Fifty Leading Women Entrepreneurs Honored for Their Companies’ Rapid and Thriving Growth

The Women Presidents' Organization and American Express Name 50 Fastest-Growing Women-Owned/Led Companies at Ceremony in Baltimore

BALTIMORE--()--The Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO), in partnership with American Express (NYSE:AXP), today released the ninth annual ranking of the 50 Fastest-Growing Women-Owned/Led Companies. The 50 Fastest generated a combined $4.96 billion in 2015 revenues (mean of $99.2 million) and collectively employed 44,744 in 2015 (mean of 1,028). The top three honorees are:

  • S'well, a New York City-based beverage bottle manufacturer, is the fastest growing women-owned business and newcomer to this year’s ranking. Over the past two years, the firm’s revenue ($2,517,155 in 2013 to $47,245,079 in 2015) and employment (3 employees in 2013 to 40 in 2015) skyrocketed. Sarah Kauss, chief executive officer, who owns 100% of the firm, attributes business success to a sheer dedication to her company, hard work and belief in the product and the brand.
  • Pinnacle Group, an IT workforce solutions firm based in Dallas, moves down to #2 from holding the top spot in 2015. Nina Vaca, president and chief executive officer, saw her 20-year-old company break the billion dollar barrier ($1,159,815,799 in 2015, up from $201,493,192 in 2013). The entrepreneur, who still owns 100% of the firm she founded at age 24 with $300 of startup capital, accredits “putting people first” as her number one strategy for her company’s Texas-sized growth.
  • Fitness studio franchise Orangetheory Fitness, another newcomer to the list, is the third fastest-growing company. The six-year-old Fort Lauderdale, FL-based firm, led by Ellen Latham, saw its revenue escalate from $3,147,199 in 2013 to $47,537,711 in 2015 and added 56 employees during that time span.

“This year’s 50 Fastest list represents our most diverse ranking ever, with an immense geographic reach covering 20 states and one international winner in Turkey, as well as industries ranging from energy efficiency services to cybersecurity and engineering,” said Marsha Firestone, Ph. D., president and founder of the WPO. “We are once again so very pleased to partner with American Express in paying tribute to these influential women and recognizing the vital role that women-owned/led companies have in boosting the economy and enhancing overall job growth.”

“According to our recent State of Women-Owned Businesses report, the number of women-owned firms grew at a rate of five times faster than the national average since the recession,” said Susan Sobbott, president, Global Commercial Payments, American Express. “We are thrilled to showcase the successes of these fifty honorees in order to inspire other women to build high-growth businesses.”

Each of the honored business owners will be offered a congratulatory prize from American Express.

Applicants do not have to be WPO members. All eligible companies were ranked according to a sales growth formula that combines percentage and absolute growth. From this list, the 50 Fastest were selected. To be qualified for the ranking, businesses are required to be privately held, woman-owned/led companies and have reached revenue of at least $500,000 by the first week of 2011 and $2 million in 2015.

More about the 2016 50 Fastest:

  • Average Age: 49
  • CEOs that founded the business: 92%
  • Listed companies that do business globally: 44%
  • Provide health insurance: 92%
  • Plan to continue to grow their company: 90%
  • State hiring the best talent as their biggest business challenge: 44%

All 50 companies will be honored at a special event hosted by American Express at the 2016 WPO Annual Conference in Baltimore, Maryland on Friday, April 8, 2016. The dinner and awards ceremony will take place from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront.

Each attendee of the WPO conference will receive a new handbook, 50 Fastest Women-Owned/Led Companies Guide to Growth, sponsored by American Express. It includes past honorees’ tips to achieve rapid company growth and focuses on five areas that change significantly when a business scales: HR, branding, financing, sales, and innovation.

