You don't become the first African-American woman to own a billion-dollar company overnight. The journey of ACT-1 Group founder and CEO Janice Bryant Howroyd began during the battles over civil rights.
When Howroyd enrolled in an integrated school in the Deep South, she said, her teacher spoke about how blacks were well suited for slavery. Howroyd, 63, recounts forcefully biting the inside of her jaw in reaction so as to not shed a tear, for crying could seem like accepting defeat.
The memory of this moment inspired Howroyd to persevere and never accept failure when building her own firm.