About SBAC Empower

SBAC Empower was founded as a 501c3 nonprofit organization in 2016. Its sole purpose is to provide education, mentoring and business resources to aspiring and emerging entrepreneurs in the economically challenged areas across the greater Chicagoland area. With its dedicated and knowledgeable board and supporters, SBAC Empower is uniquely suited to deliver on this mission.


To be the bridge to education, resources and support that empowers entrepreneurs to build communities.


Elliot Richardson, Korey & Richardson

Founder & President
Elliot Richardson is the Co-Founder and President of the Small Business Advocacy Council, an organization laser-focused on improving the economic environment for small businesses in the State of Illinois. The SBAC strives to empower the small business community by bringing business owners, professionals and entrepreneurs together to speak with a unified, and strong voice.

Elliot Richardson is also a partner at the law firm of Korey Richardson LLP, handling a variety of commercial litigation matters in both federal and state court.

Elliot has been involved in community service since his college days at Bradley University. Presently, Elliot serves on the Board of Directors for Childserv, a large and successful organization focused on helping at-risk children. Elliot is co-chair of the resource development committee of this organization. Elliot is also on the board of Youth Conservation Corp., a dynamic non-profit which provides training in the construction industry to at-risk children.

Elliot formerly served on the Board of Directors for Youth Communications, an organization that empowers children by teaching them crucial writing skills. He also served on the Editorial Board of the Chicago Bar Association and on the executive committee of the Young Lawyers Section of the CBA. Elliot also served on the board of the YMCA Alliance Board.

Elliot received his law degree from the University of Dayton. In law school, he was the member of the Public Interest Law Organization and received the University of Dayton School of Law Pro Bono Publico Service Award. Elliot graduated from Bradley University with a degree in sociology and criminal justice. He obtained a minor in history.

Scott Baskin, Retired President & CEO of Mark Shale

Scott Baskin retired as President and CEO of Mark Shale in 2011. Mark Shale was Chicago’s largest independent clothing retailer with stores in Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas, Kansas City, and St. Louis. Prior to his business career, Scott served as Chief Legislative Assistant to the late Congressman Abner Mikva.

In addition to his professional experience, Scott is an engaged community leader. He is a board member of Uptown United, an economic development organization serving Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood. He was an elected member of the Northside College Prep High School Local Council and chair of its finance committee, and past treasurer of the Center for Law and Social Work.

Dwayne Hirsch, Agent-Owner of Hirsch Network Real Estate-Powered by EXP Realty

Agent. Entrepreneur. Small Business Advocate.
Dwayne Hirsch is a Licensed Real Estate Agent-Owner of Hirsch Network Real Estate-Powered by EXP Realty in Chicago, Illinois and a well-known networking professional and small business advocate. Since 2009, Dwayne has hosted more than 150 events, entertaining, informing and connecting thousands of local entrepreneurs and aspiring business owners.

Dwayne is also a key member of the Executive Board of Directors and Policy Committee of the Small Business Advocacy Council. The SBAC is a member based, non-partisan group that lobbies for the benefit of Small Business owners throughout the State of Illinois.

Gail Zelitzky, Wonder Women Mastermind™ , GEARSHIFT™, Interise Facilitator and Coach

Starting a business is hard. Scaling it for growth is even harder. Gail has devoted the last 20 years to coaching business owners grow because she experienced first-hand how hard it is. Former 2x, multi-million-dollar business owner – franchisor of the national retail liquor chain, Foremost Liquors™; and founder of worldwide Internet companies, Liquor by Wire™, and Liquor.com™. In each case, her creative approach to sales and systematic organizational structure fueled their growth and resulted in award-winning, sustainable businesses.

In 2015, Gail founded GEARSHIFT™ , a fast track coaching program to develop leaders, instill culture, create a sales mindset and bring about employee engagement, team performance and operational excellence – all necessary conditions for a business to succeed in today’s competitive marketplace.

Gail is also founder and facilitator of Wonder Women Mastermind™ and, the recently launched Women Over 70 – Aging Reimagined Podcast™ . Current volunteer activities include SBAC, Chicago Innovation Women’s Mentoring Co-op, SBAC Empower, the Hatchery and NAWBO.

https://www.gailzelitzky.com, https://www.womenover70.com

Iris Marreck, iris.b. branding & communications, What A Great Website!, Iris.B.

Iris Marreck has over 30 years of branding, graphic design, web and digital design and marketing experience in the Chicago metro area. She is the owner of Iris B. Branding & Communications, and a partner in What A Great Website. Iris B. specializes in branding, graphic design and print. What A Great Website is a web development and digital marketing firm.

Iris currently serves on the boards of Twist Out Cancer, SBAC Women In Business and SBAC Empower.  She is also an active committee member of the Magnificent Mile Association and EPWNG, and a member of the Advisory Board of Literature for All of Us.

Paul S. Detlefs, The Prestwick Group, EOS® Implementer

Paul Detlefs has spent over 40 years advising small and mid-sized businesses and their owners, working with over 200 companies over that time. After 24 years at Andersen Consulting/Accenture, in 2002 he founded The Prestwick Group, a consulting and advisory firm focused on small and mid-sized businesses and their owners.  He spends almost all of his time now as a Professional Implementer of EOS®, the Entrepreneurial Operating System, serving as a teacher, facilitator and coach for his clients.

Philip Gafka, CBC

Capitalizing on his experience of leading successful companies and developing people’s leadership performances at a variety of corporate levels, as a Certified Business Coach, Phil coaches entrepreneurs, business owners, and corporate teams, guiding them to discover their hidden leadership potential, resulting in superior performance.

Phil specializes in Executive Coaching, Leadership Development, Culture Development and Strategic Business Planning.

Victor Miceli, Pulse Technology

Victor Miceli is the Vice President of Sales and Co-owner at Pulse Technology. Pulse Technology is a family-owned office technology company that has been providing the greater Chicagoland area with everything from printers and copiers to interactive video displays, document management solutions, and Managed IT Services for the past 63 years. Born into the business, Vic has always been passionate about helping businesses become more efficient and to be proactive in creating unique, technological solutions in today’s ever-changing workplace. He wants to see all small businesses succeed in today’s society whether it be through his lobbying in D.C. with the National Small Business Association, with Pulse Technology’s solutions and services to make businesses more efficient and productive, or even just lending a helping hand to a customer in need when tragedy strikes.