In a time when congressional action is slow, at best, the U.S. Senate confirmed the third-ever Latina to head a Presidential Cabinet position. On Thursday, Maria Contreras-Sweet, a long-time leader in the Hispanic business community, was confirmed as the head of the Small Business Administration.

Contreras-Sweet is the third ever Latina to hold a position in the Cabinet, and the second Hispanic to be appointed to such a position during President Obama's second term, following Labor Secretary Tom Perez.

"With the bipartisan confirmation of Maria Contreras-Sweet as the next Administrator of the Small Business Administration," said Obama in a statement, according to Fox News Latino, "the American people will have a fierce champion who understands what it means to start a small business, and who has a proven track record of helping other small businesses succeed."

Although successful, the process wasn't exactly fast. It took more than a year to fill the position for the leader of the Small Business Administration (SBA). After yearlong process of considerations to fill the vacancy on his second-term Cabinet, during which two intermediary acting administrators held the position in the past seven months, President Obama finally nominated Contraras-Sweet back in January.

During her confirmation hearing before a Senate panel last month, Contreras-Sweet vowed to use her authority to make sure "the Small Business Administration is an even more significant force in expanding opportunities for all Americans, ensuring the economic strength of our country and the global economy," according to the Washington Post. She takes on a post with a lot of administrative challenges, including falling loan-backing rates over the past two years, reported procedural problems in some of the SBA's ending programs, and natural disaster loans for small businesses, which the administration has been slow to process requests for.

Contreras-Sweet brings an impressive resume with her to the position, though, which reads as a case example for Latinos and the American dream. Born in Guadalajara, Mexico, Contreras-Sweet immigrated with her mother and siblings to Los Angeles when she was five years old. While she was still in high school and working at a jewelry store, she met an office manager for the speaker of the California Assembly, according to her Businessweek bio, who asked her if she wanted to work for his boss -- an opportunity that she took.

The young Contreras-Sweet got very well acquainted with California state politics, and decided to get a Political Science major at California State University, Los Angeles after high school. She worked for Westinghouse's 7-Up/RC Bottling Company as the Vice President for Public Affairs. She eventually went from public policy to the private sector, founding the Contreras-Sweet company, where she did management consulting for Disney, Coca Cola, and others.

In 2006, Contreras-Sweet became the Founding Chairwoman of ProAmérica Bank, the first Latino-founded commercial bank in California in over 35 years. The bank was founded to help Latino small businesses in Southern California, but also gained clients from some of California's most prominent organizations, foundations, and corporations.

Before joining the federal government, Contreras-Sweet held several California government posts, including the California Secretary of Business, Transportation and Housing -- becoming the first Latina to serve as a cabinet secretary in California. Now she's the third Latina to serve in the Cabinet. The two previous Latinas to serve in a president's Cabinet are Katherine Ortega, Treasury Secretary under Reagan, and Hilda Solis, Labor Secretary under Obama's first term.