50 Female Entrepreneurs Recognized for Strong Business Growth

The Women Presidents' Organization and American Express Recognize 50 Fastest-Growing Women-Owned/Led Companies; 10th Annual Award Ceremony Held in Orlando

ORLANDO, Fla.--()--The Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO), in partnership with American Express, today released the 10th annual ranking of the 50 Fastest-Growing Women-Owned/Led Companies – marking one decade of honorees. The companies on this year’s 50 Fastest list span a range of industries including technology, retail and consulting. The companies generated a combined $7.2 billion in 2016 revenues (mean of $155.6 million) and collectively employed 46,000 people in 2016 (mean of 725). The awardees who took home the top rankings are:

  • Fitness studio franchise Orangetheory Fitness is the fastest growing women-owned business and is appearing on the list for the second time, moving up from the #3 spot in 2016. The seven-year-old Boca Raton, FL-based company, led by Ellen Latham, saw its revenue flourish over the past two years ($86,842,513 in 2014 to $451,101,433 in 2016) and hired 98 employees during that time span. Ellen’s advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is to turn the "I can't" channels in their brain into "I can" channels.
  • Pinnacle Group, an IT workforce solutions firm based in Dallas, remains at the #2 spot for the second year in a row. Nina Vaca, President and CEO, saw her 21-year-old company approach $2 billion dollars in revenue ($1,887,230,307 in 2016, up from $665,504,491 in 2014). The entrepreneur, who still owns 100% of the firm she founded at age 24 with $300 of startup capital, attributes her company’s success to its ability to meet the ever-changing demands of clientele.
  • IT services firm Technology Concepts Group International, a newcomer to the list, is the third fastest-growing company in the 2017 rankings. Based in Somerset, NJ, the nine-year-old business, founded and led by Avis Yates Rivers, saw its revenue rise from $6,726,000 in 2014 to $49,000,000 in 2016. Avis’ primary strategy for success has been to deliver value and create solutions to respond to customer challenges.

“We are proud to announce the 10th class of 50 Fastest honorees. This year, we’re excited to have awardees from a diverse range of industries and locations, including three international winners,” said Marsha Firestone, Ph.D., President and Founder of the Women Presidents’ Organization. “Our partnership with American Express has been crucial in acknowledging the influence women-owned and led companies have in job creation and growing the global economy.”

“Supporting the growth of women-owned and led companies is a true mission for us at American Express, and we are delighted to recognize these trailblazing women for their success,” said Susan Sobbott, President, Global Commercial Payments, American Express. “We hope these awardees and the stories of their business success will inspire others to create and lead prosperous 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; the top 50 were selected for the list. To be qualified for the ranking, businesses are required to be privately held, woman-owned/led companies and have reached an annual revenue of at least $500,000 as of January 1, 2012.

More about the 2017 50 Fastest:

  • Average honoree age: 50
  • CEOs that founded the business: 92%
  • Started the business with their own funds: 72%
  • CEOs that are active in day-to-day operations: 100%
  • Companies that do business globally: 36%
  • Plan to continue to grow their company: 92%
  • Provide health insurance: 94%

All 50 companies will be honored at a special event hosted by American Express at the 2017 WPO Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida on Friday, May 5, 2017. The lunch and awards ceremony will take place from 12:30 PM to 1:30 PM at the Ritz-Carlton Grande Lakes.

Immediately following the lunch and awards ceremony, American Express will also host a Guide to Growth Panel from 1:30 PM to 2:15 PM. The panel will feature 50 Fastest honorees, who will share insights and advice for WPO members looking to grow their businesses.

The 2017 50 Fastest-Growing Women-Owned/Led Companies include:

