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Name:  Deb Discenza

Hometown: Springfield, VA

Current Residence (City, State): Springfield, VA

Education: M.A. English, B.A. English

Professional Background (brief, please):  Publisher, Associate Publisher, Writer/Editor, Sr. VP of technology firm

What you wanted to be when you grew up: A best-selling author (when I aim, I aim big, don’t I?)

What you are:  The Publisher and Founder of Preemie Magazine

Brief Summary of your Start Up:  After giving birth to my daughter 10 weeks early, I found myself stunned that the mainstream parenting publications did not fit the special needs of our family.  After much research I realized that no Preemie Magazine was on the market and that the audience for this niche was large and growing.  We are providing our magazine free to parents and professionals that care for preemies from birth into the school years and have received rave reviews from our audience.  We are going bi-monthly in 2007 and have plans for a conference in the latter half of the year.

Company Website?  http://www.preemiemagazine.com

What inspired you?  The early birth of my daughter, Becky – born 10 weeks too soon.  She taught me what it means to have real courage, to fight for what I believe in and to understand life has its chaos but you have only one life to get it right.  Take care of yourself and those that you love and the success will follow.

How long have you been in business?  Since October 2004

How did you fund it?  Advertiser revenue plus private funding.

Do you have a Fairy Godmother (or Mentor)? No

Do you belong to any Business Organization or Networking Groups?  Yes – Preemies Today, Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition and the National Perinatal Association’s Family Advocacy Network.

Current Business Challenge?  Handling our enormous growth in just one year.

What are you doing about it?  Making sure our advertiser revenue increases with the growth in subscribers.

Favorite motivational quote:
“I love you, Mommy”
–    Becky Discenza, almost three years old

Family?  My husband Gregg (14 years and going strong!) and my beloved Becky, almost three years old.

If so, how do you balance family and business?  I make sure to give time to my family, to my business but also myself.  Taking time out to have sit-down breakfast and dinner with the family is crucial.  Having that play-time with my husband and my daughter feeds my soul and also makes me a better business person.  And taking time for myself, whether it be walking in the evening, reading a book or whatever, is what gives me a chance to re-charge and start fresh with each day.  Achieving all of this is tough but setting limits

Favorite book?    Any of the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith

What do you do to relax?  Play with my daughter, read books, take a walk.  Does collapsing into bed each night count???!!!

What do you want to change most about your world?  Peace – I would like to see our planet stop its wars and find a better way to handle the conflict at hand.  Other than the obvious death and destruction, I am gravely concerned that we are teaching our children a conflicting message that will only continue anger and hate for generations to come.

What are you most proud of?
I am proud of three things 1) my beautiful daughter for being such a fighter and such a sweetheart, 2) my loving husband of 14 years for putting up with me and 3) our team that puts out Preemie Magazine – we are helping so many people every single day and we get fan mail all of the time.  I am truly blessed.

What advice would you like to offer other Start Up Princesses?
1.    Write up a complete business plan.  Your local SBA may be able to help you with this if you have not done it before.
2.    Find networking groups in your area – get out there and don’t be shy!
3.    If you get discouraged, stop and take a deep breath and step away for a bit. A different perspective means everything.

Favorite Magic Wand (tool/resource)?
1.    The local library.  They have a ton of business resources both in print and online that can help immensely in terms of research.
2.    The local SBA office.  They have people on-hand to help you through everything from your business plan to financing to referrals.

If you could design a tiara, what precious stones would you use?
Amethyst

Would you be interested in being a Fairy Godmother to another woman entrepreneur? (I am working on a secure system to do this, any ideas?)   Yes!

What business subjects would you feel comfortable mentoring in?  Publishing, technology.

Would you be interested in going to lunch with other women entrepreneurs for a “networking tea party”?  Sure!

If you are out of Utah County, would you be willing to be a facilitator of such an event? Yes.


  1. Tracey Christensen

    Hi, Deb! Happy to read your profile… I was just talking with the therapists at our clinic (Now I Can) and they were saying that EVERY one of our clients for intensive physical therapy was a preemie! What a blessing that many babies who arrive early grow up HEALTHY, but I know so many end up with disabilities somehow associated with traumatic birth, or many things.

    We’d love to be able to share what we do with your readers. Our site is http://www.nowican.org If you are interested, write or give me a call at 801-376-4588 Keep up your great work!!

  2. Hi Deb,

    I can see how your magazine would be a helpful resource for so many people. I volunteered in the NICU for a couple of years and no mother is ever ready for that outcome. It is terrifying and confusing. Any resource devoted to making life easier during that difficult time is one I applaud.

  3. Jamie,

    Thanks so much for your note. Indeed, the response to our publication as well as our upcoming Preemie Conference & Expo (Aug. 23-25, 2007 in Washington, DC) has been rather stunning. Talk about filling a huge void.

    And how wonderful to hear that you volunteered in the NICU. Your help, I am sure, will affect those families for many, many years to come.

    Respectfully,

    Deb

  4. Thomas

    Hi Deb,

    I found your site by chance, while looking for advise for a work colleague, and I just had to stop by and say hello when I recognized you. Do you remember an organization called IPF – International Pen Friends? And do you remember a particularly crazy penpal you had from the UK, called Thomas?! It’s true what they say, you know, about bad pennies… but yes, it really is me!!

    I am sooo proud of you guys!! Now you are a family, with an adorable daughter! Yet, beyond that, out of all the heartache, worry and challenge you both must have faced, you have built a wonderful resource which is helping many through a bewildering and emotionally draining experience.

    As with so many adversities in life, no-one who has not experienced the circumstance for themselves can fully empathize with those who have. Everyone assumes that the resources are ‘out there someplace’ for those who need them… until they are the one in need. You have done a truly great thing, and I wish you every success as your venture consolidates and grows.

    As for me, just to update you briefly, my wonderful wife has put up with me now for over 17 years! My son Levy is 16 and-a-half and studying for his A-levels; he’s doing Chemistry, Math, Physics and a science subject, and should then be off to college in summer 2008…yaay! I’m quite looking forward to being just a couple again while we’re still young enough to enjoy ourselves…yes, sorry; I realize this is a family site!

    I worked at 2 jobs for nearly 2 years and did quite well out of the extreme fluctuations in the pound/dollar exchange rate in the early 90’s, paying off my first mortgage in 7 and-a-half years. We now live in commuterland to the north of London. My dad died in ’92 from a kidney infection. The hospital lost notes in transit, delaying the onset of medication to a point where systemic damage was too great to retrieve, and it was very unexpected. All the things I should have said but didn’t, and shouldn’t have said but did…so much… It took me 2 or 3 years to really get past that.

    I got into hardware and networking (CompTia, Cisco, HP), and currently work for George, the clothing division of Asda-WalMart. It’s a manically busy life, and I don’t get to do everything that I would like to be doing. God has blessed me with some truly wonderful friends along the way, and I still sometimes remember you, that outstanding penpal who cheered me up and made me smile so many times all those years ago.

    I know you must have a lot to do, so let me shut up and stop clogging up your comments box with my idle chatter!

    You both take care, and say Hi to Rebecca for me.

    bye, Thomas.




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