About this event
Janie Barrera is founding President and Chief Executive Officer of Accion Texas Inc. Created in
1994, Accion Texas has grown to hold the nation’s largest microlending portfolio. The
nonprofit agency provides small loans and management training to microenterprises of all kinds
— from startups to long‐established businesses — and operates in the states of Alabama,
Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee and Texas. Since its
inception, it has disbursed more than 14,000 loans totaling more than $150 million – with
an impressive 96 percent repayment rate.
As President and CEO, Ms. Barrera is responsible for the organization’s financial management,
oversight of its annual budget and the development of methodology and loan delivery procedures.
In particular, she has worked hard to level the playing field for women entrepreneurs, who
historically have faced considerable obstacles when seeking the financing they need to start and
grow their businesses. Since 1998, under her leadership, Accion Texas has made more than 660
loans totaling $7.3 million to women business owners in the Dallas‐Fort Worth area – and has
ensured that all of them receive the education and other tools they need to succeed. In fact, 40
percent of Accion’s DFW clients are women.
Ms. Barrera has received nationwide recognition for her accomplishments, including the Small
Business Administration Financial Services Advocate of the Year and the Minority Enterprise
Development Consortium's Corporate Advocate of the Year. The San Antonio Business Journal
listed Ms. Barrera as one of “Twenty Defining Players: People Who Have Helped Shape the City,”
and also named her as one of 2013’s “Legacy Leaders.” Ms. Barrera has served on many national,
state and local boards, including the Federal Reserve Board’s National Consumer Advisory
Council. President Barack Obama appointed Ms. Barrera to the President’s Advisory Council on
Financial Capability and she also was named to the board of directors for the Federal Reserve of
Dallas’ San Antonio Branch.
She has dedicated her professional life to helping others. She is a change‐agent in the field of
microfinance and helping small businesses reach their full potential. Experience from her 35‐
year career has given her a unique viewpoint as to how microfinance relates to a community’s
economic growth and social well‐being.
Ms. Barrera began her career as director of telecommunications for the Diocese of Corpus Christi
in 1977. There, she helped found the area's first nonprofit radio stations, KLUX and KHOY, as well
as two television production studios. After completing her MBA at the University of the Incarnate
Word, the Corpus Christi native remained in San Antonio where, in 1989, she became marketing
director for the U.S. Air Force Morale, Welfare and Recreation Division headquartered at
Randolph Air Force Base.