AEDC Names New Director of Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise Division

Esperanza Massana-Crane will take over the position next week.

Esperanza Massana-Crane
Courtesy: Arkansas Economic Development Commission

The Arkansas Economic Development Commission has named Esperanza Massana-Crane as the new director of the Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise Division. Massana-Crane will replace Patricia Brown, who retired from the position in December 2020.

Massana-Crane currently serves as the director of marketing for AEDC. She previously worked to recruit businesses to Arkansas as a project manager within AEDC’s Business Development Division and will assume her new role Feb. 1, according to a news release.

“My goal and passion in economic development is to create opportunities,” Massana-Crane said. “I look forward to elevating our women and minority-owned businesses and the significant role they play in our diverse economy. It is an honor and a privilege to follow in Pat Brown’s footsteps and build upon her legacy.”

Prior to her time at AEDC, Massana-Crane spent seven years as an account executive and research manager at CJRW. She also served as assistant to the general manager of Nine West Group in El Salvador, where she was responsible for product merchandising and oversight of marketing activities for six Nine West stores across five different countries in Central America.

“In her various roles at AEDC over the past seven years, Esperanza has demonstrated outstanding leadership, professionalism and dedication to whatever task she has been given,” Secretary of Commerce Mike Preston said. “We conducted a thorough search for the next person to fill this position, and we are confident that Esperanza’s diverse professional portfolio and experience will be an incredible asset to the state as she steps into her new role as director of the MWOBE Division.”

The MWOBE Division within AEDC promotes the growth and sustainability of such businesses by providing technical and professional assistance, state vendor certification, and opportunities for networking and doing business with AEDC partners in state and federal government, higher education, lending institutions, and the private sector.

Originally from El Salvador, Massana-Crane earned her bachelor’s degree and MBA degree from Harding University, where she also served as adjunct professor for international business. She speaks fluent Spanish and German, as well as intermediate French.  

Massana-Crane currently serves on the board of directors for the Girl Scouts – Diamonds of Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas and is a member of the Little Rock Sister Cities Commission. She is a graduate of the Greater Little Rock Class XXX and Leadership Arkansas Class XII. In 2018, Massana-Crane was recognized in Arkansas Business’ 40 Under 40 list.