Debra Borchardt: Pioneering the Financial News in Cannabis

Debra Borchardt: Pioneering the Financial News in Cannabis


September 11, 2018 @ 9:37a EST, New York, NY / Photo Credit: Ben Esner

If you had the chance to meet a leading journalist that was the exclusive contributor of Forbes financial news for the Cannabis industry, what would you say? Well, take it from us, you’re going to need to take a few moments to collect your thoughts first because it’s quite inspiring. We had the utmost pleasure of interviewing Debra Borchardt, Co-founder, CEO, and Editor-In-Chief of Green Market Report (GMR), the true pioneer financial reporter in Cannabis.

She’s an entrepreneur, a visionary, and someone who you definitely want to take the time to meet. Don’t worry, we’ll let you skip the starstruck introduction for now and get to the core of what makes her the most respected, leading, and well-known financial journalist in Cannabis!

[Carlo] : What did you do in the past that is helping Green Market Report grow so fast?

[Debra] : I worked on Wall Street for over 15 years in a variety of positions. I held three securities licenses during that time and most of my experience was at Bear Stearns. One position that really suited me for journalism was a role as the liaison between the equity research department and the clearing customers. This taught me how to quickly analyze companies and what to look for when reading company filings. In addition to that, I worked in a variety of jobs from the trading floor to the back office. This gave me a broad understanding of how the stock market works.

I took that knowledge with me when I went to New York University to get my Masters Degree in Economics and Business Reporting. Once I received my degree, I went to work at TheStreet, Inc. for eight years, alongside Jim Cramer for much of that time.

I took that knowledge with me when I went to New York University to get my Masters Degree in Economics and Business Reporting. Once I received my degree, I went to work at TheStreet, Inc. for eight years, alongside Jim Cramer for much of that time. I learned so much from him and appreciated how hard he worked. The main thing about Jim is how much homework he does beforehand that no one sees. Such a great mentor.

With my business background and my journalism skills, I used that to create GMR. I wear many hats every day and all of this has helped me juggle multiple roles.

[Carlo] : What is your overall vision for Green Market Report?

[Debra] : My partners Cynthia Salarizadeh, Vince Pitetti and I have expansion plans for GMR. We want to increase our video content and sign more syndication deals. Our team of partners would also like to launch some additional websites and tackle some research projects. We have already listed our articles with NewsBank, Inc. for academic purposes and we’re also in the process of partnering with TheStreet, Inc. on Cannabis content. We are getting approached almost every month with many companies wanting to partner up with us, so we are reviewing them all and we will be choosing wisely.

Our short-term goal is to find an investor to fund our expansion and the long-term goal is to either go public or be acquired.

[Carlo] : Help me understand something because we also go through these challenges when drafting and publishing content on Greenfield Markets. How do you determine whether your content or story on GMR will be a great read or will generate eye balls?

[Debra] : Attracting eye balls is a difficult thing to measure. You may have an amazing story that flops and then one story that you rushed out that has no ground breaking information and it takes off.

I feel strongly about letting investors know about someone that isn’t operating on the up and up. That is the type of reporting that makes me feel good.

To me, it’s a gut instinct as to knowing what to write about. I look for a real narrative to the story. This is actually not that easy when it comes to financial reporting. Numbers can be boring and people gloss over them. If I see a narrative (meaning a story with a beginning, middle and an end), then I know it will be good. I also look for stories where I can uncover bad players. I feel strongly about letting investors know about someone that isn’t operating on the up and up. That is the type of reporting that makes me feel good.


RELATED STORY: Your Foot Traffic Guide to Attract Hemp Investors


[Carlo] : How have you been successful at marketing Green Market Report?

[Debra] : We were very successful in the early days by using some unique data that hadn’t been tackled before. For instance we used some data about fast food and Cannabis consumers. It went viral and was published in 30 different countries. Since then we have been able to attend many Cannabis conferences to lift our visibility as moderators and panel guests. I also appear as a regular guest on Cheddar TV’s weekly Cannabis business show. I’ve been on so often, I’m described as a “Friend of the Show.”

It requires collaborative efforts to run a successful media company. I believe in my team, and most importantly, the higher power to give me the strength to produce all the blessings that we’ve been experiencing so far.

