Jeannine Shao Collins: She’s Giving Girls a Head Start

June 14 - On The Dot
FIRST THOUGHT: More Power to You

This just in: We can’t control other people. I know, bummer, right? Every single day, we are confronted with this fact. The power is in how we respond to situations we can’t control. For instance, when your boss has you working 70-hour workweeks and missing your kid’s soccer games, you can’t tell him to shove it and expect to keep your job. But you can start sending out your resume. When politicians make decisions you disagree with, you can’t just strut into the Oval Office and fire off commands, but you can voice your mind with the power of your vote. Today, try to identify whether your frustration with a certain situation necessitates action. If you can do something to change it, do it. If not, take a deep breath and let it go.


As women, we’re often confronted in life with the need to make decisions about our futures and careers in a way that men aren’t. Weighing the pros and cons can be an almost endless inner debate. Sometimes, given the power struggle and oppressive pay gap, it’s difficult to resolve to even make an effort. For example, in the last five years, women have made up just 38 percent of MBA applicants, even though women account for 45 percent of all business-school entrance-exam takers. The key reason for this discrepancy involves financial constraints, especially considering women still earn less than men in the workforce and it takes significantly longer for female workers to make up the money they spent on that education.

WOMAN TO WATCH: Jeannine Shao Collins, Co-CEO and Co-founder of Girl Starter

That last statistic notwithstanding, there’s no doubt women know how to successfully run a business, and today’s Woman to Watch is proving just that—and doing it in front of all of America! In a reality-show sea of angry table flipping, wine splashing and lover’s quarrels, Jeannine Shao Collins is taking the high road, debuting a whole new kind of reality show that features young women boldly competing to attain their dream business.

Jeannine’s new reality series, Girl Starter, is kind of like a mix between Project Runway and Shark Tank—creative, innovative and edgy, with a side of real-life business sense. If you haven’t had a chance to check out the show, I highly recommend it. Having premiered on the TLC network at the end of April, Girl Starter follows eight young women, ages 18 to 24, as they compete for $100,000 in the form of services and funding for their early phase businesses. These aspiring businesswomen were chosen for their “starter spirit” and live together in a Brooklyn townhouse.

With thoughtful mentorship from sponsors like Staples and its top female execs, Girl Starter focuses on a few areas essential for any startup: innovation, leadership and communication. After all, starting a business isn’t just about writing up a business plan. That’s why contestants refine their ideas with successful business leaders and participate in difficult business-focused challenges, like fundraising.

Jeannine knows just about all there is to know about being a woman in business. During her many years at media giant Meredith Corporation, she held leadership roles at several magazines we all know and love, like Better Homes and Gardens, Ladies’ Home Journal and More Magazine. It’s no surprise then that Jeannine was named Publishing Executive of the Year by Adweek in 2010, and has been inducted into the Media Industry Newsletter Hall of Fame, among other notable achievements.

Thanks, Jeannine, for proving to Girl Starter viewers that women not only have fabulous business ideas, but also have the chops to turn their entrepreneurial dreams into reality.


Today’s quote is for all the budding entrepreneurs out there and comes from Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop. She said:

“Whatever you do, be different. That was the advice my mother gave me, and I can’t think of better advice for an entrepreneur. If you’re different, you will stand out.”

This is Melinda Garvey signing off until next time. Remember, ladies, empowered women empower other women. Share On the Dot so more women can have a voice. Thanks for getting ready with us.

To learn more about our conversation, check us out at and talk to us @OnTheDotWoman on Twitter and Instagram. We’d love to hear your voice.

*Photos courtesy of Girl Starter

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