Breakout Sessions- Track I

Are you thinking about starting or expanding a business here in Nevada?  Do you want or need to learn more about what’s required, who to contact, and what kind of help is available?  Or maybe you work for an organization that serves businesses and you want to better understand the many business resources available in Nevada?  If so, then join us in this special series of the Governor’s Conference on Business dedicated to The Road Map to Start or Grow Your Business in Nevada.

The Road Map is a central element of the Department of Business and Industry’s free Guide to Starting and Growing a Business in Nevada – a downloadable interactive pdf with 15 topics and hundreds of hyperlinks to key agencies and resources.  It’s a handy tool that allows users to decide for themselves what needs to be done, find information or resources quickly, and then take action – all from a mobile phone, desktop or tablet.

For each session, 2-3 subject matter experts will offer insights on the session topic and be available for audience Q&A.  With sessions focused on the topics of Getting Help, Licensing/Certifications, and Funding, the track tackles issues frequently of concern to those starting out in business.  If you want to learn more about the Guide, Road Map, Nevada’s business resources, or the subject topics, plan to attend one or more of the sessions in this special breakout track. 

8:00 am- Road Map to Start or Grow Your Business: Getting Help

Andy AllisonAndy Allison

Business Development Counselor, Nevada SBDC


Andy has counseled business owners with the SBDC for over 9 years. Andy counsels throughout the southern valley in Nevada, as well as writes and presents training workshops. He has a BIS degree and a Master's degree. 


Andy has owned his own businesses and has worked in corporate management, developing an understanding of the real necessities in a business model. His expertise is focused in  hospitality, food service and the retail and merchandising sectors of business. Andy has had training in lean Six Sigma and develops operating systems, production flow schematics and preventive waste concepts with time, money and materials.


Leanna JenkinsLeanna Jenkins

Executive Director, Nevada Business Opportunity Fund/ Nevada Women's Business Center


Leanna is dedicated to the development, empowerment, and success of women and minority entrepreneurs in Nevada. A passionate and engaging public speaker, Leanna regularly presents at local and national events. With her combined passion and successful track-record, Leanna is a respected and sought-out leader in the community where she sits on committees with the Nevada Department of Business and Industry, working with the State of Nevada and the needs of small businesses in the state, and is in her first term as an alternate member of the Business Development Advisory Council (BDAC) for Clark County.  On invitation in 2014, Leanna attended the hearing of U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship for Empowering Women Entrepreneurs.

Leanna has received numerous awards throughout her career, including awards from the U.S. Small Business Administration, 2016 Women’s Business Advocator of the Year, 2017 Rising Star and is a recipient of the Woman of Distinction Award by the National Association of Women Business Owners. She also serves on the Board of Directors for Opportunity Alliance Nevada.

9:00 am- Road Map to Start or Grow Your Business: Licensing and Certification

Joan RuebenJoan Rueben

Director, Nevada Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC), Procurement Outreach Program (POP)


Joan and her team provide free procurement technical assistance counseling to Nevada businesses in their pursuit of local, state and federal government contracting and subcontracting opportunities. The Nevada PTAC, POP's mission is to help increase the flow of government contracting dollars to Nevada companies to facilitate job creation and retention in Nevada's growing diversified economy.

Prior to her role at PTAC, Joan was a small business consultant and has worked in the procurement and contracts profession for over 27 years.  She is a National Contract Management Association Fellow and member. She earned a bachelors' degree in business administration at San Jose State University and her master's degree in procurement and contract management at St. Mary's College. 


Kim PerondiKimberley Perondi

Deputy Secretary for Commercial Recordings, Nevada Secretary of State


As Deputy Secretary for Commercial Recordings, Kimberley is responsible for overseeing the Division that processes and maintains the documents of more than 340,000 business entities on file with the Secretary of State's office. Kimberley started her career in public service in 1993 with the Nevada Department of Taxation. In 1997, she joined the Department of Administration and served in various roles, including Chief Procurement Officer for the Purchasing Division. She has also previously worked in the Governor's Finance Office. 


Kimberley holds and associate's degree in general business and is a graduate of the Nevada Management Academy Program. As former CFO of her family's property management company, as well as having owned her own business, Ms. Perondi brings a balance perspective to her position of the needs of business owners and government. 

10:00 am- Road Map to Start or Grow Your Business: Funding for Your Business

Jerrie MerrittJerrie Merritt

SVP, Community Development Manager, Bank of Nevada


Jerrie has over 40 years experience in banking. She began her career in banking at First National Bank of Fairbanks before moving to Nevada in 1982 to take a position with Nevada State Bank. She currently serves as Senior Vice President and Community Development Manager with Bank of Nevada. Her responsibilities include serving as a liaison with state and local government agencies, nonprofit development groups and others in community and economic development programs and projects.  

 Jerrie has been recognized for her extensive community involvement and leadership including being selected for NAWBO's Women of Distinction Award,  named Woman to Watch in 2016 by Vegas Inc., and received the Silver State Award for Female Executive of the Year, among others. 


Lester RomeroLester Romero

Regional Banking Manager, Nevada Community Banking, Wells Fargo


Lester serves as the small business leader for Wells Fargo Bank in Nevada and Utah. In his role, he is directly responsible for helping team members in branches across the state foster retail banking relationships with small businesses. In his previous role, he functioned as the market sales manager for the Wells Fargo Payroll Service in Nevada, Southern Arizona and New Mexico. He led a team of seven sales representatives and partnered with retail and 

business banking to help small businesses succeed financially. 


He has been with the bank for more than 22 years, starting as a teller, then as a personal banker before becoming a business specialist and a store manager. He has also worked as a sales development consultant in Las Vegas where he was responsible for crating business partner relationships.  Lester has resided in Southern Nevada for more than 39 years. 


Sonny Vinuya croppedSonny Vinuya

VP, Relationship Manager, Nevada State Bank


Sonny Vinuya is Vice President/Relationship Manager with Nevada State Bank and a member of the bank’s Professional Banking team, which specializes in working with clients to facilitate access to lending and banking services.


With more than 12 years of banking experience, Sonny has provided personalized service to numerous Professional Banking clients, including doctors, dentists, attorneys, and CPAs, helping to meet all aspects of their financial needs, both business and personal.  He received a bachelor’s degree in business management from the University of Phoenix and has been a resident of Southern Nevada for more than 12 years.


An active member of the Southern Nevada community, Sonny is president of the Asian Chamber of Commerce and a 2012 graduate of the Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce Leadership Advance program.  He currently serves on the Metro Chamber’s Leadership Advance Council, regularly donates time teaching Nevada State Bank’s Banking on Your Future curriculum, and is a volunteer with Junior Achievement of Southern Nevada.  His hobbies include hiking, biking and reading.