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Colleen DeBaise
Colleen DeBaise is director of digital media at The Story Exchange, a nonprofit media organization that produces videos and stories about entrepreneurial women. She is the author of "The Wall Street Journal Complete Small Business Guidebook" and previously served as the Journal's small business editor. She was formerly an editor at Entrepreneur, BusinessWeek and SmartMoney, and has been interviewed on MSNBC, Fox, CNBC, CBS and NPR. On the side, she writes about curry at

Entries by Colleen DeBaise

Making Hollywood Less Sexist, One Crowd Scene at a Time

(0) Comments | Posted March 24, 2015 | 4:00 PM


Note: This is part of our ongoing Women in Hollywood project. 

Look closely at crowd scenes the next time you're watching a television show or movie. Notice anything? The majority of people are male. That sort of basic...

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Hey Hollywood: Where Are the Women?

(3) Comments | Posted February 20, 2015 | 2:13 PM


In case we needed proof that the male perspective influences just about everything that comes out of Hollywood, here's a collage of the protagonists from each of this year's Best Picture nominees. Notice anything? (Hint: They're all dudes.)

Now, we're certainly fans...

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Investigating Hollywood's 'Celluloid Ceiling'

(0) Comments | Posted February 2, 2015 | 11:45 AM


In the unlikely event that Hollywood were to bestow an award for "Best Researcher on Sexism in the Industry," Martha Lauzen would take top prize. For 17 years, the San Diego State University professor has published an annual study called "The Celluloid...

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Director Lesley Chilcott's New Film Spotlights Female Coffee Revolutionaries

(0) Comments | Posted December 18, 2014 | 2:59 PM

Producer Lesley Chilcott knows a thing or two about influential films. In 2006, she partnered with Davis Guggenheum on An Inconvenient Truth, the Academy Award-winning documentary, and followed that up in 2010 with Waiting for Superman about the public school system. In between...
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A New York Lawyer Popular With Entrepreneurs Becomes One Herself

(0) Comments | Posted November 13, 2014 | 2:34 PM


Lori Hoberman is a New York City lawyer, but doesn't look or act like one. She dresses casually, wears her hair long and unfussed, and takes enormous pleasure in hosting events like "Chocolate Night," where she invites everyone she knows in the city's...

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A Real Game Show Parody of 'What Women Want'

(2) Comments | Posted October 6, 2014 | 3:33 PM

This week, the normally controversy-free game show "Jeopardy!" managed to insult female viewers with rather confounding answers to its "What Women Want" category.

As critics on Twitter noted, the correct responses weren't things like equal pay, affordable childcare or access to reproductive healthcare. Instead, the rather 1950s-era answers included...

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Sabina Hitchen on the Business of Building Buzz

(4) Comments | Posted August 27, 2014 | 2:13 PM

Former educator Sabina Hitchen is on a mission to demystify public relations, social media and SEO for small businesses.

Two years ago, Hitchen and her business partner Katie Hellmuth-Martin decided to start Tin Shingle, an online membership program that offers...

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Why Male Investors Should 'Get' Women-Led Companies

(0) Comments | Posted August 20, 2014 | 9:44 PM

2014-08-20-packit.jpgThere's been a smattering of news lately about how women-owned businesses continue to have trouble finding investors. The world of angels and VCs is still a boy's club, and men apparently tend to invest in other men -- something investor Adam...

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Smorgasburg: A Feast of Opportunity in Brooklyn

(1) Comments | Posted August 6, 2014 | 5:45 PM

What's it like to sell your artisanal goodies at Smorgasburg, the open-air food market in Brooklyn's trendy Williamsburg neighborhood?

The Story Exchange recently headed across the river on a steamy Saturday morning to chat with vendors who sell a tantalizing array of foodie options, from sweet confections to spicy noodles. Given that we cover female entrepreneurs, we interviewed Keavy Blueher and Allison Kave of Butter & Scotch, Lane Li of Noodle Lane and Taryn Garcia of Vendome Macaron.

From a business perspective, all four say Smorgasburg has been the opportunity of a lifetime. It's allowed them to start food businesses with little overhead, while developing a following among the thousands who visit the market each weekend. All are planning to open brick-and-mortar locations (Vendome Macaron has even attracted an investor as a result of its three-year presence at Smorgasburg.)

"Being attached to Smorgasburg really gives you street 'cred'... so people know that you're a legit business," Blueher says. "It's always nice being able to name-drop Smorgasburg."

Beyond the exposure, the congenial atmosphere of Smorgaburg -- as well as other markets, like nearby Greenmarket in Manhattan's Union Square -- make it a particularly supportive environment for female entrepreneurs to thrive.  "The greenmarket is a real community, and you really get to know the people - not just the customers, but you really get to know all of the people that you are working with," says Beth Linskey of Beth's Farm Kitchen, who sells jams and chutneys in Union Square. "We really consider ourselves neighbors."

