineering from Howard University and a Master’s of Science in Taxation from American University. She currently resides in Silver Spring, Maryland with her husband, Eric and their two children, Regan and Ryan.