As the director of equity and business development at what now is called the Greater Topeka Partnership, Glenda Washington started 10 years ago with the mission to provide resources to Topeka’s small business owners.
“I had to come in and assess where we were at that point, and we really didn’t have very many programs going on,” Washington said. “What I wanted to do was look at how we could broaden opportunities for businesses in our community.”
She looked at different markets and communities that were growing their entrepreneurial footprint. Since then, Washington has pioneered her way through the business realm.
Israel Sanchez to succeed Washington after retirement
Washington will retire at the end of the month. Israel Sanchez will succeed her.
Sanchez has been a part of GTP since 2021, where he has made significant contributions to the organization’s Spanish language outreach efforts, a release said. Most recently, he served as the partnership’s representative with the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
Sanchez told The Capital-Journal he hopes to learn from the efforts Washington has made over the years.
“When you come into a new role or a new person, you have ideas that are different,” Sanchez said. “I’m hoping to learn first and then also see where I can take that even further if possible. I’m hoping to learn what’s worked, what hasn’t worked, what could we do better. You only get that from experience.
“And I hope to continue that work that she’s been doing and helping local entrepreneurs and local small businesses to grow their dream.”
Washington said she recommends Sanchez create connectivity with federal delegations and the small business community, so business owners will “know that there’s a voice in D.C. for them.”
Building relationships with businesses shows value of trust
Sanchez said one thing he’d like to do is build relationships among business owners to show the value of trust.
“At the end of the day, it’s about the people and you’re trying to help them grow their business, but also, it affects their personal lives,” he said. “They can set up if they’re successful, their families that are all successful, their community successful.”
Washington credited Sanchez for being ready for the position.
“I think Israel has more muscle than he realizes,” she said. “I think that what he’ll bring to the table is the ability to be that flexible, to be in any audience and to be able to uncover the changes that need to occur, identify the gaps.”
Keishera Lately is the business reporter for the Topeka Capital-Journal. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @Lately_KT.