Archive for Elisa Balabram

Elisa Balabram interviews Chief Style Coach Catherine Storing

I had the opportunity to interview Catherine Storing via Skype. In this interview she shares how her journey as a Chief Style Coach found her, how passionate she is about helping women find their image style, and she also shared her personal journey to embrace her own unique and authentic style. Catherine shares my view about the importance of self-love for women, and she inspires women to dress their best and show their truth inside and outside.


“I believe every woman is beautiful, and deserves to look her best.” Catherine Storing, Chief Style Coach, Styling Women to the Top. To learn more about Catherine Storing and her services, please visit


Interview with Journalist Allison Haunss by Elisa Balabram

I was privileged to be interviewed by the journalist Allison Haunss last year, for her upcoming show “Working Woman Report”. At the time, she wasn’t sure about the format of the show, or when it would be ready to launch, but her passion for sharing women’s experiences and assisting other women pursue their dreams was clear from the beginning and it felt great to contribute.

Allison Haunss

Allison Haunss

Allison grew up on Long Island, however she left New York to attend Duke University where she pursued her degrees in Political Science and Drama.   During her time as an undergraduate, Allison says she was not sure what her profession would be. She always had a curious nature and interest in telling stories. Journalism seemed a natural fit, and with that in mind, she pursued several internships in journalism.  Those internships included stints at Nightline, The David Letterman Show and the ABC News Program 20/20.   Once she caught the journalism bug, Allison pursued her career in journalism by enrolling in the Master’s degree Broadcast Journalism Program at Northwestern University’s prestigious Medill School of Journalism. It was at Medill where she learned how to write, how to present, how to navigate legal and privacy issues and the proper way to tell a story. During her last semester she moved to Washington DC to be the MEDILL DC correspondent for KNOE, a CBS affiliate in Monroe, Louisiana. Read more

Interview with Composer and Musician Tbird Luv

When I watched Tbird Luv perform in Cape May I was mesmerized by her talent and musicality. Her songs and lyrics touched my soul and I can’t wait to get a hold of her first CD. While it is still in production, I had a chance to interview her for

Tbird Luv

Tbird Luv


WBiz. Could you share with us your journey into becoming a musician?
TL. As a child I loved singing and improvising skits in my living room for all to see. I enjoyed drawing and making up stories and felt alive and proud when I expressed my imagination. Besides, I really enjoyed getting attention for being good at it.

There was also music playing in my house all the time. Growing up, my mother either had musicians like CoCo Taylor wailing the blues or Gospel Choirs raising up the roof. And when I visited my dad, we jammed out to Keith Sweat, Marvin Gaye and Teddy Pendagrass. It was contagious and watching The Muppets of my favorite pop stars like Kate Bush or Bono on MTV, made me want to be a star. So when fourth grade hit, I picked up the flute and ever since then, I’ve played on stages in Mali Africa, in Lincoln Center in NYC for dance troupes and film makers…all the way to TEDx women in SF. Read more

Interview with Leticia Robles – R.B. Construction

Dear Leticia,

Could you please share your background prior to starting your business?

Leticia Robles

Leticia Robles

My parents, Rolando, Sr. & Graciela Robles, owned four businesses and I ran one of them for 2 years.  They were my first teachers in the business world.


As a teacher, what inspired you to start R.B. Construction?

Being self-employed and being able to work along side my husband was my primary reason for starting our company in November 2007.  Having an educational background allows me to give clients better-informed choices.


What have been the most difficult challenges you face as a woman in a still mainly male dominated industry? How do you overcome them?

The most difficult challenge in a male dominated industry is not to take their opinions personally when it comes to working with a woman.  If I find a contractor that refuses to work with a woman, I just keep searching for one that will work with me.  The difficulty is living and working in Texas, machismo attitudes are rampant in the construction business. Read more

Interview with Lizzie Swan and Marlowe Bechmann the Swingset Mamas

Dear Lizzie and Marlowe,

Could you please share your background prior to starting The Swingset Mamas?

Lizzie and Marlowe

Lizzie and Marlowe

LS- I am a graduate of UMass/Amherst with a B.A in communications.  I worked as a creative arts therapist and facilitator of therapeutic music group with elderly nursing home residents in CT.  I also performed and recorded in a rock band in New York for fun.

MB- I am a graduate of Cornell University.  I worked at Chase Manhattan Bank, Yves Saint Laurent Cosmetics, Paloma Picasso Accessories in Sales, Marketing and Promotion positions.   I always wanted to make music a bigger part of my life after growing up playing piano and guitar and being involved in musical theater. After my first child was born and my husband’s job moved us to another state- I took the opportunity to do just that!

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Interview with entrepreneur Shay Olivarria, founder of Bigger Than Your Block

What was your background prior to starting Bigger Than Your Block, LLC?

Shay Olivarria

Shay Olivarria

I grew up really poor and emancipated from foster care. I went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in anthropology with a minor in business management at California State University Dominguez Hills, work on a master’s degree at theUniversityofNorth Texas, and travel to nine countries. I made financial mistakes the whole way and I wanted students to learn from my mistakes.


What inspired you to start your business?

