Fortune: These Are The 50 Fastest Growing Women-Owned/Led Companies In the U.S.

By: Madeline Farber

Ellen Latham never thought her love of fitness would result in owning one of the fastest-growing businesses in the United States.

Latham, who owns a boutique fitness chain called Orangetheory, has snagged the No. 1 spot the annual ranking of the fastest growing women-owned or led businesses released by the Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO) and American Express on Thursday. Though this Orangetheory’s first time at No. 1, the Florida-based company is not a newcomer to the list; it was ranked No. 3 last year.

The list, which is in its tenth year, ranks companies based on both percentage and absolute growth. To qualify, businesses must be privately-held, woman-owned or led, and have reached an annual revenue of at least $500,000 as of Jan. 1, 2012. The 50 companies generated a combined $7.2 billion last year, up from $75 million in 2007, the first year the list was compiled.

Latham co-founded Orangetheory with just $50,000 from her personal savings in 2010. Since then, the business has flourished: In 2016, Orangetheory reported $451 million in revenue, up from $87 million in 2014— success Latham never truly expected.

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“We hit the ground running when we decided to franchise the company,” she says. “But I never thought it would explode to where it has.”

Orangetheory now flaunts 630 locations across the U.S., and has spent the last year breaking into the international market. “It’s been the biggest reward, but biggest challenge,” she says of expanding outside of the U.S.

Orangetheory is known for its metabolic training tactics—the roughly 60-minute, fat-burning classes are a blend of strength training and cardio, using exercise equipment like treadmills, indoor water-rowers, and free weights. Participants wear a heart-rate monitor, which is synced with monitors in the studio to see real-time readings.

“People are getting dramatic results in short period of time. That’s why the studios are jammed and we can’t open enough,” Latham says.

While the business on the list range across a wide variety of industries, there is one thing they—and the women who lead them—have in common, according to WPO president Marsha Firestone: innovation. “It’s definitely one of the characteristics that these women have that drive growth,” she says.

As for Latham’s advice to other aspiring female entrepreneurs, especially to those who have a great idea later on in life? “I was 53 when I started Orangetheory. So why not you?” she asks.

Top-ranked Orangetheory is followed by Pinnacle Group, an IT workforce solutions firm based in Dallas, which has remained in the No. 2 spot for the second year in a row. IT services firm Technology Concepts Group International, a newcomer to the list, was ranked No. 3. You can check out the full list here.

The Encore – PNC Wealth Management: How To Teach Your Kids the Value of Money

Talking to your children about money when they’re young can help them make good choices later. PNC’s Jennifer Dempsey Fox shares tips for how parents can teach valuable financial lessons to kids of all ages.

Whether your kids spend money like it’s burning a hole in their pocket or consistently save it for a rainy day, having frank conversations about how they earn, save and spend money can be crucial for their financial success later in life.

“As a parent, money is one of the hardest topics to discuss with your kids, but it’s also one of the most important,” said Jennifer Dempsey Fox, a mother of two teenagers and national managing director of wealth strategy for PNC Asset Management Group.

Few schools have formal courses dedicated to money management—and it shows. American teens scored below average on global financial literacy assessments, according to a study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. If not improved, this lack of knowledge could lead to financial problems in the future.

The solution? Experts agree that as a parent, talking to kids about money is a good start.

Teaching kids the basics of money when they’re young helps them develop a good foundation. Then, when they’re older, it becomes easier to have more nuanced discussions.

These conversations become particularly important when your kids receive money for holidays, birthdays or special occasions and must make decisions on how they will spend – or save – that money.

Let Cash be King

Saving money can be an abstract concept for some children under age five. However, most children at that age are learning about taking turns and being patient. You can maximize these life lessons by explaining that patience now can help them buy something they want later.

Every time your kids receive money, encourage them to set aside some to spend, some to save and some to share with others in need. Asking them to designate their money in this way helps them think about both their short-term and long-term goals.

It may help to keep their money in clear containers so your child can see it adding up (or dwindling). There also are digital tools to help your child visualize this, such as PNC’s “S” is for Savings® account. Your child can “fill” three jars (saving, spending, and sharing) and see images of coins and dollar bills in the jars.

Giving young children cash to use for small purchases can make a difference. When they have to hand over a dollar for a treat in the checkout line, it teaches them that money is more than just a number. Remind your child that a dollar spent on a treat now means they won’t have that dollar to spend on a toy they have been planning to buy later.

Teach with Tech

Teenagers typically can handle more planning when it comes to their money, so it’s not as imperative for them to pay strictly with cash. Fox recommends loading allowance or gift money on prepaid cards.

“Paying with plastic means teens have to keep track of their balance and educates them on the modern money system,” she said. Since prepaid cards have a set limit, teens learn to budget their money to make it last.

When teens want to buy something, they can check the balance on their card before making a decision. “This method has prevented a lot of conflict in our house,” Fox said. “I ask my son or daughter if they have enough money to cover the expense and the answer is simple from there.”

