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Barbara appears in the Top 100
Innovators & Entrepreneurs m

Roberts, Barbara_edited.jpg

Barbara Roberts

Barbara believes that success for an innovator requires passionate love of the problem, not the solution.  Since leading a sit-down strike in the second grade until girls could carry the American flag, Barbara has been obsessed on how she could innovate to help women get their fair share of the economic and political pie. In the last fifteen years, she has added a passion for a second problem: how to teach others to start and grow businesses that innovate and create more work and wealth equity. 


Recognized as an expert on all stages of entrepreneurship and women’s economic progress, she now is a writer, speaker, and coach. Over the last fifteen years, she has designed numerous entrepreneurship  programs, particularly for women and minorities, as an entrepreneur in residence at Columbia Business School and Hofstra University’s Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Recently, the Columbia Alumni Association honored her as the keynote speaker for their She Opened the Door to Entrepreneurship initiative. “We women who were born or came to the United States right after World War II are the first in the history of humankind to have the educational, financial, and legal rights to create our own wealth,” she states. “My biggest innovations were everyday firsts, like wearing pants to an office. I have worked my entire life to create programs for women to take advantage of this.” Last summer, she was awarded one of Crane’s Business’s first diversity and inclusion awards as a civic hero.

Driven by an unwavering desire to help others, the natural innovator was a socially responsible entrepreneur before the term became buzzworthy.  Some of her proudest innovations were as president of the stock photography company, FPG International, where she partnered with 3M and Kodak to create the first systems for distributing photographs using CD’s and the internet. In 1990, most ads only used white models. She also was honored by the Clinton White House for producing the first high-end stock photography showcasing models of all races working and socializing together, leading advertisers to show the true diversity of America. Barbara’s biggest hope and goal is to use her passion for innovation to make everything she touches a little better and fairer, and to help others do the same.


Barbara Roberts

Entrepreneur in Residence
Columbia Business School and Hofstra University



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