Speeding to success: Columbus women lead fast growth companies

As one of the fastest growing Midwestern cities, Columbus has a proud tradition of developing small and midsized enterprises into high-growth businesses, says Marsha Firestone, Ph.D., president and founder of the Women Presidents’ Organization.

And dynamic women whose companies have contributed significantly to the economy have started many of these.

The 50 Fastest-Growing Women-Owned/Led Companies in America, ranked each year by the Women Presidents’ Organization, exemplifies the vital role women have played in boosting the economy and enhancing overall job growth, Firestone says.

The 50 Fastest this year, sponsored by American Express Global Corporate Payments, generated a combined $4.4 billion in revenues in 2014 and collectively employed 31,121 people, she says.

Companies were ranked according to a sales growth formula that combines percentage and absolute growth. Businesses are required to be privately held, women-owned/led companies and have reached revenue of at least $500,000 by the first week of 2010 and $2 million in 2014.

Here are some tips for fast growth from recent Columbus winners:


col_cs_CindyMonroeCindy Monroe, Thirty-One Gifts

(No. 1, 2014)

A direct seller of exclusive, stylish and functional purses, totes, fashion accessories and organizing solutions, Thirty-One Gifts was the No. 1 fastest growing woman-led/owned company in 2014.

Cindy Monroe saw her company’s revenues grow exponentially in four years, from $38 million in 2009 to $760 million in 2013. She grew organically and focused on her most important customers — her direct sales consultants and event hostesses.

“Being purposeful, curious, hardworking and flexible are traits that have helped me be a successful entrepreneur in a fast growing business. I have also had to chase after knowledge and wisdom to become the leader I strive to be,” Monroe says.


col_ftr_wpo_TeresaSheraldTeresa Sherald, Diversity Search Group

(No. 29, 2014)

The biggest breakthrough for Teresa Sherald was changing her business model to include temporary staffing when there was a downturn in the economy in 2005. Additional fast growth occurred when Diversity Search Group was awarded two five-year contracts through a competitive bidding process.

“I attribute my success to my work ethic. The single strategy that accounts for my success in business growth is the development of a proprietary business development/concept evaluation tool and toolkit,” she says.


col_sw_KaraTrottKara Trott, Quantum Health

(No. 45, 2015)

In four years, Quantum Health grew from $9.8 million to $33.6 million. A leader in care coordination and consumer navigation, the company has consistently exceeded 35 percent growth annually.

When the company was built the intention was to sustain a fast growth trajectory. Even at its current size, it is still expected to grow at a pace exceeding 35 percent.

Kara Trott’s tip for growth is to create a culture that truly takes care of its people. Employees will deliver a tenfold return on that investment with their dedication and commitment to customer service.


Columbus women are growing very substantial businesses, Firestone says. They are full scale, successful and deserve recognition for achieving explosive growth in almost every industry and for their contributions to the city’s tax base.