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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 www.catherinestoring.com.


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 WomeandBiz.com.

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 WomenandBiz.com.

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.

Read more

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

Dear Kate,

WBiz. Your bio is really impressive, could you please share with WomenandBiz.com 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

Interview with Pattie Simone, founder of WomenCentric®

Dear Pattie,


Could you share your background prior to starting WomenCentric®?

I’ve worked in a few different industries, including advertising, textile manufacturing, yellow pages account management and non-profit companies. My experience covers production planning, advertising account production, customer service, sales, business development and marketing management and fundraising.

Pattie Simone

Pattie Simone

Been on an entrepreneurial path since 1988, when I went into business with my sister-in-law in a new, handcrafted-by-juried -American-artisans concept retail shop. When I first went out on my own, I did a variety of marketing communications planning & writing work for small to mid sized companies.

In 2003 I started writing as a reporter, covering events for a daily paper. I’ve since compiled over 650 bylines covering bridal, features and business in a variety of print and online newspapers, magazines, online publications and blogs.

Read more

Lila Allocca, owner of Britchin’Post – online girls only boutique

Dear Lila,

Could you share your background prior to becoming an entrepreneur?

Lila Allocca

Lila Allocca

I have always wanted to work for myself.  Before becoming an entrepreneur, I worked for Merrill Lynch as a Legal Assistant for 10 Years.  I just never liked sitting behind a desk.  It left me feeling uninspired.  Also, due to the fact that I do not have a College Education, moving up the corporate ladder would have taken much longer than I was willing to wait for.

How was it helpful to you as you began your entrepreneurial journey?

Actually, being in the corporate environment pushed me to want to break free on my own, so I guess just being there was helpful.

What led you to purchase BritchinPost.com?

That’s my favorite question.  Probably a common answer in my field as well.  The birth of my daughter Olivia inspired me.  I was shopping for her at one of my favorite online boutiques (Britchinpost.com) and had to call the owner to ask a question.  In the midst of conversation, she told me she was going to be selling her online store.  The Lila Lightbulb went on and I was soon the new owner of the Britchinpost.com online Girls Boutique.

Read more

Interview with Carissa Brown, founder of Carissa Rose Designs

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

Prior to starting my business, I stayed busy by homeschooling my four young children.  Prior to that, I sold B2B software.

Carissa Rose

Carissa Rose

Did you have any entrepreneurial experience? If yes, how did it help you in starting this business? If not, what surprised you as you started your business?

Although I never myself had been an entrepreneur before, I had been around entrepreneurs who taught me a lot about being an entrepreneur. My husband was a successful entrepreneur for more than a decade and I had worked for a couple of entrepreneurs as well. The most help I gained was from my husband; he was smart enough to grow his business so it could run without his presence.  A couple of things that surprised me the most in starting Carissa Rose Designs LLC was that first, the most important thing is choosing your vendor group and second, building a competitive and brand worthy website is expensive and time consuming.

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Interview with Liza Donnelly, Cartoonist, Author, Speaker and Lecturer

When I watched Liza Donnelly’s presentation: “Drawing upon humor for change” on TED WomenI was inspired by her cartoons and talk. I hope that this article encourages you to learn more about Liza and her projects, and that it motivates you to create your own projects to make a peaceful difference in the world.

Lisa Donnelly

Lisa Donnelly

Liza was inspired to draw since she was 7 years old, and she really enjoyed cartoons by James Thurber and Charles Schultz. She soon started to find her own style and making family and friends laugh motivated her to keep drawing.  After getting her degree in Liberal Arts from Earlham College in Indiana, Liza moved to New York City and got a job at the American Museum of National History in the Art Department. She kept sending her cartoons to The New Yorker magazine, and she eventually became one of only 3 women cartoonists (with Nurit Karlin and Roz Chast) with the magazine in the early 80s. Read more

Interview with Susan Bulkeley Butler by Elisa Balabram

Susan Butler

Susan Butler

Congratulations on publishing “Women Count: A Guide to Changing the World”, it is an inspiring book, showing readers how far women have come and how far we still have to go to continue achieving equality and making a difference in the world. Could you share with WomenandBiz.com, a little bit about your journey?

WBiz: What was your background prior to starting The Susan Bulkeley Butler Institute for the Development of Women Leaders?

SBB: I was a small-town girl in Illinois (I’m from Abingdon, Illinois and went to Purdue University) and became the first woman professional at Arthur Andersen & Co. I later went on to be the first woman partner of what would become Accenture, the $19-billion global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing organization. After 36 years, I retired as the Managing Partner of the Office of the CEO. Read more

Interview with Amethyst Wyldfyre by Elisa Balabram

Dear Amethyst,

It is great to connect with you.

Could you share with WomenandBiz.com’s readers, your background prior to becoming a Shaman, Sound Healer and Soul’s Path Coach?


Amethyst Wyldfyre

Great to connect with you too!! Thank you for this wonderful opportunity to share and be of service!  So here is the story….