If your teen doesn’t already have one, open a checking account for/with them. Keep in mind you may need to be a co-signer on the account if they are a minor. Teach them to use online banking to track and evaluate how they spend their money and emphasize the value of setting aside savings.

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WPO Guest Blog – Leadership Lessons: Always play the long game

By: PNC Bizwomen

FRI Blog

Congratulations to Beth Bronfman CEO and managing partner of View, and WPO Board Member, on this feature!

Leadership Lessons is a series of Q&A sessions with members of The Committee of 200 (C200), an invitation-only group of the world’s top female entrepreneurs and C-suite executives who work to foster, celebrate and advance women’s leadership in business.

Beth Bronfman, director at large of the C200 governing board, is CEO and managing partner of View, a New York advertising, interactive and branding agency that creates category leaders. Bringing brand expertise and insights acquired throughout her career, including as vice president of advertising at Macy’s New York, Bronfman has built her agency into a multimillion-dollar firm. She has earned accolades including the Presidents Award of the Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO) and the Enterprising Women of the Year Award.

What’s the most important business lesson you’ve learned, and how did you learn it?

Early in life, I learned the lesson that has become the foundation of my company’s culture: It’s not about me. Delighted to be visiting my father at his office in the Empire State Building when I was 12, I burst through the doors, blurting out who I was and why I was there. Overhearing my spirited entry, my father took me aside and reprimanded me, explaining that I needed to look beyond myself and be considerate of the person I was speaking to — in this case, the receptionist. In that moment, I realized how important it is to look at things through the perspective of others. In business, this means checking our egos at the door and understanding that it’s always about our clients — not about us.

How did you develop your leadership style?

My parents, as well as my grandparents, were exceptional role models. They taught me to be kind, generous and collaborative above all else. They instilled in me the confidence to know that I could do anything in life, but also helped me understand that caring about people comes first. As I began working for various bosses, I discovered that people want to work with leaders who treat them with respect and kindness. As a leader, you don’t have to be the smartest one in the room, but you do need to care about and listen to the thoughts, feelings and opinions of others.

How do you hire?

I listen to my gut. Meeting someone face-to-face is much more telling than any resume. I like to share a meal and spend time socializing to see who candidates really are. When we are hiring at View, I always look for people who are smarter than me in their area of expertise and who exhibit flexibility, the desire to grow and the ability to communicate.

How do you continue to grow personally and professionally at this stage in your career?

We should all strive to grow every day of our lives. I grow by participating in leadership groups, including C200 and WPO; networking and connecting people; consulting my advisory board; reading; and asking for help when I don’t know an answer.

What advice do you share with young business leaders?

Remember that it’s about the long game, and have the vision to take your business where you want it to go. That means standing back and working on your business, not just in it; regularly evaluating whether you have the right people in the right seats; building strategic alliances with partners whose expertise contributes to your long-term growth; adding value to your business every day; and conscientiously monitoring your profitability. Also: Get a line of credit when you don’t need it so that it’s there when you do. But most importantly, create a culture of relationship building: At View, we serve as brand stewards for our clients, because no matter how your business evolves, maintaining a strong client focus is vital to your success.

PNC is a proud sponsor of The Committee of 200, which includes 500 of the world’s most successful female corporate executives and entrepreneurs, whose companies generate more than $1.4 trillion in annual revenues. To read similar stories or to sign up to receive PNC’s Insights for Women in Business e-newsletter, visit

Fortune: Startups With Female Founders Grow Faster

By Victor Lipman

Startup companies with female founders “almost universally outperformed their male-only counterparts.”

As an accompanying chart shows, at four out of five high-growth revenue breaks, female-founded companies showed stronger overall performance.  “The fastest growing companies,” the survey report noted, “at 200%+ growth, are 75% more likely to have a female founder.”

These are among the key findings from the 2017 Annual Start-up Report from TINYpulse, an employee research firm.The research, which examined startup culture, had a number of interesting insights:

  • Benefits and work-life balance didn’t drive retention so much as did management transparency and employee happiness.
  • Of various management attributes, transparency was the one most highly correlated with growth in revenue and headcount.
  • Company leaders typically felt their culture was performing better – in terms of transparency, valuing employees, etc. – than employees did. This finding didn’t surprise me at all, as my experience over a long management career was that senior leadership often feels considerably more positive about their operation than does the rank and file. (Perhaps the Kool-Aid in those c-suite water fountains?)

But to me by far the most intriguing finding was the strong gender disparity linked to financial performance.

I asked David Niu, the founder of TINYpulse, for some perspective on this disparity. His response: “This corroborates Sheryl Sandberg’s assertion that ‘endless data shows that diverse teams make better decisions’  – and it’s also backed up by similar research from MSCI, and from Noland, Moran and Kotschwar.”

