Rose M. Washington
In Tulsa, Rose Washington understands concerns about small business.
Washington, a director on the Board of the Kansas City Fed’s Oklahoma City Branch since 2010, is executive director of the Tulsa Economic Development Corporation. Founded in 1979, TEDC has provided or located more than $156 million to help nearly 300 small businesses start or expand.
Washington calls her job “ground zero” in one of the most important facets of the U.S. economy.
“At any given time, I’m side-by-side with small business owners who are making tough decisions: Make payroll or pay taxes. Reduce or discontinue employee benefits because of rising cost or eliminate another expense. Buy a fixed asset or lease,” she says.
This provides her with a high level of insight in regard to both what is going on in the local economy, but also an up close look at emerging issues.
“These business owners anticipate expected hiccups in the industry in real time,” she says. “They are purchasing commodities, planning capital expenditures, hiring, anticipating expansion or retraction based on expected orders. I am able to challenge them and pick their brains.”
And sharing that insight is a job Washington takes seriously.
“I feel that my responsibility is not to share my personal opinion, but to bring the voice of Main Street to the Federal Reserve,” she says. “The Federal Reserve ensures that many people from all walks of life are able to participate. My responsibility is to share real-time perspectives of those who otherwise may never have an opportunity to provide feedback.”