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New Reality Show Hones In On Young Entrepreneurs

Culture

Call it the reality effect. For Jeannine Shao Collins, CEO and Co-Founder of Girl Starter – a new television show on TLC – now was the right time to use the reality show format to help empower young women in business. Collins is also the former EVP and Publisher of MORE Magazine.


“I will say right now everyone knows women are leading men in education,” says Collins, whose new six-episode show is meant to empower young women in business.

“There is such a [self] starter spirit of these young women vs. the boomer generation. They don’t think they have to work their way up the corporate ladder. They want to own their businesses now. We’ve seen it resonate and want to keep that going.”

Each episode highlights a piece of the Girl Starter curriculum: Start it. Plan it. Prove it. Build it. Brand it. Fund it. The grand prize includes up to $100,000 of investment and services.

According to Collins, the genesis for the show actually came from her 16-year-old daughter, Julia, after Collins had explained to her about the well-known gender disparity in business. “She was quite adamant and said I have to do something about this gender inequity thing,” Collins says. “She told me she was going to start an entrepreneurship club so that young women can develop a risk tolerance. I said, ‘Julia, that’s brilliant and I believe we have to get behind girls while they are younger but I don’t think it’s going to affect the world.’”

To make a bigger impact, and after considering a recent statistic stating that 97 percent of millennials aspire to be famous, the gears in Collins' mind started turning. She decided to transform her daughter’s idea into a reality show in order to bring the message to the public. Before deciding on the format, Collins and her team decided to talk with Julia’s peers to understand their sentiments about joining the business world.

“We did a focus group with young women [and found out] they felt like the word entrepreneurship was elitist and difficult to spell,” says Collins. “To get women to lean into it, it had to be more approachable and more inviting. We were trying to inform young people to think of how to make ideas, how to get mentorship and how to pitch for funding.”

Ultimately, eight girls between the ages of 18 to 24 were selected to participate in the show, which featured guest mentor judges like Tiffany Pham and Stephen Shapiro. Additionally, Collins secured Collete Davis, a 23 year-old rallycross race car driver, as the show's host.

After meeting with a casting director and posting a casting call online, Collins says she received 400 submissions from girls in 10 days who wanted to be part of the show, even without knowing the associated network. “We know there’s a huge appetite for young women who want to aspire to be the next Mark Zuckerberg,” says Collins. “We really tapped into something, and ended up with eight very diverse girls; geographically, socioeconomically, educationally, and culturally. We wanted the show to be democratizing.”

“The whole thing was my first journey as an entrepreneur,” says Collins. “I feel I’ve learned all those lessons that the girls have. You don’t really know what it’s like until you are there. It’s filled with ups and downs and highs and lows. We all learned a ton through this experience."

Because Girl Starter is a reality show, Collins says there was some behind-the-scenes drama, but that overall vibe was positive. "There was a ton of drama but not many cat fights," says Collins. “There is drama in business. You think you are going one way and it pivots another way. The girls relied on each other and they feel like they made seven best friends.”

Another strategic choice was to select investors like Microsoft, Staples, Visa, AT&T, and the US Airforce that represent women in media without necessarily being "girl brands.”

“We really felt these companies wanted to get behind these women… and make sure women lean into stem and tech,” Collins says. “It only means better products for them."

“Our brand is about trying to capture those investors [focused on] female entrepreneurs,” says Collins. “Those who walk the walk and talk the talk, and are totally authentic. Those who want every man and woman to achieve their full potential. We are a startup and want people who are authentically behind the mission."

Collins said another motivator was her personal goal of helping improve the role models for women in media. “They want to be known as smart, capable, innovative and multidimensional," she says.

Filming, which lasted six weeks and started in February, was taxing. But with production company, Al Roker Entertainment at the helm, Collins said she was re-invigorated and reminded of her mission. “He’s a father of two and such a girl star, getting behind young women,” says Collins. “The girls loved meeting him."

“The whole project has been amazing,” says Collins. “Frankly I can’t wait to share these girls with the girls [of the world]. It’s totally inspiring."

Looking to the future, Collins, who reveals Girl Starter Season 2 is in pre-production, wants to expand the reach of the show, potentially utilizing social channels and other digital mediums.

“We’d like it to be a movement on all platforms,” says Collins, who owns the rights to the show and all its associated content. “We can play in digital, and hope to get involved in large social media platforms.”

Viewers can catch episodes on TLC Go.

5 min read
Health

3 Healthy Ways to Relieve Stress Each Evening (Instead of Reaching for Another Cocktail)

When we envision a person who is suffering from substance use disorder (SUD)—defined by having a history of past misuse, experiencing increasing mental health symptoms, or having a family history of addiction—we often picture someone waking up and instantly grabbing their first drink. However, in my experience working with those battling SUD for nearly a decade, I've learned that everyone's relationship with alcohol looks different and having a few too many drinks at night can be just as dangerous.

