Janice Bryant Howroyd is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of The ACT-1 Group, the largest woman owned workforce Solutions Company founded in the U.S. She is an entrepreneur, educator, ambassador, businesswoman, author, and mentor.
Howroyd was born on September 1, 1952 in Tarboro, North Carolina – USA, the fourth of eleven children in her family. She attended her town’s integrated High School in the Deep South end, where she had to deal with colour segregation. In a 2016 interview, Howroyd recalls her time enrolled in the school, when a teacher spoke about how blacks were well suited for slavery. She, recounted biting the inside of her jaw to avoid shedding tears, as she believed crying could depict accepting defeat.
Howroyd eventually became one of the first African American students to desegregate her town’s previously segregated high school. Her personal motto, “Never compromise who you are personally to become who you wish to be professionally”
The journey to the top of the business world was not a walk through for Howroyd, as it began during the battles over civil rights at her home town integrated school.
Howroyd moved to Los Angeles, California in 1976, and started her career working as a secretary for her brother-in-law Tom Noonan at Billboard magazine. At Billboard, Tom Noonan introduced her to a different world of business and decision-making in ways she had not been exposed to; Howroyd networked with business executives, celebrities, travelled, and learnt diversity in the workplace. After two year of gathering new experience, and armed with a little over $1000, Howroyd founded The ACT.1 Group.
The ACT.1 Group was launched in 1978, with Tom Noonan as her first client. Though her little beginning kicked off in a small Beverly Hills, California office; today this woman of colour, has successfully turned her company into the largest privately held, woman owned workforce Solutions Company founded in the U.S. The Group also holds a Minority ownership status, and is a multibillion-dollar (USD) award-winning international Talent and Talent Technology enterprise with multiple divisions operating in 19 countries with over 17,000 clients and 2,600 employees worldwide. ACT.1 Group provides employment, workforce management, and procurement solutions to Fortune 500 organizations.
Howroyd has received several recognitions and awards in the course of her career, including a key Presidential appointment by President Barack Obama in May 2016, as a member of the President’s Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
According to the National Association of Women Business Owners, Howroyd is “an individual who has had a significant impact on the well-being of her community and who has had the foresight and generosity to recognize that her success is best savored when she pays it forward.”Through scholarship funding and personal service, she supports universities such as Harvard University, University of Southern California, California State University, San Bernardino and her own alma mater, North Carolina A&T, women’s support organization, Minority serving organizations, and serves as a mentor to others through personal work and media engagements.
Howroyd teaches people to understand that “One cannot effectively lead without passionately serving” and has said that one of the greatest gifts of her business is that it enables her to help others.
She is married to Bernard Howroyd, and they have two children, Katharyn and Brett.