We don’t pay for page views and that may hurt us in comparison to some of our peers, but for now we’re trying to build our views organically. We are about to host our first industry event on Friday, September 14th 2018, in New York called the Green Market Summit. With a keynote from TheStreet, Inc.’s Jim Cramer and famed The Big Short trader Danny Moses, I believe our profile will rise again. We have numerous press outlets planning on covering our event, so it’s all very exciting. Never assume that you can do everything by yourself. It requires collaborative efforts to run a successful media company. I believe in my team, and most importantly, the higher power to give me the strength to produce all the blessings that we’ve been experiencing so far.

[Carlo] : So, I know running a media company is a huge challenge and definitely a lot of work involved and passion required to operate. What is your burning desire to succeed in your endeavor? What is your “Why That Makes You Cry” to make it?

[Debra] : I feel strongly about presenting unbiased information. I hear stories of other outlets that operate in a pay for play method. In other words, companies that pay them for certain services magically get a positive story written about them with a suggestion that investors would be advised to buy that company’s stock. That just makes me so angry. It is this desire to make sure that investors get the real unbiased or compromised information. I want to protect the retail investors that no one looks out for anymore.

Journalism can be a thankless job sometimes, but every now and then a reader will thank me for exposing a bad situation and that keeps me going.

Jim also showed me how to react with grace when people “hate” on you. As a journalist, you end up becoming a very public person. Your work is out there for everyone to see and that opens you up to criticism.

[Carlo] : These are some great insights and I’m sure our readers will appreciate the knowledge that you’re sharing. Just out of curiosity, name someone that has impacted your life and what valuable teachings did you learn from this person?

[Debra] : TheStreet, Inc.’s Jim Cramer has had a tremendous impact on my life. I worked with Jim for eight years at TheStreet, Inc. on a daily basis. He taught me to work hard and do my homework on these companies. Then when I think I’ve worked hard enough, continue to give a little more. Jim also showed me how to react with grace when people “hate” on you. As a journalist, you end up becoming a very public person. Your work is out there for everyone to see and that opens you up to criticism.

He also showed me how to own our mistakes. Anyone that has worked with stocks knows that you aren’t always right and sometimes you get it wrong. That’s just part of working with stocks. He owns it when he makes a mistake and resolves to learn from it for the next time. I had adopted this philosophy as well. I admit my mistakes and resolve to learn from them.

[Carlo] : If an investor were to approach you to acquire/merge with GMR, what is the price tag and what are your expectations from this investor? What are your pre-qualifications considering you’ve built a soul in GMR and its apart of you?

[Debra] : If I were selling just Green Market Report, I would ask for $1 million. However, we are planning additional website launches that have huge potential income. These would fall under the umbrella company Green Market Media. If an investor wanted to take part in the overall umbrella company, it would need to be low seven figures. I would expect that a potential investor would help take the company to the next level of either being acquired by a larger company or going public.

I would not agree to work with any investors who had any blemishes with regards to the SEC. I am not willing to trade my reputation for a cash infusion. Their credibility and reputation is just as important to me as their money. I also want to work with people that understand the importance, strength and influence of media. Yes, Green Market Report is a part of me and I’m very proud of what Cynthia Salarizadeh, Vince Pitetti and myself have built, but I am also a pragmatic business person. There is always an exit strategy to consider.

I want the community to know that I have always tried to be a good and kind person. I have treated others with respect and have operated with a strong moral compass.

[Carlo] : And finally, what do you want the community to know about your legacy when God says it’s time for you two to meet in heaven?

[Debra] : I want the community to know that I have always tried to be a good and kind person. I have treated others with respect and have operated with a strong moral compass.

[Carlo] : Debra, thank you very much for your time and you are an absolute inspiration!

[Debra] : Same to you, Carlo, thanks for including me in your channel.

 Thank you for reading. Keep in mind, Greenfield means New Markets!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Carlo Desierto is a serial entrepreneur with years of experience in business startups. He has founded, built intrinsic value, and sold several companies in which he sits as an adviser for the Board of Directors. Carlo has interviewed over 200+ entrepreneurs and published mini-biographies for new digital media channels relating to entrepreneurship, health, self-help, futurology, and the green industry. Most of all, Carlo loves to create teams. Facebook | @Instagram | LinkedIn


Leave a Reply