Janice Bryant Howroyd makes evident her enthusiasm for work, people, and life with ease, even as she conducts a radio interview about her book, The Art of Work: How to Make Work Work for You.
The book, says Howroyd, is filled with practical, principle-driven advice about achieving success at work and home.
“We make emotional rather than practical decisions about our jobs, which is not a good idea,” she says.
Another nugget: “Regardless of where you are, take a good look at your skills and decide how you can be of value to an employer.”
Howroyd should know.
In 1978 she founded her employment staffing firm, ACT-1, which now has 70 nationwide branches, making it the largest American company of its kind owned by a woman of color. The company also has technology and service delivery throughout North America, Western Europe and India.
WATCH JANICE HOWROYD DISCUSS MINORITY UNEMPLOYMENT ON CNBC
Howroyd founded ACT-1 after visiting Los Angeles, where her sister’s husband worked for Billboard. Howroyd began as his assistant, later filling in for her brother-in-law when he left the country for a few months. When he returned to the company, Howroyd had reorganized his office and hired people to fill existing vacancies.
He suggested that she start her own business, which she did with personal savings and a loan from relatives.Today California-based ACT-1 is a multimillion dollar company with more than 400 employees and a client roster that includes Ford Motor Company, The Gap, and Cingular Wireless.
In 2004, she was co-chair of a $100-million capital campaign at her alma mater, North Carolina A&T State University, and then pledged a gift of $10 million to the school. In 2005, she gave $10 million to the University of Southern California to aid student programs and scholarships.
Howroyd serves on the boards of several organizations in the business, academic and civic sectors including the Minority Business Round Table; Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE); Women’s Leadership Board of the Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University; Board of Trustees, North Carolina A&T State University; the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce and the Ph.D Project, according to articles on her company’s Web site.
Howroyd has received numerous awards, including the 2009 NAWBO-LA Legacy Awardee; 2008 Beta Gamma Sigma Medallion for Entrepreneurship; 2008 BET Honors Entrepreneur of the Year Award; 2007 Texas Association of African American Chamber of Commerce, Outstanding Entrepreneur Award; 2007 National Minority Supplier Development Council Business Person of the Year; 2006, 2007 Star Group Top 50 Leading Women Entrepreneurs in the World (the first African-American to receive this honor); and the 2005 United States Department of Treasury “Large Business Partner of the Year.”
In a March 2009 interview with BET.com, Howroyd encourages young women entrepreneurs: “Blaze your own paths! Yes, follow the examples of anyone who lives with the success or joy you seek. Employ the techniques that transfer well to your goals… but please respect the gift of your individuality.”