Hera Hub DC is excited to share Startup Stories from our members. We periodically interview incredible business women from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines. Our goal is to share our members’ wonderful stories with the public.

Sue Stolov, founder of Washington Independent Productions Inc., has been creating films and video productions in the Washington DC area for years.

Sue has been a member of Hera Hub DC for 6 months. This is her startup story:

What was the inspiration behind your business?

I have always loved video and film and telling meaningful stories that other people can learn from. It’s a passion. I like making it easy, and less intimidating for people–taking a bit of the mystery out of the video and film making process. I like making an impact on the world through video.

Who are your clients and what do you do for them?

One of my favorite projects has been one that I did for the US Army. The purpose of project was to encourage businesses to hire wounded veterans. There was evidence that post 9/11 veterans have higher unemployment rates because employers don’t understand PTSD and what it might mean in the workplace. The video was made to educate employers and HR executives about PTSD.

One neat aspect about the veteran’s project is that it helped educate.  Most people don’t know any veterans.  So the only impression that have is what they hear on the news (which is in the news because it is unusual) or what they see at the movies (which of course, is fiction). So it was nice to bust some myths and be able to fill this vacuum with accurate information.

Director Sue Stolov looks back at the monitor during taping of a public service announcement for the U.S. Army. View the completed PSA here

Director Sue Stolov looks back at the monitor during taping of a public service announcement for the U.S. Army.

It was a really exciting project.  The focus of my entire career has been changing people’s attitudes. I produced and disseminated videos for Mothers Against Drunk Driving for ten years and during that time drunk driving deaths dramatically decreased.  I was glad to be a part of that effort; and, I produced and disseminated videos for the Department of Transportation to encourage the use of car booster seats for children—as a few examples.

When you live DC you get to work on big projects that will have a big impact and that is one of the nice things about living and working in DC.


What are your business’ values? How do they align with your personal values?

Everything I produce is truthful–the way it is, and you are seeing real people doing real things. I like to have as much transparency as possible.  And I live my life like that both in and out of the business.  I always try to do the right thing and take on projects that will have a positive impact.  If the project is not up to par, I don’t hesitate to turn away the business.  

How/Why did you choose your business name?

This is my second company. My first was Washington Independent News and I didn’t choose the name because I bought the business from someone else. When I started my second company, Washington Independent Productions, I still had the first and the name was a way to distinguish between the two. Had I chosen today, I would not have picked such a long name!

What do you love most about your work?

I love coming up with a creative, new way of looking at things that resonates with an audience.  I also love writing.  And a wonderful benefit is that I get to meet lots of people and learn about their lives.

What is the biggest challenge in running your own business?

Encouraging people to take a little bit of risk. TV, filmmaking, producing videos–to be effective and to have impact sometimes you need to put yourself out there, take a bit of risk. In today’s business climate, people are much more cautious and less willing to take the steps they need to take to be effective.

What are your/your business’ goals for the future?

I would like to continue to use my skills—at risk of sounding cliché—to make the world a better place.

What advice would you give to a new entrepreneur?

Be persistent, don’t give up, you can accomplish what you want to accomplish if you try. Don’t let people talk you out of it. Stay focused, know where you are going and take the steps you need to take to get there.