This African American is the first black woman to own a billion-dollar company

Farida Dawkins February 12, 2018
Janet Bryant Howroyd

Janet Bryant Howroyd is a 65-year-old entrepreneur, businesswoman, author, and educator. Howroyd is also the founder and CEO of Act 1 Group.

Interestingly, Howroyd has played an integral part in civil rights; she was one of the first Black students in her hometown to integrate into a previously segregated high school.

Her journey began when she courageously moved from Tarboro, North Carolina to Los Angeles, California. Her first job was as a secretary, working for her brother-in-law at Billboard Magazine.

Her newfound position afforded her the ability to rub elbows with business executives, celebrities, and other individuals of high social status.  Armed with a nominal budget – just $900, Howroyd began Act 1 Group.  Act 1 is a company which provides employment, business, and consulting services.  Act 1 operates in 19 countries including the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Hong Kong, Japan, and the United States.

Under Act 1, there is also AppleOne dedicated to providing passionate personnel, and secure data management to name a few attributes; All’s Well which caters to healthcare personnel; AT-Tech, a technical and personnel providing service; Agile 1, a business pro-outsourcing service; Act 1 Govt, provides a plethora of services to government agencies; ACheck Global, a screening and background verification company; and DSSI, a content and document management organization.

In 2016, Howroyd was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve as a member of the President’s Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities.  In addition, she serves on boards for the United States Department of Labor’s Workforce Initiative, Women’s Business Enterprise National Council, Harvard Women’s Leadership Board, Los Angeles Urban League, and is a member of the board of trustees for her alma mater, North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University to name a few organizations.

Howroyd believes that “one cannot effectively lead without passionately serving” so she does just that by providing scholarships and various assistance to Harvard University, North Carolina A&T, WBENC – a women’s support organization, the Urban League, and mentorship to individuals and companies.

When asked how she would advise others, Howroyd iterated empowering words to live by: “Explore all of your opportunities before you dedicate yourself to one because you may surprise yourself,” In order to be outstanding, sometimes, you’re just going to have to stand out,” and “Never compromise who you are personally to become what you wish to be professionally.”

In 2017 for the second year in a row, Howroyd was named by Forbes as one of the wealthiest self-made women with an empire worth $420 million.

Learn some more about Howroyd and her brand here:

Last Edited by:Ismail Akwei Updated: June 19, 2018


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