This latter research rang a bell with me, as I’d read the study and written about it for Forbes back in February 2016, with The Best Reason Yet To Increase Women In Business Leadership. I remember being impressed at the time with both the scale of the study (21,980 firms in 91 countries) and the strength of its findings. “For profitable firms,” the report concluded, “a move from no female leaders to 30% representation is associated with a 15% increase in the net revenue margin.”

Indeed, the real takeaway for me in both these studies is nothing as simplistic as “women are smarter than men” or anything of that nature – but that the power of diverse perspectives and a broad range of thinking – whether gender, ethnicity, culture, experience, age, etc. – is of substantive value for something as complex and multifaceted as a business enterprise.

All worth keeping in mind at a time when issues like immigration and cultural diversity are receiving far more emotional national attention than at any period in recent memory.

Victor Lipman is an executive coach and author of  The Type B Manager.

Walmart: Launches “Fight Hunger. Spark Change.” Campaign

Recently, Walmart launched its “Fight Hunger. Spark Change.” campaign, a nationwide initiative that encourages the public to join the fight against hunger. Working with Discover card and five suppliers, which represent some of the nation’s leading food companies – Campbell Soup CompanyGeneral MillsKellogg CompanyThe Kraft Heinz Company and PepsiCo – Walmart is offering three easy ways to take action against hunger and help a local Feeding America food bank through social, online and in-store participation.

  1. Buy participating products: 1 item purchased = 1 meal secured on behalf of a local Feeding America Food bank.
  2. Donate money to the local Feeding America food bankat any Walmart store.
  3. Make an online act of support: This includes using #FightHunger on Twitter and Instagram, sharing and liking campaign posts on Facebook, and using unique Snapchat filters nationwide on April 21. For each online act of support, Walmart will donate $0.90 to Feeding America – enough to help secure 10 meals on behalf of Feeding America member food banks – up to a maximum donation of $1.5 million. See further details.

With the USDA reporting that 42 million people in America, including more than 13 million children, struggle with hunger, the ”Fight Hunger. Spark Change.” campaign is part of Walmart’s larger commitment to provide meals to those in need, helping ensure every family has access to affordable, nutritious and sustainably-grown food.

As the nation’s largest grocer, Walmart is in a unique leadership position to positively impact the issue of hunger in the United States. In October 2014, Walmart announced a commitment to create a more sustainable food system, with a focus on improving the affordability of food by lowering the “true cost” of food for both customers and the environment, increasing access to food, making healthier eating easier, and improving the safety and transparency of the food chain. This commitment includes a goal of providing four billion meals to those struggling with hunger in the U.S. by 2020.

To learn more about the campaign, visit, and to view Walmart’s full press release, visit

Join Walmart today!

WPO would like to thank Walmart for providing this week’s sponsor blog content. 

WPO Guest Blog- It’s an Accessible Life: My 24-Hour Journey

Special thanks to our member Sally Swanson for this blog submission.



Ouch! Like a bandage being ripped from one’s skin, it’s striking how this year has vividly defined unity and in alarming contrast the great divide facing this country.

This blog required more reflection than usual as I came to grips with my conflicting emotions. It wasn’t until I went to my local chapter San Francisco Rotary Club meeting celebrating the 31st Annual Emergency Services Day that our current political climate of uncertainty and fear took shape and framed the moment in time for me.

At this pivotal meeting, the San Francisco Rotary Club honored individuals who had accomplished brave and successful rescue missions for San Francisco’s Sheriff Department, Fire Department, Police Department as well as the United States Coast Guard.

The theme of the meeting was to salute our first responder personnel who have demonstrated exceptional acts of courage, character, compassion for their community and commitment to their chosen professions.

I was especially moved to see that two women, Sheriff Vicki L. Hennessy and Fire Department Chief Joanne Hayes-White were the leaders for these two important organizations. The noble rescue acts recognized by the honored members of each department demonstrated their dedication to assisting other individuals. One expressed that adherence to the principles of law and order encouraged a spirit of inclusiveness and positive teamwork, while the other shared that team participation and common sacrifice by the selected honorees were the extraordinary measures taken to achieve peace and purpose of duty.

Leaving that meeting I was buoyed by sheer optimism that America is still great!

I’m off to a great start personally and professionally with a scheduled presentation at the Transportation Research Board’s 2017 Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. Always excited to be in the company [massive attendance] of like-minded professionals, I was thrilled to speak to my peers about my firm’s ground-breaking progress in ADA accessibility and Wayfinding for transit-oriented developments, as well as report my findings from the Rio 2016 Summer Paralympics.

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The Wall Street Journal: State Street to Start Voting Against Companies That Don’t Have Women Directors

By: Joann S. Lublin and Sarah Krouse

Index-fund giant State Street Global Advisors will begin pushing big companies to put more women on their boards, initially demanding change at those firms without any female directors.

The money manager, which is a unit of State Street Corp., says it will vote against board members charged with nominating new directors if they don’t soon make strides at adding women. Firms won’t have an exact quota to be in compliance with State Street’s mandate, but must prove they attempted to improve a lack of diversity.

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