Panel + Q&A (*Maximum 4 Panelists)

Access to Diversified Capital for Resilient Rural Economies

You voted for this

Our rural communities need access to flexible, affordable capital for small businesses – especially post COVID-19. Traditional banking models and lending do not serve many of our under-represented entrepreneurs, especially women and communities of color. First Southwest Community Fund (501c3), First Southwest Bank (a CDFI bank), and HelloBello (a fin-tech startup) have a unique partnership that enables us to develop creative capital stacks and financing tools to assist our rural entrepreneurs and small businesses in Colorado. We will discuss the benefits of why it is important to think outside the box and provide a variety of financial tools for rural communities, and how this in turn leads to resilient rural economies.

Confirmed Panelists

Cass Walker Harvey, Executive Director, First Southwest Community Fund


Cass Walker Harvey has spent the past decade+ building inclusive innovation ecosystems, working as an educator across three continents, and founding social enterprises as a vehicle for achieving scalable impact. Prior to her role at First Southwest Community Fund, Cass co-led the launch of the Tsai Center for Innovative Thinking at Yale University as Managing Director, focusing on strategy and inclusive programming in the areas of environment, sustainability, health, education, and social justice. During her time at Yale she also taught Yale’s first course on innovation and international education and founded WE@Yale (Women Entrepreneurs and Innovators at Yale). Cass has a Masters in International Education Policy from Harvard Graduate School of Education.


Sherry Waner, Chief Development Officer, First Southwest Bank


Sherry Waner has been in banking since 1993 and has worked as Branch President, Sr. CML Lender and SBA Dept. Mgr. She heads our Specialized Lending Department and created it to oversee activities focused on providing loans using government programs like SBA/USDA. Her extensive background in navigating such programs has afforded the opportunity for FSWB to become an emerging leader in this industry in Colorado. She has created strong working relationships with the agencies lending credibility to our efforts in supporting entrepreneurs. She works with staff to deploy capital from the USDA and will maintain oversight of all lending functions relating to use of these monies.

Jie Wang, CEO, HelloBello

Jie Wang is the CEO of HelloBello, a Fintech startup that provides mission-driven financial institutions a web-based solution to effectively promote entrepreneurship in urban and rural communities. Before becoming the founding CEO of HelloBello, Ms. Wang spent 15 years at Promontory Interfinancial Network. She was the Senior Director and Head of Promontory Network’s Bank Assetpoint service. Bank Assetpoint is a nationwide marketplace for a variety of bank assets. The service is one of several financial services provided by the company to 3,000 financial institutions, mostly community banks in its network. Ms. Wang also led the company’s Socially-Responsible Investing effort which includes the Banking on Communities campaign to help community banks to attract deposits— funding that can then be used to make loans in underserved communities. Prior to working at Promontory Network, she led and managed product strategy and business development efforts in communications technology companies ranging from Fortune 100s to start-ups. Ms. Wang is a graduate of Stanford University.

Share this session idea


  1. Access to Diversified Capital for Resilient Rural Economies is a very interesting and timely session.

  2. The 3 leaders in this session are extraordinary! They have established innovative ways to serve our communities and to create new products to widen the market. They have listened to the voice of the community and have paved the path to succession through these ideas including Hello Bello.

Leave a Reply to Carla Mannings Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *