Brooks named SBDC advisor for Skagit, Island, San Juan counties

By Hope Belli Tinney, Washington SBDC

MOUNT VERNON, Wash. – Cynthia Ann Brooks has joined the Washington Small Business Development Center in Skagit County where she provides no-cost, confidential advising to entrepreneurs and small business owners who want to start, grow or transition a business.

Businesses today operate in a rapidly changing world, Brooks said, and successful businesses are those that can both adapt to changing conditions and pivot to new opportunities. “Business as usual is what we do without thinking about it,” Brooks said. As an SBDC advisor, “we are in a position to help people think things through in a different way.”

Brooks joins more than two dozen SBDC business advisors across the state who meet with small business owners to provide expert assistance on diverse challenges, including improving profitability, securing financing, understanding financial statements, market research, cash flow management, setting up business systems and other issues critical to small business success.

The Washington SBDC statewide network is hosted by Washington State University and Brooks’ office is in Mount Vernon where she shares space with colleagues at the Economic Development Alliance of Skagit County. Her service area includes small business owners in Island and San Juan counties as well.

Duane Fladland, state director of the Washington SBDC, said that Brooks “understands the day-to-day demands of running a business, and she is committed to helping her clients find a path forward that builds value and is sustainable over time.”

No matter how good someone is at business, Brooks said, no one can do it alone. The demands are too overwhelming and business owners can’t be an expert at everything.

As an SBDC advisor Brooks will help clients advance their technical business skills and also build resiliency by identifying opportunities to add value in ways that are meaningful.

“Long-lasting success comes from understanding the community as an ecosystem and designing your business to be an essential provider of products and services that meet real needs,” she said.

Brooks has more than 25 years’ experience manual care, including soft-tissue rehabilitation and neuromuscular re-patterning to people injured by accidents or illness.

In 2005, she became a certified life coach and in 2012 she opened The Brooks Group LLC, where she was a coach and consultant to help people achieve their personal and professional goals. In 2013 Brooks became a co-founder of Alinker Inventions, a company that designed and now manufactures an innovative “walking” bicycle to assist people with limited mobility.

Her professional service and volunteer work includes working with Element 8, an angel investment group focused on clean technology, the Center for Inclusive Entrepreneurship and the Social Venture Partners, where she has been a volunteer coach for entrepreneurs in business competitions.

She earned a master’s degree in business administration with an emphasis in sustainable systems in 2017 from Presidio Graduate School, a San Francisco-based professional program with a second campus in Seattle. Her graduate work focused on business management, stakeholder engagement, change management and organizational development.

The Washington SBDC receives funding from WSU, the U.S. Small Business Administration and other institutions of higher education and economic development. Brooks’ office in Mount Vernon is located at 204 West Montgomery. The SBDC in Mount Vernon receives support from the Economic Development Alliance of Skagit County.

For more information about the Washington SBDC, go to



  • Cynthia Brooks, business advisor, Washington SBDC, 360-336-6114,,
  • Hope Tinney, communications, Washington SBDC, 509-432-8254,