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Janice Bryant Howroyd’s Billion-Dollar Dream

“Join me on a journey inspired by Janice Bryant Howroyd, the trailblazing entrepreneur who went from a pioneer of desegregation to founding a multibillion-dollar enterprise, The ACT-1 Group. Let's celebrate resilience, triumph over adversity, and the limitless possibilities of dreams pursued with determination.”

Black Wall Street MediaBlack History Month 2024 - FEBRUARY

As a teenager, Janice found herself thrust into the spotlight of desegregation, becoming one of the first African American students to integrate her town’s once-segregated high school.

However, the journey was far from easy. In a classroom tainted with prejudice, her teacher’s narrow-minded views sought to confine anyone of African descent to a history of servitude.

Undeterred, Janice faced the adversity head-on, navigating a sea of challenges during her high school years.

Despite the obstacles, her unwavering faith and relentless determination became the guiding forces that propelled her forward.

Displeased with the discriminatory environment, Janice implored her father to change schools, fueled by a burning desire to excel.

Her ultimate goal was to secure a full scholarship to North Carolina A&T, where she later earned a bachelor’s degree in English, a testament to her academic prowess and unyielding spirit.

In 1976, Janice embarked on a new chapter in Los Angeles, California. Working as a temporary secretary for her brother-in-law Tom Noonan at Billboard magazine, she found herself immersed in an environment that exposed her to the intricacies of business, diversity, and decision-making at a level she had never experienced before.

Armed with newfound knowledge and industry experience, Janice, armed with little more than $1,000.00, took a bold step in 1978. In the heart of Beverly Hills, California, she birthed her brainchild, The ACT-1 Group, with Tom Noonan as her inaugural client.

From its humble beginnings, The ACT-1 Group evolved into a multibillion-dollar, award-winning international talent and talent technology enterprise, boasting operations in 19 countries, 17,000 clients, and a global workforce of 2,600 employees. Janice Bryant Howroyd etched her name in history as the first African American woman to build and own a billion-dollar company.

Her remarkable journey and indomitable spirit earned her numerous accolades, including the BET Honors Entrepreneur Award in 2008, induction into the National Association of Women Business Owners Hall of Fame in 2011, a place in the National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame in 2015, and the Black Enterprise A.G. Gaston Award in 2016.

Her story, a testament to resilience, tenacity, and triumph over adversity, continues to inspire generations, proving that dreams, when pursued with unwavering determination, can reshape the landscape of possibilities.

“Janice Bryant Howroyd, a true trailblazer, left an indelible mark on the world, paving the way for those who dare to dream beyond boundaries”

Black Wall St. MediaContributor

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