WASHINGTON, D.C. – Dr. Michele Hockersmith, State Director of the Oklahoma Small Business Development Center housed on the campus of Southeastern Oklahoma State University, has been elected to the Board of Directors for America’s Small Business Development Center and recently attended her first meeting in the nation’s capital.
Hockersmith has held the position of State Director for the Oklahoma Small Business Development Center network since 2018, after serving as Assistant State Director for the Oklahoma SBDC. During her tenure as Assistant State Director, she fostered numerous partnerships and collaborations across the state to support the growth of Oklahoma’s economy through small businesses.
America’s SBDC is a non-profit Association representing America’s nationwide network of Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) – the most comprehensive small business assistance network in the United States and its territories. SBDCs are hosted by leading universities, colleges, state economic development agencies and private partners, and funded in part by the United States Congress through a partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration.
“I’m so honored to be selected to represent the state of Oklahoma and Southeastern on this board,” Hockersmith said. “The work that SBDCs do all over the country is vital to our economic health and promoting small businesses and entrepreneurs. What we do in our state, and especially in our rural areas, is important to Oklahoma’s economy. Helping Oklahoma’s economy grow one small business at a time is our goal. We do this through helping entrepreneurs create and sustain jobs, assist with business starts as well as expansion, and promote the infusion of capital in our economy.
“Our engagement in southeastern Oklahoma as well as through our offices all over the state provides great examples of business success. I’m looking forward to using this chance to serve the needs of our area and the state, advocate for the continued success of America’s SBDC across our 63 networks, and grow and sustain our national network through the demonstration of how SBDCs are impacting small businesses.”
Hockersmith’s prior experience includes five years in the Office of the President at Southeastern, where she played a key role in strategic partnerships, policy research, and university outreach programs. With 17 years of experience in education, Michele also served as a counselor and later as Director in the U.S. Department of Education TRIO grant programs, focusing on underserved populations.
Hockersmith is a highly engaged leader, having graduated from Leadership Oklahoma and actively participating in various roles within the organization, including serving on the Executive Board, Board of Directors, and numerous committees. She has also contributed significantly to the Oklahoma Academy and has received multiple accolades for her impactful work, including Journal Record’s Woman of the Year nominations in recognition as one of Oklahoma’s Women Making a Difference for three years which ultimately gained a position in their Circle of Excellence. She has also earned the Leadership Oklahoma Distinguished Leadership Award in 2017.
Hockersmith’s commitment extends to the national level, where she is part of the Leadership Development Committee for America’s SBDC. Her diverse involvement includes roles on boards, civic organizations, and her dedication to education and community service.
Hockersmith holds degrees in sociology and counseling psychology from Southeastern, along with a Ph.D. in history from Swansea University in Wales, where she completed her dissertation on the modern history of the economic prosperity of the Chickasaw Nation and the benefits of social capital in 2023.