As a Social Entrepreneur, Deborah Brenner expounds beyond the entrepreneurial focus of growing a business and measures performance on the positive impact the business makes on society. She has manifested her vision with Women of the Vine & Spirits, and inspired people to support a movement in the alcohol beverage industry. She has presented a challenge that calls forth the best in people and brings them together around a shared sense of purpose, working with the power of intentionality and alignment with a higher purpose.
Deborah Brenner graduated from the University of Delaware with degrees in English and Journalism, and was soon hired by a television and film technology company that required international travel to countries for whom wine is a part of everyday life. After over 20 years in the male-dominated field of high-end technology and owning a marketing and public relations firm, Deborah discovered during a fortuitous trip to Napa and Sonoma that many women in the wine industry – like her own – were under-recognized.
Compelled to tell their stories, she authored a bestselling collection of profiles on women in the wine industry, Women of the Vine: Inside the World of Women Who Make, Taste and Enjoy Wine, which Wine Spectator named a Critical Read of 2007.
Through the process of writing the book and championing its subjects, Deborah became inspired to enter the wine business herself, releasing wine from a first-of-its-kind collective of seven artisan women winemakers from Napa, Sonoma and Paso Robles. For the following seven years, Deborah learned the business inside and out. Ultimately, however, all the money, blood, sweat and (a lot) of tears could not foster women in the wine industry the way she had hoped, which led her to shut down the Women of the Vine wine brand and return to the drawing board.
One year later, Deborah organized the inaugural Women of the Vine Global & Spirits Global Symposium, held in March of 2015, which quickly sold out to 500 women from five countries. Due to the overwhelming response, Deborah and the Women of the Vine & Spirits Advisory Board went to work developing a consortium that supports professionals in the alcohol beverage industry year-round. Thus, emerged Women of the Vine & Spirits, a membership-based organization, anchored by the annual Global Symposium, whose mission is to empower and equip women worldwide to advance their careers in the alcohol beverage industry, fostering gender diversity and talent development across the industry at large.
Deborah belongs to the Culinary Institute of America’s Society of Fellows and has received a Rising Star Award from Women for WineSense (2008), a New York Small Business Administration Women in Business Champion Of The Year (2009), a New York City National Association of Women Business Owners Signature Award (2010), the Lillian Vernon Award for Outstanding Community Service by the Women's Enterprise Development Center (2011), a NY Women in Communications Rising Star Award (2013), the Rockland Business Women's Network Woman of the Year Award (2014), the Rockland Business Women's Network Woman of the Year Award (2014), American Cancer Society Dr. Louis Berger Award (2017), Wine Enthusiast Wine Star Award Person of the Year Nominee (2017), Las Vegas Inc. “Woman to Watch” (2018), and Wine Enthusiast Wine Star Award “Social Visionary of the Year” Recipient (2018).