The 2016 50 Fastest-Growing Women-Owned/Led Companies Include:

      Entrepreneur Name     Company Name     City, State/Province/Country
1     Sarah Kauss     S'well     New York, NY
2     Nina Vaca     Pinnacle Group     Dallas, TX
3     Ellen Latham     Orangetheory Fitness     Fort Lauderdale, FL
4     Dr. Rebecca Thomley     Morning Star Financial Services     Golden Valley, MN
5     Kristi Alford     E2 Optics     Englewood, CO
6     Britnie Turner Founder     Aerial Development Group     Nashville, TN
7     Therese Tucker     BlackLine     Woodland Hills, CA
8     Kristina Roth     Matisia Consultants     Seattle, WA
9     Shelly Sun     BrightStar Franchising LLC     Gurnee, IL
10     Lacy Starling     Legion Logistics, LLC     Florence, KY
11     Kay Ivie     Ivie & Associates, Inc.     Flower Mound, TX
12     Claudia Mirza     Akorbi     Plano, TX
13     Zeynep Erkunt Armagan     Erkunt Tractor Industries, Inc.     Ankara, Turkey
14     Staci L. Redmon     Strategy and Management Services, Inc.     Springfield, VA
15     Liz Elting     TransPerfect     New York, NY
16     Phyllis Newhouse     Xtreme Solutions Inc.     Atlanta, GA
17     Victoria L. Vasques     Tribal Tech, LLC     Alexandria, VA
18     Rebecca Cenni     Atrium Staffing     New York, NY
19     Stephanie Point     Point 2 Point Global Security, Inc.     Addison, TX
20     Jamila Stanford     NuGate Group, LLC     San Jose, CA
21     Ronia Kruse     OpTech, LLC     Troy, MI
22     Kara Trott     Quantum Health     Columbus, OH
23     Michelle Baker     Swoon Group LLC     Chicago, IL
24     Denise Legg     MegaCorp Logistics     Wilmington, NC
25     Christina Seelye     Maximum Games     Walnut Creek, CA
26     Nancy Stango     Blink Reaction dba FFW     Princeton, NJ
27     Paloma Bilson     Protea Group International     North Hollywood, CA
28     Veronica Edwards     InGenesis, Inc.     San Antonio, TX
29     Diane Astley     Xclusive Staffing     Westminster, CO
30     Shavila Singh     Zero Waste Solutions, Inc.     Concord, CA
31     Dee Hays     Excellence Engineering, LLC     Tulsa, OK
32     Molly Gimmel     Design To Delivery Inc.     Bethesda, MD
33     Britt Whitfield     The Revel Group     Chicago, IL
34     Kathy Benson     ORI     Herndon, VA
35     Pamela O'Rourke     ICON Information Consultants, LP     Houston, TX
36     Lily Sarafan     Home Care Assistance     Palo Alto, CA
37     Marilyn Grabowski     Atlantic Infra     Wall, NJ
38     Tana Greene     The Greene Group     Davidson, NC
39     Anita Emoff     Boost Technologies dba Boost Rewards     Dayton, OH
40     Anjali "Ann" Ramakumaran     Ampcus Inc.     Chantilly, VA
41     Mary Kariotis     Merrimak Capital Company     Novato, CA
42     Susan Frech     Social Media Link     New York, NY
43     Cordia Harrington     The Bakery Cos.     Nashville TN
44     Amy Dresser     J Curve     Atlanta, GA
45     Mary Ellen Franz     Imagine Technology Group     Chandler, AZ
46     Natalie Davis-Runyan     Anserteam Workforce Solutions     Dallas, TX
47     Carla Walker-Miller     Walker-Miller Energy Services     Detroit, MI
48     Heather Sanderson     Overture Promotions     Vernon Hills, IL
49     Lenora Payne     Technology Group Solutions, LLC     Lenexa, KS
50     Debbie James     Vivere Health, LLC     Franklin, TN

About the Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO)

The WPO is the ultimate affiliation for successful women entrepreneurs worldwide. In monthly meetings across the world, women from diverse industries invest time and energy in themselves and their businesses to drive their corporations to the next level. Local WPO chapters are coordinated by a professional facilitator and meet monthly to share business expertise and experience in a confidential setting. For more information, call 212-688-4114 or visit Follow WPO on Twitter (@womenpresidents) and like us on Facebook.

About American Express Global Commercial Payments

Through its Global Corporate Payments division, American Express offers a suite of B2B and T&E payment solutions that help organizations streamline processes and transform them into opportunities for savings, control and efficiency. American Express can help your organization increase working capital flexibility and strengthen relationships with suppliers. For more information, visit and

About American Express

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M Booth
Alex Della Rocca, 212-539-3203
American Express
Melissa Filipek, 917-514-4693
Women Presidents’ Organization
Susan Johnson, 917-601-5778


M Booth
Alex Della Rocca, 212-539-3203
American Express
Melissa Filipek, 917-514-4693
Women Presidents’ Organization
Susan Johnson, 917-601-5778