Barbara Roberts

Barbara Roberts
Entrepreneur in Residence, Columbia U.

Recognized as an expert in all stages of entrepreneurship, in May 2015, Barbara was appointed Entrepreneur in Residence. Since 2008 Barbara has worked with the Columbia Business School in a variety of roles. She is an Adjunct Professor, teaching the Lean Launchpad methodology with Steve Blank, has worked with over 50 Harlem-based existing businesses as the director for Columbia Community Business Program, and has helped to launch over 100 companies through her programs and incubators for Columbia startups. Barbara also co-wrote the CBS whitepaper entitled “Life after an Exit.”

Trained as an economist, Barbara began her career on Wall Street and rose to become the first woman on Dean Witter’s Board of Directors. When denied a seat on the executive committee, she left Wall Street and was included in the Wall Street Journal article that coined the term “The Glass Ceiling.”

She then transitioned to become President/ CEO of FPG International and then Acoustiguide. As President of FPG, Barbara developed one of the first cd and on-line delivery systems for photographs and was recognized as an early champion of the portrayal of non-white models in commercial photography. For this, President Clinton presented her with the Business Enterprise Award for “acts of courage, integrity and social vision.” The story of how she led FPG is a Harvard socially responsible business case study. The company is now part of Getty Images.

Barbara has served as Chair of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Small Business and Agricultural Advisory Committee and helped to develop Silicon Alley as a member of the board of the Union Square Partnership. Barbara currently is a member of the Suffolk County Planning Commission and serves as co-chair of the county’s Farm Committee. She is a past president of the Financial Womens Association and helped found the New York Women’s Agenda and New York Women’s Foundation. She won the Mayor’s Volunteer Award and was featured as NY1’s “New Yorker of the Week” for her work with inner-city schools.

In addition to her work at Columbia, Barbara currently is a group chair for Tiger21, the peer learning group for entrepreneurs who have sold businesses for $10 million or more. She is an angel investor and serves on the boards of a number of privately held companies. She is certified as a master coach by the Hudson Institute of Santa Barbara and trained in facilitation and mediation. Barbara has an Economics and Philosophy degree from Goucher College.