Women on the Rise

Pay It Forward

In 1979, Patty DeDominic began her entrepreneurial journey with PDQ Personnel Services Inc. As founder of a temporary staffing business in Los Angeles, DeDominic realized her calling was connecting employers and people who wanted to make career changes. "I was lucky to learn early on that one of my gifts was an empathy with people and employers," says DeDominic, 55. Now, 28 years later, it is her mission to inspire all entrepreneurs to achieve success.

That's why DeDominic provided a $1 million challenge grant to the National Association of Women Business Owners' Los Angeles chapter and its Enterprise Institute in 2006. President emeritus of NAWBO-LA and a member of the organization since 1982, DeDominic remembers the camaraderie and community she experienced there in the early days of her business. "It was my chance to work with peers and women who had similar aspirations about growing their businesses," she says, "[women who] didn't have a lot of capitalization and were looking for ways to implement innovation without a huge budget."

Now head of the PDQ family of companies, including PDQ Temps, PDQ Careers, CT Engineering, and succession planning and consulting firm DeDominic & Associates, DeDominic cites consolidated sales in excess of $25 million annually.--Nichole L. Torres

Status Check
Winning OPEN from American Express and Entrepreneur's Woman of the Year Contest is just one milestone of many for past recipients. Here's an update on our 2004 and 2005 honorees.

2004 winner Liz Elting, co-founder of TransPerfect Translations Inc., has seen sales at her New York City global language and business services company skyrocket from $35 million when she won to $107 million in 2006. She's acquired a few companies and added several international and domestic locations along the way. Elting, 40, has also added other services under the TransPerfect banner, such as Staffing, Transcriptions, and Diversity and Inclusion, a consulting practice that helps companies with diversity training. "It's been very exciting," says Elting. "We have a lot of amazing people that are making it happen for us."

2005 winner Jill Belasco of Latitudes International, a private-label designer and manufacturer of fragrance products such as candles and room sprays, has seen her Rancho Dominguez, California, company's sales grow from $12 million in 2005 to $17.5 million in 2006. From securing new customers to adding staff and machinery to expanding manufacturing capabilities in the home fragrance categories, Belasco, 50, says this is the best year her company has ever had. Thanks to greater cash flow, she's considering acquisitions to grow the company even more by 2008. Belasco says, "We're having a banner year."--Nichole L. Torres

Opening the Door
Women are starting businesses at extraordinary rates--and OPEN, the small-business team at American Express, has answered their need for specialized services. From co-sponsoring the Make Mine a $Million program with Count Me In, which aims to help 1 million women entrepreneurs get to $1 million in sales by 2010, to continued participation in organizations like the National Association of Women Business Owners, OPEN has an ongoing commitment to women-owned businesses, says Marcella Schinder, vice president of brand marketing and strategy at OPEN.

OPEN will hold a number of events with guest speakers to help entrepreneurs learn about business issues such as marketing and brand building. Last year's speakers included Kate and Andy Spade, Bobbi Brown and Liz Lange. "We heard from women how important it was for them to have an opportunity to network [with] each other," says Schinder. The demand for the events has even inspired OPEN to offer webcasts so nonlocals can participate--more than 6,000 people dialed in to the first webcast.

Up next for OPEN's Make Mine a $Million: more local and state-level grass-roots work with women. "As we build this program, we're finding [that] the women who are involved in it [and] the women who've won want to find ways to help other women," says Schinder. "So it really becomes viral." See for yourself at www.open.americanexpress.com/women. --Nichole L. Torres

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This article was originally published in the January 2007 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Women on the Rise.

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