      Entrepreneur Name       Company Name       City, State/Province/Country
1     Ellen Latham       Orangetheory Fitness       Boca Raton, FL
2     Nina Vaca       Pinnacle Technical Resources, Inc. d/b/a Pinnacle Group       Dallas, TX
3     Avis Yates Rivers       Technology Concepts Group International       Somerset, NJ
4     Dr. Rebecca Thomley       Morning Sun Financial Services       Golden Valley, MN
5     Catherine Downey       CATMEDIA       Tucker, GA
6     Elizabeth Hammond       Contract Direct       Southfield, MI
7     Phyllis Winchester Newhouse       Xtreme Solutions Inc       Atlanta, GA
8     Claudia Mirza       Akorbi       Plano, TX
9     Christina Seelye       Maximum Games       Walnut Creek, CA
10     Debra Gentry       Contingent Resource Solutions, LLC       Duncan, SC
11     Raegan Moya Jones       Aden & Anais, Inc.       Brooklyn, NY
12     Jamila Stanford       Nugate Group, LLC       San Jose, CA
13     Rebecca Cenni       Atrium Staffing       New York, NY
14     Patti Massey       MYCA Material Handling Solutions       Cary, NC
15     Kay Ivie       Ivie & Associates       Flower Mound, TX
16     Tierra Kavanaugh (Turner) Wayne       TKT & Associates, Inc.       Louisville, KY
17     Pamela Evette       Quality Business Solutions, Inc.       Travelers Rest, SC
18     Mary Kariotis       Merrimak Capital Company       Novato, CA
19     Shelly Sun       BrightStar Franchising, LLC       Gurnee, IL
20     Britt Whitfield       The Revel Group       Chicago, IL
21     Elizabeth Prim       Prim Construction, LLC       Fort Worth, TX
22     Elizabeth Scherle       Influenster       New York, NY
23     Liz Elting       TransPerfect       New York, NY
24     Margaret Marcucci       CorAnet Corp       New York, NY
25     Yi Li       Renogy       Ontario, Canada
26     Katie Conovitz       Twelve, Inc.       Brooklyn, NY
27     Stacy Knight       CA South       Atlanta, GA
28     Roberta Roberts Shank "Sissie"       Chas Roberts A/C & Plumbing, Inc.       Phoenix, AZ
29     Tana Greene       Greene-Group       Davidson, NC
30     Anjali "Ann" Ramakumaran       Ampcus Inc       Chantilly, VA
31     Simone Schendel Reese       Schendel Mechanical Contracting Ltd       Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
32     Jennifer Smith       Innovative Office Solutions, LLC       Burnsville, MN
33     Michelle Baker       Swoon Group, LLC       Chicago, IL
34     Patricia Bible       Katom Restaurant Supply, Inc.       Kodak, TN
35     Karen McPartland       TSAC Engineering       San Diego, CA
36     Sushumnaa Roy Jalajam       Softpath System, LLC       Norcross, GA
37     Pamela O'Rourke       ICON Information Consultants, LP       Houston, TX
38     Margrit Anne Wolff       Mercury Freight (PTY), LTD       Johannesburg, South Africa
39     Ronia Kruse       OpTech, LLC       Troy, MI
40     Kathleen Benson       Office Remedies, Inc. dba ORI       Herndon, VA
41     Victoria Vasques       Tribal Tech, LLC       Alexandria, VA
42     Cordia Harrington       The Bakery Cos.       Nashville, TN
43     Linda A Sullivan       Administrative Strategies, LLC       Fishers, IN
44     Tamara L. Nall       The Leading Niche       New York, NY
45     Diane Astley       Xclusive Staffing       Westminster, CO
46     Patty Klein       A-Plus Meetings & Incentives       Coral Gables, FL
47     Natalie McDonald       Create NYC       New York, NY
48     Annette Johnson       CMT Services, Inc.       Hyattsville, MD
49     Cheryl Pia       PIA Agency       Carlsbad, CA
50     Lindsay McCutchen       Reliant Staffing Systems, dba Career Start       Rochester, NY

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 www.womenpresidentsorg.com. Follow WPO on Twitter (@womenpresidents) and like us on Facebook.

About American Express Global Commercial Payments

Through its Global Commercial Payments division, American Express offers a suite of payment and lending products that help businesses and organizations of all sizes gain financial savings, control and efficiency. Global Commercial Payments provides solutions for travel and everyday business spending, cross border payments, global currency solutions, and business financing.

To learn more about Global Commercial Payments visit business.americanexpress.com

To learn more about American Express OPEN, which provides products and services for small businesses and entrepreneurs in the United States, visit www.OPEN.com

About American Express

American Express (NYSE:AXP) is a global services company, providing customers with access to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives and build business success. Learn more at americanexpress.com and connect with us on facebook.com/americanexpress, foursquare.com/americanexpress, linkedin.com/company/american-express, twitter.com/americanexpress, and youtube.com/americanexpress.

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M Booth
Alex Della Rocca
American Express
Melissa Filipek
Women Presidents’ Organization
Susan Johnson


M Booth
Alex Della Rocca
American Express
Melissa Filipek
Women Presidents’ Organization
Susan Johnson