This month, we salute women in business by looking at models of success
on the national and local levels.
Oprah Winfrey, OWN
No conversation regarding women in business is complete without referencing Oprah. This year alone, we have watched her launch not a new show or movie, but a new network called OWN. If there was ever a role model of what to do in business, she has created the plan book.
Whether it was on purpose or she stumbled into it, Oprah has handled and used her success for the good of many others. Her philanthropy and generosity is only outdone by her ability to generate even more wealth. Not only has she donated millions for young people to attend college, she created her own school in South Africa called the Leadership Academy for Girls. So as we salute other national figures doing great things, we top our list with Oprah Winfrey, once again.
Janice Bryant, Howroyd, Act*1
If anyone deserves a "You go girl," it is definitely CEO Janice Bryant Howroyd. Starting her company in 1978, Howroyd has nurtured her baby from infancy to a powerhouse in the business world.
For those unfamiliar with her struggles and accomplishments, Howroyd created a staffing company in 1978. Armed with approximately $1,000, she founded Act*1 Personnel Services, with a focus on the entertainment industry. Later she diversified her business by focusing on engineering, technical and clerical staffing. By 2000 the company had offices in 75 cities nationwide.
Howroyd's clientele has included companies such as Ford, Toyota, Cingular and Billboard. She has flipped that $1,000 so many times that today her revenues are estimated to be almost a billion dollars. All of this is by a family-owned business. Demonstrating what we always preach in this column, she has included her children in the wealth of the business. According to reports, her children own approximately 49 percent of the company.
Lauded with many accolades and awards, Act*1 is considered the nation's largest woman-owned and minority-owned employment services company. Howroyd's creativity is not limited to her company. She also created the time to write a book entitled "The Art of Work: How to Make Your Work, Work for You." Get this: it focuses on work-life balancing.
Feysan Lodde, MV Transportation
Feysan Lodde, and her husband Alex Lodde, founded MV Transportation in 1975. With a focus on public and private transportation, MV Transportation has grown into a company with approximately 13,000 employees, over 7,000 vehicles in 100-plus locations in 26 states and Canada, and revenues of more than $700 million annually. Today, it is the "largest privately held passenger transportation contracting firm" in the nation.
One of the most significant things to note about the Lodde's company is that ego didn't get in the way of growth. After the Loddes had built MV Transportation to a certain level, they were wise enough to supplement their expertise with folks that could help take the company even higher. While maintaining their ownership, they brought in someone else to head the company as the CEO. Just because you start a company does not mean that you have to remain as the CEO. Sometimes you must step aside to continue growth.
Janice Adams, JMA Solutions
CEO Janice Adams of JMA Solutions is at the helm of a fast-growing firm that provides consulting and project management services for everything from acquisition planning to air traffic support to information technology.
A 24-year veteran of the United States military, Adams has proven to be a force in her industry. JMA Solutions has a strong reputation based largely on providing quality products and services to the Federal Aviation Administration. According to her website, JMA Solutions ranked No. 45 out of 500 among INC Magazine's fastest-growing private companies in America.
Adams one to watch because she is well on her way with a business that started in 2005.