The author who studies entrepreneurs—Barbara Roberts

Part of the business owner to business owner series, ‘Flight paths’

Barbara says for entrepreneurs, it's purpose over profits

Barbara speaks and writes on all stages of entrepreneurship from start-up through growth, exiting and reinvention. Her work builds on her personal experience as a Wall Street executive, serial entrepreneur and Entrepreneur in Residence at Columbia Business School and Hofstra University.

Barbara began her career on Wall Street, where she became one of the first women on the board of Dean Witter.1 Then, she transformed two family’s companies: FPG International, now part of Getty images, and Acoustiguide, which is now Espro Acoustiguide.

Barbara is one of the entrepreneurs who shares her story with us for our special video series, 'Flight Paths." Watch highlights from her interview.

Entrepreneurship is a lifetime state of being

Career milestones

Completes first sit-in in 2nd grade

Advocates for girls to be able to carry the flag into school assemblies

Enters Wall Street, works on IPOs

Becomes one of the first women on Dean Witter’s board

Leads FPG International

Earns recognition for bringing diversity to stock photography industry

Sells two family-owned companies she was leading

Recognizes the difficulty of life after an exit

Joins business groups and works with Columbia Business School

Becomes chair of Women Presidents’ Organization in NYC and adjunct professor at Columbia

Studies and writes about entrepreneurs

Becomes an Entrepreneur in Residence at Columbia University and Hofstra University

“Entrepreneurs don’t start businesses to walk off with millions.”

Barbara is passionate about working with business owners. Her expertise lies in helping business owners “through their sticking points, especially helping them think about life after exiting. "An entrepreneur can be wildly successful in their businesses, yet struggle with other aspects of their life," she says. “An entrepreneur’s reason for being is to take action and solve problems. I like to enable effectiveness.”

Ever wonder why you were put on this planet? Here’s an exercise that helps Barbara. Every New Year’s Day, she writes her “dream obituary.” It may sound grim, but this habit pushes her to focus on achieving a life of her choosing. Now she's on a mission to help business owners and to help women capture more of the political and economic pie.

Barbara shares lessons learned from selling a business

You have to remember, an idea is not a business.

Barbara is the lead author of two Columbia Business School whitepapers, Life after an Exit: How Entrepreneurs Transition to the Next Stage, and The Owner’s Journey: Experiences shared and lessons learned from entrepreneurs who successfully sold or transferred their businesses to family members.

Today Barbara continues as both an entrepreneur and inspiration for other entrepreneurs. She is a speaker and author, and serves as a consultant, coach and board member for privately held companies.


Learn more from the entrepreneurs of ‘Flight paths’


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