Inside CDC: From Intern to Shaping Innovation at CDC

Company News
January 15, 2020

Our blog series, Inside CDC, offers details about some of the many facets that drive CDC’s success. These posts feature interviews with CDC’ers who are integral to advancing our mission to connect small businesses with the support and services they need.

After Hannah Snowden arrived at CDC Small Business Finance, she came to realize that the Small Business Administration already had played a role in her family. The agency had financed her grandparents’ purchase of a building for their Colorado furniture business, a place where she took on her earliest jobs, sitting behind their cash register or carrying stock in from the warehouse. 

CDC supports small business owners by working with the SBA to connect them to the right loans for their needs, while offering them access to advisers tasked with helping them thrive. We also want to shape programs to pave the way for future success.

Hannah, a recent college graduate who parlayed an internship into a full-time position with CDC, is a part of that. She leads The Lab, an incubator for innovation and collaboration that shapes our efforts to better serve our clients. She calls it “impactful work,’ and says the culture at the company fosters an inspirational atmosphere.

“It doesn’t matter if you’ve been here for six months, two months, or 25 years, everybody’s constantly yearning for more knowledge, (asking) how can we do things better, how can we make the experience more positive,” Hannah said. “I really value that.”

Take a moment to learn more about Hannah and her commitment to promoting innovation and building opportunities for the entrepreneurs and long-time owners we serve at CDC Small Business Finance.

CDC Small Business Finance innovation

Hannah Snowden, center right, sits with colleagues from across the company to discuss innovation, as long as the changes benefit our borrowers.

How did you connect with CDC? 

I had to do an internship hybrid. I was in a nonprofit management class my last semester of college, and the project was to intern with or shadow some sort of management at a nonprofit. A professor and a fellow classmate plugged me into CDC, and I had an informational interview with Susan Lamping (our Vice President of Sales). I was super inspired and knew from then on, this is what I want to be doing.

How did your position evolve?

There were a couple progressions. I started out shadowing different managers across the company, from sales to servicing to business advising and marketing, and everything in between. And I would sit with the respective managers for an hour and they would give me their scoop about their role in the company. It was a space where I could ask questions and dig a little bit deeper and it really helped me figure out what I was really passionate about and what I was really interested in. So from there I transitioned into an internship where I was managing one of our customer acquisition channels part time, and I did that throughout the summer.  Then in July (2019) I was offered the position in The Lab.

How does The Lab drive innovation?

The Lab is the place where we test ideas, processes, and products before we enter them into our main production stream. We pull together teams of people across the company that bring perspective and insight into the topic that we are exploring. We do everything from process mapping to implementation to product design and defining guidelines.  Our main priority is to discuss how we can improve our product and processes to better match the needs of our borrowers. The Lab is the place where each individual within the company can see how the bigger picture works.

CDC Small Business Finance innovation

Hannah helps direct the dialogue at a Lab meeting intended to foster innovation at CDC.

Which of the Lab’s innovations are you proud of?

I’m really excited about two concepts that we have in the works right now. They’re both pilot programs at this stage, but they both exist to educate and better assist our current borrowers. The programs employ tools and financial resources as borrowers need them, and bring a level of awareness to our clients that we exist for more than just providing capital at funding. There’s a relationship, and continuing the relationship past funding is really important and something that’s been a key driver of both of these pilot programs.

What do you do in your free time?

I love the outdoors, I love traveling. I spent a semester living in northern Spain, so I love experiencing new cultures and talking with people. Here I like hiking and backpacking. I love my friends, and anything that we can do to get outside and even just spend time together. We like to explore San Diego.

What is CDC’s impact?

We understand that as a small business owner, you’re the expert on your business and it’s frustrating to be rejected when you need capital because of strict requirements that are sometimes out of your control. But my colleagues work diligently with our applicants to find and produce the best solutions to benefit them even if we can’t fund them right at this moment. That includes everyone from our business advising team, who can help increase credit scores, cash flow and overall financial literacy, to our marketing team that produces quality tips and tricks to help navigate the financial world. We want to be there through it all. We fight for them to achieve sustainable success doing what they love to do because that is what produces the most genuine impact.

In case you missed it:

CDC Small Business Finance offers several loan options for business owners who want to grow their operations and are planning for their long-term needs. Contact our loan experts about your business needs, and they’ll work to match you with a financing plan that best suits you. Reach us at or (619) 243-8667.