Travelers Institute Chooses Pittsburgh for Next “Small Business - Big Opportunity” Symposium

March 18, 2014

PITTSBURGH--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- The Travelers Institute, the public policy division of The Travelers Companies, Inc. (NYSE: TRV), will bring its “Small Business – Big Opportunity” symposia series to the Regional Learning Alliance in Cranberry Township on Friday, March 21. The event will be hosted in partnership with local independent insurance agency Henderson Brothers and the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance.

Local leaders will examine regional and national recommendations on how communities can help promote an atmosphere favorable to small business success in a panel discussion moderated by Joan Woodward, President of the Travelers Institute and Executive Vice President of Public Policy at Travelers.

“We are pleased to partner with Henderson Brothers and the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance to bring ‘Small Business – Big Opportunity’ to the Pittsburgh region,” said Woodward. “With small business optimism on the rise, we believe it is a critically important time to facilitate an exchange of ideas aimed at helping grow this pivotal part of Pennsylvania’s overall economy, where an estimated 1 million small businesses employ almost half of the state’s workforce.”

Joining Woodward on the panel will be the following Pittsburgh entrepreneurs and small business thought leaders:

  • Neil Bassi, President and CEO, Charleroi Federal Savings Bank
  • Ngozi Bell, Region III Advocate, U.S. Small Business Administration
  • John “Buddy” Hobart, President and Founder, Solutions 21
  • Jared Sadowski, Senior Account Executive, Henderson Brothers

Guhan Venkatu, Vice President and Senior Regional Officer of the Pittsburgh Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, will provide a keynote address examining regional and national economic forecasts, as well as trends within the labor market and long-term expectations for small business development.

“The health of small businesses has a great deal of influence over the strength of any economy, large or small,” said Venkatu. “Identifying solutions to their current problems – and putting them into practice – could have a positive effect on long-term U.S. economic growth.”

Bell, who advocates for small businesses across the mid-Atlantic, recently toured the region to visit small business owners and learn first-hand how to improve the regulatory and economic environment for small businesses.

“Small businesses face countless challenges from the start,” said Bell. “Initiatives like Travelers’ ‘Small Business – Big Opportunity’ symposia help us connect with entrepreneurs, listen to their evolving needs and encourage their innovation.”

The Travelers Institute launched “Small Business – Big Opportunity” in 2011 to raise awareness on a variety of concerns for the country’s nearly 28 million small businesses. For more information, visit the Travelers Institute’s website at

About Travelers Institute

The Travelers Institute, the public policy division of The Travelers Companies, Inc., engages in discussion and analysis of public policy topics of importance to the insurance marketplace and the financial services industry more broadly. The Travelers Institute draws upon the industry expertise of Travelers’ senior management and the technical expertise of many of Travelers underwriters, risk managers, and other experts to provide information, analysis, and solutions to public policy makers and regulators. Travelers is a leading provider of property casualty insurance for auto, home, and business. For more information, visit

About Henderson Brothers

Henderson Brothers, established in Pittsburgh in 1893, is a leading independent insurance agent in the tri-state area. Henderson Brothers designs and manages programs for thousands of individuals, leading corporations, small businesses and non-profit organizations throughout the region and beyond. For more information, please visit

About Pittsburgh Regional Alliance

The Pittsburgh Regional Alliance (PRA), the marketing affiliate of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, markets the benefits of conducting business in southwestern Pennsylvania to companies all over the world that are growing, relocating or expanding. The PRA also works to support the growth of existing regional employers. Learn more at

Luke Shane, 860-277-4090

Source: The Travelers Institute