Debra Hamilton Farley, Associate Executive Director and Certified Business Analyst, has been selected as the Virginia SBDC Network’s State Star for 2013. This annual award, conferred by the National Association of SBDCs, recognizes an exemplary performer who makes significant contributions to their SBDC network and who demonstrates a strong commitment to small businesses. In the Virginia SBDC Network, staff members from the 29 statewide offices nominated and then voted for the award recipient.
On June 4, Jody Keenan, State Director of the Virginia SBDC Network, presented Farley with the award at a reception held in Norfolk. Keenan said, "Debra’s clients sing her praises, her partners rely on her efforts for their success, and her peers and colleagues selected her as the most worthy recipient of this national award. She truly reflects the State Star criteria.”
Debra Farley has worked for the SBDC for 23 years. She assists clients who desire to start a new business and/or who need assistance in further developing an existing business. Farley received an Associate Degree in Business Administration from Thomas Nelson Community College; a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Management from Hampton University and she completed a Masters’ Program in Global Management, from Cambridge College, Cambridge, Mass.
During her tenure with the SBDC, Farley was instrumental in the center’s participation in the Welfare to Work Federal Program; the initiation of the Small and Minority Business Series, a three to five week training program developed on the Peninsula to provide a systematic selection of training suitable for the start-up and/or existing business professional. Many attendees have referred to this setting as a “mini MBA.” She also created group training for non-profit church groups and opportunities for individual minority business owners to advertise their home-based business ventures during a weekend training session and breakfast setting. Farley collaborated and offered a custom-designed class for the City of Hampton’s Redevelopment and Housing Authority to assist a select group of low-medium income participants in starting a business in 2010, 2012 and 2013.
Farley received the Minority Business Advocate of the Year Award by the Virginia Peninsula Chamber of Commerce in 2004, and was honored by Inside Business in 2007 with its Women in Business Achievement Award.
Farley is a Certified NxLeveL Instructor and became a Certified Business Analyst in 2011. She received a Certificate of Certification in 2008 as a Facilitator of the Profit Mastery Program to train Entrepreneurs in projecting financial stability within their company. She served as a member of the Hampton University Continuing Education Policy Council, 2007-2009 and is a 2009 graduate of LEAD Hampton Roads. Farley is a member of the National Association of Professional Women, the Association of SBDCs, the National Association of the Self Employed, and the National Association of Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE). She serves as an advisory participant for both ECPI and Centura College Peninsula locations upon request.
Born and raised in Macon, GA, Farley currently resides in Hampton, VA, where she has lived the past 23 years. She is married to Tommie Farley, Jr., and they have three daughters and two granddaughters. Debra volunteers her time as an active member of Saint Paul A.M.E. Church, where she serves as one of 19 Stewards; Executive Assistant to the Pastor; Mass Choir Member; Missionary Society Member; VP Pastor’s Aide Organization; and Director, Junior Church Programs.