Owings Mills woman is SBA deputy

Work with United Way leads to nomination by President Bush

April 16, 2002|By Andrea K. Walker | Andrea K. Walker,SUN STAFF

A former business owner and fund-raiser from Owings Mills has been appointed deputy administrator of the Small Business Administration.

Melanie R. Sabelhaus, who ran a Baltimore property rental and management company for more than a decade, was sworn in last week to the second-highest position at the federal agency.

"I am proud to be a part of this organization and have the opportunity to touch the 25 million businesses in America and to help them reach the next level in some way," Sabelhaus said yesterday.

Local SBA officials said they hope her Baltimore connection will bode well for local businesses.

"It never hurts when your leadership comes from or resides in the same area as your district office," said Allan A. Stephenson, director of the Baltimore office. "I just consider that a plus."

"Whenever we have leadership that actually has small business experience it helps the organization because they understand the thinking and some of the needs that small business has," Stephenson added.

Sabelhaus had been an executive with International Business Machines Corp. for 15 years when, in 1986 she rented out her two-bedroom guest cottage to executives who had transferred or were temporarily assigned to new jobs.

Within months, she quit her job to start Exclusive Interim Properties Ltd., which grew into a $10 million venture.

She merged her company with BridgeStreet Accommodations in 1996. She led the new company's global expansion and took the company public before leaving in 1998 to do philanthropic work.

In that time, Sabelhaus has served on several boards. Through her work with the United Way of Central Maryland, she came to the attention of President Bush and was nominated for the SBA post.

She led the charitable organization's campaign to increase donations by wealthy women. Under her leadership, the number of women who gave at least $10,000 to the organization jumped from 10 donors in 1999 to 75 last year.

"She's just a really dynamic woman who has developed a passion in United Way and for women in philanthropy," said Carole Baker, vice president of communications for the organization.

Sabelhaus said one of her focuses with the SBA will be on women entrepreneurs.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.