2015 Rhode Island Financial Services Champion of the Year

Sandra Cano reading to schoolchidren

Sandra Cano reading to schoolchildren

As Assistant Vice President of Business & Community Development at Navigant Credit Union, Sandra Cano has used her unique skill set and tireless work ethic to help Rhode Island’s small business community grow. Sandra’s diverse background and education have made her an invaluable asset to both Navigant Credit Union and small businesses. Responsible for developing strategic business sectors, the underbanked community, community-based partnerships, and financial education campaigns in urban communities, Cano has helped change the way banks and small business customers interact.

Combining the skills she learned while earning her bachelor’s degree in management and economics at Bryant University and her master’s degree in public administration from the University of Rhode Island, with her outgoing, magnetic personality, Cano is able to connect with business owners and assist them in ways others cannot. Her knowledge of business operations, business planning, financial statements, and lending make her an invaluable asset to the small businesses she works with. Born in Medellin, Colombia, Cano moved to the United States in 2000. With her native language being Spanish, and her proficiency in English, Cano is able to communicate with almost any business owner in their native language, adding a level of comfort to those she works with.

A strong component of her approach is constant collaboration with SBA resource partners, often referring business owners in need of assistance to the Center for Women & Enterprise, SCORE, and the Rhode Island Small Business Development Center, relying on their guidance to assist borrowers as they refine their business concepts and prepare fundable business plans. Cano works closely with the SBA District Office as well, constantly getting business owners to meet with the District Office staff to discuss their eligibility for various government contracting programs and opportunities to help expand their business.

In 2012, Sandra was awarded the “Credit Union Rising Star” Award by the Credit Union Association of Rhode Island, Massachusetts Credit Union League, New Hampshire Credit Union League, and Center Point Magazine for her outstanding work and notable impact as a business leader. Cano was also selected by former Providence Mayor, Angel Taveras, to participate in the White House Initiative “Transforming Education Outcomes for Hispanics” Summit. This led to her being selected to participate in the two-week conference in New York at the United Nations, the “2012 Commission on the Status of Women” Conference, and subsequently being chosen to be part of the 2013 “Young Women’s International Training Institute (ITI)” in Bangkok, Thailand in 2013.

For her efforts in championing financial services for the small business community, the U.S. Small Business Administration is pleased to present the 2014 Rhode Island Financial Services Champion of the Year Award to Sandra C. Cano.

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Avatar About the Author: The Rhode Island Small Business Journal is a printed monthly magazine and an online resource for the aspiring and start-up entrepreneur and small business owner.

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