I had worked with youth for about ten years at that point. I was running a truancy program in Philly when I began my speaking career. The curriculum was about helping students that were chronically truant make different choices, but the students inSouth Philadelphiahave some immediate issues of food, clothing, and shelter to worry about. I started incorporating financial education points with the students. The students loved it and I was asked to update the curriculum. I saw that students really connected to me and my way of explaining things.


Read more

Interview with Kristi Borst, founder of Ad•Mark•Com / Advertising & Marketing Communications

Dear Kristi,


It was great meeting you in York Harbor, ME, specially the way we did, with you offering a stranger (me) a ride back to safety when I was walking in an isolated area, thank you again. In my opinion, you are the perfect entrepreneur to feature in our Values issue of

WBiz. Please tell us about your background prior to starting your business.

Kristi Borst

Kristi Borst


KB. While I was artistic from an early age, a high school art teacher belittled my abilities. This and the then-tough economy dissuaded me from pursuing art in college. Taking a practical “what field can I be assured a job” approach, I enrolled in Bryant University and attained an AS in Executive Secretarial Science from Bryant University, graduating summa cum laude. Upon entering the workforce, it didn’t take me long to realize, however, that secretarial work was not intellectually fulfilling enough for me. I almost immediately enrolled in night school toward my BS in Business Administration.

Meanwhile, I became employed at the national headquarters of a major insurance company and, by today’s standards, was very quickly promoted from secretary to a team of 12 actuaries, to secretary in a newly-formed market research department, to market research analyst. The market research department was part of Corporate Communications and it was there that I had my career “aha” moment. I saw my coworkers in the advertising and marketing communications departments using writing and art … two of my favorite talents. I left my job shortly thereafter to pursue my degree full time. Upon graduation, I was hired by a four-person advertising agency as new business developer, account executive, copywriter, media buyer, and production manager.

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Interview with Kate Gale, Poet, Librettist, Founder of Red Hen Press

Dear Kate,

WBiz. Your bio is really impressive, could you please share with readers, your background and education experience?

KG. I have a PhD in English from Claremont Graduate University, and I’m a writer who loves literature.  I’ve been working in publishing for seventeen years.

Kate Gale

Kate Gale


WBiz. How do you manage your time in order to wear the multiple hats as an arts manager and to run Red Hen Press?

KG. When I write, I focus, I waste no time.  When I work in publishing, that is what I do.  It is a matter of opening a room and then staying focused.  White hot focus.  Being fully present.


WBiz. What motivated you to start Red Hen Press?

KG. I knew so many fantastic writers who I felt should be published and I wanted to make Los Angeles a literary city.


WBiz. Tell us about Red Hen Press and the services it provides

KG. We publish twenty titles a year, about half poetry and half prose.

We have three major annual awards that we give to writers, with $5,000 in prize money, one of which is for the publication of an original poetry collection. Read more

Interview with Shelby Mason, founder of Leg Up and creator of Bootights®

Dear Shelby,

WBiz. Could you tell us about your background prior to starting your business?


Shelby Mason

Shelby Mason

SM. Sure, I worked in television syndication sales/programming and marketing for about the last 18 years. I started at KCPQ/FOX TV in Seattle as a Program Manager, moved to NY and worked as a Director of Programming for Petry Television where I consulted and advised TV stations on their programming schedules, audience flow, programming strategy, syndication contracts and promotional opportunities. I then sold TV shows in syndication for Universal, Warner Bros hired me and moved me to Chicago where I sold TV shows for them (Ellen, Access Hollywood, People’s Court, etc) to the mid-west owners and General Managers of TV stations. After 3 years, Disney hired me and I moved up the ladder, selling in the same territory. I now sold Live with Regis and Kelly, Who Wants to be a Millionaire, Desperate Housewives and many more ABC off-network and produced programs.  After 4 years, I was promoted to VP and moved to LA to work at the Disney studios in Burbank.  I had no fashion, retail, manufacture, design experience. Hosiery was completely new to me. I had no idea what I was doing.

Read more

Patricia Beckman, founder of Cybertary and its franchise

Dear Patricia,


Could you share your background prior to starting your business?

Prior to starting Cybertary, I spent more than 20 years in finance management, working in senior level positions for companies such as Nolte Associates and Hewlett-Packard (HP). I decided to leave my position when I realized that my

Patricia Beckman

Patricia Beckman

high-demand job had made me out of touch with my family.

When did you establish Cybertary?

I launched Cybertary on November 1, 2005 with a business plan that was based on a client base of 5-7 active, recurring clients that I would manage myself. Surprisingly, I gained five clients my first week in business and then continued to gain 5-7 new client leads each following week.

I found that I needed to add at least one team member per month to keep up with the client demand. I discovered that due to the branding, website and marketing materials I had created, people presumed Cybertary was a franchise and that we were a large national company. They started to ask me where I heard about the company and how they could launch their own Cybertary business. We began receiving huge volumes of resumes every week from moms who wanted to join the team, and from clients who wanted our services…but I was at maximum capacity and could not manage the workload for that many clients and team members independently.

After a while, I took the hint and decided to turn the Cybertary business model into a franchise opportunity. This way, we could continue to meet the growing client demand and provide more opportunities for moms, disabled, and caregivers to work from home at a professional wage.  Read more