Janice Bryant Howroyd

The founder and CEO Act 1 Group, an employment agency and consultancy, is the first African-American woman to operate a company that brings in upwards of $1 billion in annual revenue.

She moved to Los Angeles from her hometown of Tarboro, N.C., in 1976 with just $900 to her name, according to The Los Angeles Times. Two years later, she founded Act 1 despite not even owning a fax machine -- just a phone. She grew the company through word of mouth, and by adding new types of services based on client needs.

 

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