Karen Mills faculty headshot

Karen Mills

Senior Fellow, Harvard Business School



Karen Gordon Mills is a Senior Fellow at Harvard Business School and a leading authority on U.S. competitiveness, entrepreneurship, and innovation. She served in President Barack Obama’s Cabinet as the Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) from 2009 until 2013, and was a member of the President’s National Economic Council. At SBA, she led a team of more than 3,000 employees and managed a loan guarantee portfolio of over $100 billion. At the height of the Great Recession, she took steps that led to record-breaking years for SBA lending and investments in growth capital. Additionally, Mills’ efforts helped small businesses create regional economic clusters, gain access to early-stage capital, boost exports, and tap into government and commercial supply chains. She is the author of the book Fintech, Small Business & the American Dream: How Technology is Transforming Lending and Shaping a New Era of Small Business Opportunity (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019), as well as numerous other publications on fintech, innovation policy, and the supply chain economy.

Mills is a venture capitalist and the President of MMP Group. She is the Vice Chair of Envoy, an immigration services provider, and a Director of several Churchill Capital entities. She is also a Director of the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) and Chair of the Advisory Committee for the Private Capital Research Institute (PCRI). Mills is a Member of the Harvard Corporation and a past Vice Chair of the Harvard Overseers.

Mills earned an AB in economics from Harvard University and an MBA from Harvard Business School, where she was a Baker Scholar. She received the U.S. Department of the Navy’s Distinguished Public Service Award for her work in innovation, and is a frequent guest on radio and news outlets, including SiriusXM, Bloomberg TV, Yahoo Finance and CNBC, with recent articles in American BankerFortune, Inc., and the Harvard Business Review.

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