Up until about 8 years ago I was a Real Estate Developer and Common Interest Community Manager.  In my final years of that 18+ year career I developed a multi-use community of 51 single family homes, 56 apartments and an office building called “Crosswoods Path” (maybe a little hint from the Universe that I’d be moving into helping others with navigating their own Path?? Perhaps!)  In my final year of that project I was also the National Chairwoman for my trade association CAI – the Community Associations Institute and I traveled all over the nation speaking to local chapters and leaders in the field as well as representing the voice of the 1 in 8 homeowners across the country at that time who lived in common interest communities on Capitol Hill in Washington DC.  I was a consultant to several Fortune 500 real estate development companies including Pulte Home Corporation and K. Hovnanian, to the United States Agency for International Development (U.S.AID), the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the World Bank.

Read more

Interview with Helen Kim – Money Relationship Mentor

Dear Helen,

Could you share with Womenandbiz.com’s readers about your background prior to becoming a Money Relationship Mentor?

Helen Kim

Helen Kim

From the age of nine until I began this work, I was in the performing arts. I was a performing cellist, worked and consulted for Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center and was also an agent at one of the largest performing arts agencies where I put my own artists on the international stages. The rigorous discipline required to be a performer and the knowledge that a great performance is part practice, part inspiration and part innovation taught me some basic lessons about life and business.

What inspired you to become a Money Relationship Mentor?

My “financial awakening” came when I realized I had made the same amount of money for 10 years straight. Once I stopped making up excuses and dealt with the grief that came with facing that reality, I decided to seek ways to understand why I had created that situation in my life. Fast forward, based on my own experience and my insatiable appetite to understand what drives us to do what we do I now strive to help raise consciousness through the portal of money.

Read more

Entrepreneur Lisa Panarello

Dear Lisa,
We’ve known each other for many years, and it’s been great seeing your business grow and you moving into new directions. Thank you for sharing your journey with our readers.
Could you please tell us about your background prior to starting Careers Advance?


Lisa Panarello Finals with Michael NotaroI had dreams of becoming an art director in the advertising world, which were derailed when my family moved to Florida in my senior high school year. After two years of community college, I returned to NY with 36 credits and landed my first office position with Seiko Hattori Corp. When that company decided to relocate to NJ, I took an entry level position at a money market brokerage firm (way off my career path, but an opportunity to earn a progressive salary and put myself back through college). I advanced to broker liaison while attending Baruch College at night. Two weeks after I graduated with a BBA in Marketing, I was fired.  Yes, fired.  I took an internship at a local parenting newspaper and jump started my marketing career (at a 60% pay cut).  After one year I was offered a Marketing Assistant position with Golden Books Children Entertainment and progressed to Art Director.  Unfortunately, the company went into a bankruptcy and I jumped ship before the pending buyout.  My next job search led to a squeeze play between the well known, multi-billion dollar Phillip Morris, and a small, woman-owned educational marketing firm.  I chose the latter for personal and professional decisions and managed their Colgate account.  Eight months later, I resigned due to pursue freelance writing.

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Interview with Jane Wurwand, Dermalogica, by Elisa Balabram

EB. Dear Jane,

It was great to listen to you speak during the “Powering Your Legacy Through Business Success” panel at the NAWBO/AWBC National Conference in Washington DC. Your presentation was very inspiring!

Could you please tell us about your background prior to starting Dermalogica and The International Dermal Institute?

Jane W

Jane Wurwand

EB. How did you spot the opportunity to start your business?JW. First came The International Dermal Institute, then Dermalogica, the skin care brand. Most of my 30-year career has been spent developing and expanding these two brands, and more recently our third brand, CLEAN START by Dermalogica, our much-imitated line for teens. In fact, I began in this industry when I was 13 myself, working as what is called a Saturday Girl in Britain, sweeping up hair-cuttings from the floor of the local salon. Just a couple of years later, I worked as a makeup artist for the legendary Mary Quant in London, which was very exciting and glamorous. But once I got my hands into professional skin care, versus beauty, I knew there was no turning back.

JW. It began with the school, The International Dermal Institute (IDI), which is now acknowledged around the world as the gold-standard for advanced education among skin therapists. Quite honestly, it didn’t take much to spot the opportunity, or rather the crying need. I had come to Los Angeles from my native UK, by way of South Africa, where I was working with Takara-Belmont.  And I was immediately struck by the disparity between the training that the American skin therapists received in contrast to their British and European counterparts. These were people who had received a license and were working. So, I created the IDI. As soon as I began teaching our advanced skin care program, I was struck that there were no products which were suitable for our curriculum. Read more

Interview with Tayelor Kennedy

Dear Tayelor,

It is a great pleasure to interview you and learn more about your entrepreneurial journey and your business Absolute Style and Beauty.

Could you share your background before starting your business? What was your education and professional experience?



Tayelor Kennedy

I actually started my business on a part-time basis before I went to college.  I have an MBA and I worked in the financial and insurance industry for a while.

When did you know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?

Since I was 5.  At 5 I worked in my Aunt’s corner store.  I also had a lemonade stand. I come from a family of business owners.  In addition to holding down full-time careers, my parents and several of my aunts, uncles, and cousins all have businesses.  


Did you have a start-up business plan of any kind? Please tell us about it. No,

I jumped right in without any idea of what I was in for.  I made a ton of mistakes with regard to marketing, and the biggest mistake is, I didn’t document my process and my financials were a mess.

Read more

Women in Business