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DIANE DREY, founder of Money 101, has over 40 years business experience, with expertise in finance, marketing, taxes and real estate. Since retirement she has volunteered her time to help entrepreneurs increase their profits and women increase their net worth. She light-heartedly calls herself “The MONEY LADY”



When I was 12 years old my father woke me up early in the morning and told me there were three things I had to learn in life.   I was expecting some big philosophical discussion, but instead he said:  typing, taxes and accounting! 

He personally taught me how to type, having me pound out exercises at 7 am before school.  He hired a CPA to give me private lessons on double entry bookkeeping (debits and credits), calculate depreciation and complete a BUSINESS tax return … and thus began my financial education.  (I was ONLY 12!)

However, he got me started down a great path of financial awareness.  In college, I studied accounting and became a Volunteer Income Tax Assistant (VITA), taking an IRS training program.  It was a fun exposure to a topic most people dread.  While I was an art major in college, later in life I earned an MBA in Finance from New York University and graduated from Harvards Owner and President Management Program (OPM32)


Following college I joined my family’s water cooler rental and bottled water manufacturing company (SnowBird).  Our primary clients were offices, schools, hospitals, and government entities in the metropolitan area. We delivered all products with our own fleet of 35 trucks.

As part of my early training, I rotated through almost every position in the company, working on the bottled water assembly line, fixing water coolers, handling customer service calls, and making collection calls.  I was involved in our end-of-the-year accounting and preparation of the tax returns. 

In 1989, my father unexpectedly died, and I took over the firm.  I was 33 years old, and we had 140 employees.

Over the next three decades, I faced MANY challenges running the “family business”.

I changed the company’s name, created a logo, started developing a brand, and became more marketing savvy. 

When our company employees became unionized, I learned to negotiate with the union and ultimately established a great working relationship with them.

I experienced several recessions, where sales evaporated, and experienced gaining and loosing significant customers, all of which taught me how to adjust our expenses to meet the challenge. 

Most significantly, during my tenure, our industry began to change.  Suddenly, water coolers imported from China, became available for purchase in big box department stores and our “rental income” evaporated.  To compensate, we expanded our product line and started selling coffee and office refreshment products.  My ability to pivot the business came in part from the courage I gained a three-year Harvard Business School program for Owners and Presidents of Company’s (graduate OPM32); the program taught me how to adapt to change.

My major professional accomplishment was relocating the company in 2000 from a six-story Manhattan loft building to New Jersey.  I bought an abandoned warehouse, borrowed a ton of money from the bank, rehabilitated the building, and installed a new bottling plant. 

The Jersey CIty, NJ warehouse building had been abandoned for over 20 years.
At our opening reception, we filled the parking lot with rides for kids, and an ice cream truck that gave out free ice cream all day. Over 800 people came.

We operated out of our Jersey City facility starting in 2000 so that a year later we were able to see first-hand the World Trade Center collapse on 9/11.  

Our new factory and its proximity to Manhattan was one of the key reasons in 2008, Nestle purchased my company and allowed me to retire (young). 


Cooking School In China was my entrepreneurial adventure

In retirement, I started a Culinary Travel program called COOKING SCHOOL IN CHINA, bringing aspiring Chefs for a two-week intensive program to Chengdu, China to study at the world-renowned Sichuan Higher Institute of Cuisine.  Marketing a program globally, was a new experience and I learned how to create a website, and use google advertising to draw in prospects.

Cooking School In China – Participants at the Sichuan Higher Institute of Cuisine, Chengdu, China

In 2008, I joined Score a business a FREE business mentoring organization supported by the US Small Business Administration. Score also provides low cost workshops. It is fueled by over 13,000 volunteers. During my 15 plus years with Score, I have mentored over 1,000 aspiring and in-business entrepreneurs. 

I was Score NYC Chapter Chair from 2014 to 2016; I founded Score’s New York City’s Business Owner Roundtable and Advisory Board Service, which are now run by other Score mentors.  

My latest project is developing the Money 101 Education, a financial literacy program for women. The program has five segments: Foundation, Investments, Taxation, Real Estate and Money and Life Cycles. 

Since inception, over 350 women have participated, and it makes me smile from ear to ear when they say the experience has changed their lives and helped them “Take the Fear out of Finance.”  

Students come from the entire United States and have ranged in age from 21 to 79.

Experience has taught me that those that benefit most from Money 101 are individuals who have spent a few years in the workforce, experienced getting a paycheck, paying taxes, and participating in a company sponsored retirement plan.

During the summer of 2023, Money 101 held its first “graduation ceremony” for the participants who had completed all five segments.

Money 101 Graduates – celebrating in New York City – these dynamic and financially savvy women completed all five segments – thus 25 classes