Janice Bryant Howroyd holds the title of the first Black woman to own a billion-dollar business. Her journey into the business world began in 1976, when she left her hometown of North Carolina with $900 in her pocket and a focus on starting a business that would help others find employment.
Today, that company is the largest female, minority-owned employment agency in the country. When Howroyd first started her business, a female CEO/founder was a rare commodity. Today, there are more than nine million businesses owned by women. Though there’s still have a long way to go — according to the 2007 Census, almost 80 percent of (nonfarm) businesses are owned by men.
“I’ve always imagined success,” the founder and CEO told TODAY in an interview. “You see the evolution in technology, you see the transparency that the world offers, but the fundamental things that we built the business from have stayed the same, and I really think that’s more the secret to the success.”
She then went on to share her four secrets of success:
- Make sure you’re prepared.
- Understand what the goal is.
- Understand that all of those around, particularly family, are part of that success.
- Always find a moment of gratitude and be grateful along the journey.
“Never compromise who you are personally to become who you wish to be professionally.” ~ Janice Howroyd