About The Story Exchange
The Story Exchange is an award-winning nonprofit media organization dedicated to telling the personal and professional stories of women business owners — and to exploring the role of entrepreneurship in advancing women’s economic independence.
Through videos, articles and a podcast, we showcase the often-overlooked entrepreneurial women around the world who are contributing to their communities and collectively making an impact on the global economy. As an independent 501(c)(3) digital initiative, we aim to provide role models and inspiration to women who are pursuing their entrepreneurial dreams.
Founded in 2011 by a documentary filmmaker and a former banking executive, The Story Exchange adheres to journalistic standards and maintains editorial independence. Our team stands out for our background in broadcast and print journalism, interlaced with decades of experience in the business and financial world.
We believe women are a powerful economic and social force.
Some 328 million women are starting or running businesses in 83 economies, according the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor. They are creating millions of jobs, generating trillions of dollars in revenue and transforming countless lives. Yet, the entrepreneur stories that capture mainstream media attention are typically those of high-growth startups, often owned by men and not representative of the small businesses that are the bedrock of the global economy. We want to change this narrative and tell the stories of female entrepreneurs in an array of industries who are breaking through barriers, making a difference and driving economic growth.
We know that economic power gives women power in all areas life. Financial independence gives women self-respect and self-confidence, and the courage to stand up for their needs and those of their families and communities. Indeed for many women, purpose and social value are as central to business “success” as growth and profit. We aim to examine women’s under-appreciated role as forces for economic and social good.
What We Do
Through our videos, articles and podcast, we seek to capture the entrepreneurial experience of women-owned businesses, highlighting the obstacles as well as the accomplishments. As a testament to the quality of our work, we have received a 2020 and 2019 Front Page award from the Newswomen’s Club of New York, a 2019 “Best in Business” award from the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing, and a 2016 nomination for a Gerald Loeb Award, one of the most prestigious honors in business journalism.
All of our work is published on this site. We actively seek broader distribution by partnering with a number of mainstream media organizations to publish or broadcast our content and by offering Creative Commons non-commercial licenses. We promote our reports through social media for maximum exposure. If you’d like to feature TSE’s content on your site, please contact us.
- TSE has provided content to a number of news organizations, including The New York Times’ You’re the Boss blog and video section, Forbes, Inc. and The Huffington Post. We also provide content to Grow Her Business, a resource platform created by the U.S. federal government’s National Women’s Business Council.
- TSE is a media partner of the Independent Television Service initiative Women and Girls Lead, a public media campaign and Pratham Education Foundation’s Gurushala program.
- TSE partners with organizations devoted to empowering women, including the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) and WEConnect International.
We Want To Hear Your Startup Story
In addition to publishing our own reports, we also ask female business owners to submit their personal startup stories for publication on our site. The initiative is part of our “1,000+ Stories” campaign, a research project we started in October 2012 with the Center for Women’s Leadership at Babson College. In November 2015, we reached the 1,000 stories milestone and published our findings. And in January 2016, we reissued our call for stories as we continue to pursue the goal of understanding the unique challenges, goals and needs of women entrepreneurs.
If you’re interested in submitting your startup story, please use our form. Submissions are published on our site, and, occasionally, contributors to our 1,000+ Stories campaign are featured in our articles, videos and podcast.
Who We Are
Victoria Wang, Co-Founder
Victoria Wang is a former banker and marketing consultant with more than three decades of experience in the financial world. As she rose through the ranks of corporate America, she saw very few role models or even other women to talk to at senior levels. By the time she left she wanted to find ways to mentor women and to encourage them down the path to economic independence. Not one to sit home and retire, Victoria travels the world looking for stories and is learning to play jazz piano in her free time.
Sue Williams, Executive Director and Co-Founder
Sue Williams is a film producer and director who started her own business, Ambrica Productions, in 1986 to make documentaries with an international scope and interest. Under Sue’s leadership, Ambrica has produced awarding-winning films on a range of subjects, including feature-length documentaries about China for the PBS series Frontline and biographies of two American icons, Eleanor Roosevelt and Mary Pickford, for American Experience. She has three passports, which she rotates to keep herself out of trouble.
Colleen DeBaise, Executive Editor
Colleen DeBaise is former small business editor of the Wall Street Journal. Her most recent book is “Start a Successful Business.” She has also written about the rewards and challenges of entrepreneurship for Inc., Entrepreneur and BusinessWeek, among others. She has been interviewed on MSNBC, Fox, CNBC, CBS and NPR. Colleen has a master’s in journalism from Northwestern University.
Candice Helfand-Rogers, Reporter
Candice Helfand-Rogers has worked as a journalist for some of the largest news organizations in the country over the course of her 15-year career, including CBS Local News and The Star-Ledger. She earned her B.A. in Journalism & Media Studies at Rutgers University. In her spare time, she enjoys singing with several ensembles in New York City.
Corinne Lestch, Reporter
Corinne Lestch is a writer, teacher and reporter with a decade of experience in media. As a staff reporter for the New York Daily News, she covered breaking news, education and City Hall, and won a Front Page Award from the Newswomen’s Club of New York for beat reporting. She earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and a master’s degree from Columbia University.
Victoria Flexner, Editor of 1,000+ Stories
Victoria Flexner is the editor of the 1,000 Stories Project and more recently helped launch, 1,000+ Stories Project. Victoria has a background in food and history, having worked at Hall PR, the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum and the New York Public Library. Victoria is also a young entrepreneur — she is the founder of Edible History, a historical supper club based in Brooklyn.
Nusha Balyan, Associate Producer
Nusha Balyan is a multimedia journalist and producer with focus on long and short-form documentaries. Most recently she worked on Ambrica Productions’ film Death by Design. Her previous work includes producing radio stories for NPR’s Latino USA, as well as assisting on TV shoots and stories for BBC World News America and PBS’s Need to Know. Nusha has a Master’s degree from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and is fully bilingual in English and Bulgarian.
Christina Kelly, Production Supervisor + Video Editor
Christina Kelly is a video editor and a visual artist. As an editor she has worked on feature films, shorts and documentaries. She was a staff video editor and post-production supervisor on the long-running PBS show In the Life. Her artwork has been written about in Edible Brooklyn, and Hyperallergic. She has an MFA from Bard College.