Janice Bryant Howroyd Profile

  • Howroyd is the first African-American woman to start and run a billion-dollar business.

  • Ranked as the second wealthiest self-made African American woman, only behind Oprah, Howroyd went from growing up in a small segregated town to creating one of the world's largest staffing agencies with just $1,500.

  • Howroyd has been recognized by BET as one of 14 black women who changed finance and business.

  • The first African-american woman to build and run a billion-dollar company, Janice Bryant Howroyd started ACT-1 group in 1978 with a fax machine, a phone, and a list of contacts. Today the staffing firm has over 2,800 employees and provides full-time and temporary job placement options to more than 17,000 clients in 19 countries, including the United States, Canada, Denmark, Brazil and the United Kingdom. Howroyd’s keen understanding of global market demographics and trends along with her proactive move to build an online presence for ACT-1 back in 1995, are just a few of the characteristics that have contributed to 40 years of profits and growth for her firm.

    Howroyd’s first lessons in entrepreneurship and innovation came from growing up in a household of 11 children and 2 well-organized adults. As one of the first African-Americans in her North Carolina community to desegregate her town’s high school in her senior year, she fearlessly faced racism from both teachers and students in order to meet her educational goals – earning a full scholarship to attend North Carolina A&T State University where she majored in English.

    Howroyd has been listed twice among Forbes’ “wealthiest self-made women.” She sits on the board of trustees for North Carolina A&T State University, Harvard’s Women Leadership board, and the board of USC’s Marshall School of Business. In 2016, she was appointed to serve as a member of the board of advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities by then President Barack Obama.

    • View Extended/Alternate Bio

      Businesswoman, entrepreneur, educator, ambassador, author, mentor and Presidential Special Appointee, Janice Bryant Howroyd is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of The ActOne Group, a global leader providing customized cutting edge solutions in the human resources industry. The ActOne Group is a multi-billion dollar (USD) award-winning, international Talent and Talent Technology enterprise with multiple divisions that each service unique areas of employment and provide talent management solutions.

      JBH has invested millions of dollars in creating the industry’s most advanced technology and talent platform serving the ever-changing utility, energy and broadband communication space. Her vision, as an industry leader, is fostering connectivity between these sectors giving competitive advantage to clients engaged in cyclical markets. Her understanding of global market demographics and trends has made her a highly sought after ambassador, speaker and commentator on global business issues.

      In the hallway of her headquarters hangs a painting inspired by the U.S. Supreme Court decision Brown vs. the Board of Education, which outlawed school segregation, because, she says, “I’m a product of that energy.” She is currently listed as #39 in Forbes list of America’s Richest Self-Made Women. In 2014, she was recognized by Black Enterprise as the first black woman to own and operate a billion-dollar company. JBH was BET’s first ever BET Honors Entrepreneur of the Year and has received Black Enterprise’s Business of the Year award. In 2013, she was appointed a USA Ambassador of Energy at the White House.

      In May of 2016 JBH received a key Presidential appointment by President Barack Obama as a member of the President’s Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. As a community leader and advocate for education, she lends her guidance to select organizations that include the International Trade Advisory Commission Board, Los Angeles Economic Development Corporate Board, and the Women’s Leadership Board of the Kennedy School of Government/Harvard University.

      JBH has traveled to over fifty countries promoting education and the powerful impact it has on communities around the world. Her accomplishments, both personal and professional, are inspired by her deep faith and her love for her family. She says, “One cannot effectively lead without passionately serving.”

    Janice Bryant Howroyd Speaking Videos

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    Janice Bryant Howroyd's Speech Descriptions

    Billionaire-business owner, Janice Bryant Howroyd imparts practical advice on how to grow big accomplishments from small beginnings. Born into a family of 11 children, Howroyd learned how to innovate with very little from a young age. To this day, she continues to share these lessons about teamwork, organization, and management – tools that were key to her parents running a household of 13 in the segregated Deep South and tools that she later applied to turn a fax machine and a phone into a billion-dollar business.

    Act As Though You Cannot Fail, and You Will Be Surprised by How Often You Succeed

    Own Your Future: Janice's Personal Story from Rural North Carolina to owning a Billion Dollar Company

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    Books by Janice Bryant Howroyd:

    The Art of Work – How to Make Work, Work for You!

    As uncertain economies and unemployment create the doubt that comes with threats of layoffs and reduced career prospects, The Art of Work: How to Make Work, Work for You! arrives just in time. Comprised of two distinct sections, this book will first help those looking for work to find a great job. The second section then helps those who have a job keep it and thrive while moving forward in a rewarding career. Janice Bryant Howroyd brings her career and work/life balance expertise together to teach you how to manage the everyday job and career challenges all of us face. She outlines the core principles that have allowed her to rise to the top of her field, leading a human resources conglomerate that has grown into a global success story. Through The Art of Work: How to Make Work, Work for You!, Janice serves as your mentor and helps you to create your own path to job and career success!

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