Room at the Top
It takes more than a great idea to create a million-dollar business. You need passion, luck and drive, as these highly successful women have learned. Here are their secrets.
(page 1 of 9)Martha Stewart. Bobbi Brown. Mrs. Fields. They’re household names, and they represent a rapidly growing constituency in this country: successful, financially independent, entrepreneurial women.
Women own or control 41 percent of all privately held firms in the United States, and the number of female-owned businesses is growing at twice the national average. That translates to $1.9 trillion dollars and 12.8 million jobs.
In Rhode Island, there are more than 36,000 privately held, female-controlled firms that employ 48,000-plus people and do $7.8 billion in annual sales, according to the Washington D.C.-based Center for Women’s Business Research.
But success in business is elusive. Only three percent of female-owned companies generate revenues of more than $1 million, and most new enterprises close within five years.
These Rhode Island women, however, created businesses that either nudge that magic $1 million mark or far exceed it. Several attended all-girls’ schools. Four have advanced degrees. Two have distinguished themselves in athletics. One is a member of a world championship softball team. One is a former beauty queen. One advised a U.S. president. One designs for the Hollywood elite. Another owns one million square feet of commercial Rhode Island real estate. Their paths to success are varied, but they all share a passion for what they do and a commitment to seeing future generations of women succeed.
Pattie Garrahy-Robertson PGR Media
The Taste Maker
Leslie Montie Wildtree
Christine Heenan Clarendon Group
Renee Evangelista Edwards Angell Palmer and Dodge
The Trend Setter
Carolyn Rafaelian Alex and Ani
Ann-Marie Harrington Embolden Design
The Builder and Shaker
Jennifer Cookke Blackstone Management, F.H. French Company
The Deal Maker
Chris Tanner RE/MAX Flagship