The time of day, amount, or type of alcohol one drinks doesn't define if they suffer from SUD or not—it's the compulsion to drink. By focusing on healthy stress relievers and implementing them into your daily routine, you aren't just avoiding another glass at night, you are curbing any inclination for SUD that you may have.

While you may feel the desire to reach for another drink after dinner and putting the kids to bed to relieve some of the stress you incurred that day, there are other things that you can do that are much more beneficial to your mental health and wellbeing.

Risks of Reaching for Another Drink

Reaching for another cocktail or glass of wine can feel like a great way to relieve the stress of the day at the time, but over time it can actually lead to the opposite. Excessive drinking is known to lead to increased anxiety, depression, and other mental health disorders such as increased risk of family problems, altered judgment, and worsened sleep quality. These can all lead to increased stress and create a continuous cycle I have seen in many of my patients, which often prove difficult to break.

Increased alcohol consumption can directly impact an individual's mood and temperament, too. In my patients, I've seen a connection between increased alcohol consumption and irritability, fatigue, and loss of interest in activities that previously brought that person joy—activities that people should always put time into, especially right now during the pandemic.

While drinking in moderation doesn't have serious implications for some, others are already at increased risk for SUD. One drink per day is considered moderate for women, while eight drinks or more in a single week is categorized as heavy drinking. It's important to monitor your intake—whether you are at increased risk for SUD or not. It is all too easy for one glass to become another, and then another. And if you keep reaching for just one more drink, you can start to build a tolerance, as it requires more and more alcohol to achieve the desired effect. This can result in dangerous, addictive habits that will alter your life, and the lives of those who care for you.

Three Healthy Ways to Relieve Evening Stress

Stress relief from alcohol is short-lived, but choosing healthier, alternative stress relievers can provide long-lasting benefits for both your mental and physical wellbeing. At Wellbridge, our team not only focuses on treating addiction but also on teaching healthy habits to support ongoing sobriety. And many of these learnings can be implemented to avoid addiction by handling stress better as well!

Below are three healthy stress relief ideas you can implement into your routine:

  1. Mindfulness exercises can be a powerful and mentally stimulating stress reliever. Throughout our therapeutic program at Wellbridge, we provide different opportunities to cultivate mindfulness. For example, breathing exercises, such as box breathing or diaphragmatic breathing, mindful walking, and progressive muscle relaxation. If you're looking for entry, guided meditation, check out this YouTube channel where experts post mindfulness exercises each week.
  2. Human connection is invaluable. Whether it is your spouse, your children, a friend, or even a therapist, connecting with someone else can be a great way to relieve stress. The additional perspective that another person provides can also help us feel that the anxieties and stressors we are experiencing are more manageable. If you are feeling increased stress from loneliness or isolation, reach out and schedule a Zoom coffee hour with a friend, or call a loved one to check-in and chat.
  3. Physical activity is an excellent stress reliever as well, for so many reasons. Not only can it help us get our mind off of stress, it enables our bodies to release endorphins and provides long-lasting physical health benefits. Physical activity doesn't need to be a full-blown workout if you don't feel up to it, or simply don't have extended periods of time to dedicate to a longer exercise regimen. Even a short walk or some stretching can go a long way towards improving your mood. I enjoy following guided, online yoga practices for both mindfulness practice and physical activity.

Despite my years working in this space, I am no stranger to giving in to stress. However, I've learned that by allotting myself a little time each morning and evening for activities that set a positive tone in my life—like meditation, journaling, and exercise—I've been able to better manage my stress and feel more prepared for heightened periods of stress. Do I manage to set aside personal time every morning and evening? Definitely not—life happens! But by doing our best to take regular time out for ourselves, we're all certain to be in a better place emotionally and mentally.

Putting Your Mental Health & Wellbeing First

It's important to also recognize that it isn't just stress that causes us to reach for another drink at night. With the added pressures and responsibilities of women in today's world, having another glass of our favorite drink at the end of the day can often seem like a quicker and easier option than other healthier ways to relieve stress.

However, it's essential to put your mental health and wellbeing front and center in your priority list—something that many women struggle with. But just like the oxygen masks on an airplane, you can't take care of others if you don't take care of yourself first. By focusing on implementing small, healthy habits and making them a seamless part of your daily routine, you ensure that you can show up in all aspects of your life and for all the people in your life.

If you are struggling with increased stress, be specific and honest with your support system about your need to preserve your mental wellbeing. Prioritizing your needs will help you be there for other people you care about in your life.

I always refer back to a quote from a Dar Williams song—a song about therapy no less! "Oh, how I loved everybody else when I finally got to talk so much about myself." Talk about your needs with others and find time to develop healthy coping habits. And if you feel as though you've already created an unhealthy relationship with alcohol, discuss that relationship with a medical advisor to learn if advanced treatment is the right option for you.