The mood and spirit seems a far cry from the cut-throat kitchens of the restaurant industry, which have developed a reputation for being hostile to female chefs. (We recently took a look at sexism in the restaurant industry in this two-part series:  Why We Care About Female Chefs.)

Instead, the sights, sounds and smells of Smorgasburg combine in a welcoming marketplace, for vendors and hungry tourists alike. For more, read our article, A Feast of Opportunity, and listen to short interviews with the female entrepreneurs who are successfully growing businesses...

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Inspiring Girls to Be Tech Entrepreneurs

(2) Comments | Posted July 29, 2014 | 5:20 PM


Inside a conference room on the 36th floor of Rockefeller Center, a group of 17 high school girls are animatedly talking about their startup plans.

One team is plotting Tek Truk, a vehicle loaded with computers, chargers and other devices, that would cater...

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Meet the 25-Year-Old Powerhouse Behind the Malala Fund

(1) Comments | Posted July 11, 2014 | 7:36 PM

Life changed for Shiza Shahid on the day her close friend Malala Yousafzai was shot by the Taliban in Pakistan while traveling home from school.

Shahid had grown up with progressive parents in Islamabad, enjoying the same liberties as her brother, and attended college at Stanford University. In 2012 she...

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Plum Alley: Connecting Women With Money

(0) Comments | Posted June 24, 2014 | 3:37 PM


Deborah Jackson spent 20 years on Wall Street, raising money for clients.

Now, she's helping female entrepreneurs raise startup capital via Plum Alley, the crowdfunding platform she launched last fall. (The name is a mash-up of "plum" assignment and Silicon Alley.)...

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Why We Care About Female Chefs

(0) Comments | Posted June 18, 2014 | 5:07 PM


Last fall, when Time magazine published an article about the "Gods of Food" that omitted female chefs, a media backlash ensued.

"Why do female chefs rarely win the adulation and recognition of male chefs?" asked the New York Times in...

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Meet 10 Young Women to Watch in 2014

(0) Comments | Posted May 28, 2014 | 3:27 PM


Young women are becoming a powerful force in business.

The Story Exchange's first ever list of Young Women to Watch shows a crop of female entrepreneurs who are shaking up traditional industries, spearheading social change and driving advances in medicine,...

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Women Make Millions of Dollars in Trucks, Tractors

(0) Comments | Posted April 25, 2014 | 6:01 PM

Listen up, ladies. Want to make some cash? Forget fashion, fitness or beauty. The real money lies in non-traditional businesses -- think trucking, warehousing and wholesale trade.

That's according to Marsha Firestone, who leads the Women Presidents' Organization, a trade group for multimillion-dollar women-owned businesses. This...

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Growing Carol's Daughter in a Brooklyn Kitchen

(1) Comments | Posted April 22, 2014 | 10:57 AM


In the early 90s, Lisa Price was working as a writer's assistant on The Cosby Show while mixing up fragrances and creams as a hobby in her Brooklyn, N.Y. kitchen.

When the sitcom ended, Price decided to turn her pastime into a business...

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A Tech Entrepreneur's No. 1 Tip for Success: Deliver

(0) Comments | Posted April 14, 2014 | 2:13 AM

Two decades ago, as the World Wide Web came on the scene, Jeanette Hernandez Prenger saw an opportunity and started an information-technology consulting business in Kansas City, Mo. Today, ECCO Select employs more than 180 full-time IT staffers and...

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Military Mom's 'KinderJam' Program Inspired by Autistic Son

(0) Comments | Posted April 10, 2014 | 4:28 PM


As a military spouse, El Brown spent 10 years using her master's degree in early childhood education to teach at U.S. bases in Japan and South Korea. Once she returned to the U.S., Brown began teaching again -- this time inspired by the...

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How Obamacare Helped 3 Small-Business Owners

(4) Comments | Posted March 26, 2014 | 2:55 PM

We know: The rollout of Obamacare was bungled, and there's still plenty of confusion when it comes to the Affordable Care Act's requirements.

But ahead of the March 31 deadline for individual enrollment, we decided to ask female entrepreneurs in our TSE community about their experiences with Obamacare. Most...

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Women Entrepreneurs Are Pretty Happy -- Here's Why

(1) Comments | Posted January 27, 2014 | 2:46 PM

Now here's good news: Women entrepreneurs are among the happiest people in the world.

That's according to the 2013 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, which compared the personal well-being and job satisfaction of individuals who start or manage businesses in 70 economies with that of people who don't engage...

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