Christina Damiano, executive director of The Diversity Business Resource Center on the Northshore, has proven to be a strong advocate for as many as 500 small business owners in the region.

In honor of her dedication, the Small Business Administration awarded Damiano as both the Region III Women in Business Champion and as the Western Pennsylvania District SBA Women in Business Champion at a May 28 luncheon.

Damiano was hired to implement the program and policies of the DBRC after receiving startup finances from several sources, including Allegheny County’s Minority Women and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Department, The Pittsburgh Foundation, and Rep. Jake Wheatley. After more than four years of leading the DBRC, Damiano continues to champion minority- and women-owned businesses.

In her former role as a business consultant for the Commonwealth, Damiano was able to make many connections across Pennsylvania. Damiano also sits on the board of directors for the Northside Community Development Fund.

“I am honored to receive this recognition from the SBA and I have to say that much of my inspiration comes from the entrepreneurs I have the pleasure to work with,” Damiano said in an email

With a B.A. in political science from Duquesne University and a master’s degree in social and public policy, Damiano said she enjoys using her public policy knowledge to help those in need.

“My focus for the DBRC, because of the current economic climate, has been to maintain our level of service and look for new ways to assist our clients that have survived and thrived,” Damiano said.  “Since the DBRC is an office of one — me — I look to strong partnerships to leverage my resources and accomplish all that I can.  I have the good fortune to work with a lot of committed and dedicated folks from other organizations.”

Her clients have been on a winning streak, with most being in business for more than five years and looking to grow their operations.

Carl Knoblock, Western Pennsylvania SBA district director, recognizes the attempt by Damiano in helping women-owned businesses flourish.

"Most importantly, she has helped women make their dreams come true," Knoblock said.