Janice-Bryant-Howroyd

Move over, Oprah. Another black female billionaire has joined your ranks.

Janice Bryant Howroyd, the owner of Act1, an international talent firm, has just become the first African American woman to own a billion-dollar company. Oprah’s combined assets, business ventures and holdings totaled over a billion dollars, but Howroyd is the first to own a single entity that is worth that amount.

“I never imaged this (level of success), but I’ve always imagined success,” the founder and CEO told TODAY. “You see the evolution in technology, you see the transparency that the world offers, but the fundamental things that we built the business from have stayed the same, and I really think that’s more the secret to the success.”

When Howroyd left her North Carolina hometown nearly 40 years ago, she had less than a thousand dollars to her name but an unbreakable resolve and desire to found a business that helps others find employment.

Forty years later, Howroyd’s company is now the largest female minority-owned employment agency in the country with offices in 75 cities and “works on a global scale.”

Howroyd explained that drive and confidence were ultimately what led to her success. “I didn’t have a lot of what people typically have to start a business but I did have a lot of intelligence,” Howroyd told Forbes magazine. “Sometimes when you don’t have anything, you can be bolder than someone who has something and is afraid to lose it.”

Howroyd shared her four main keys to success.

1. Make sure you’re prepared.

2. Understand what the goal is.

3. Understand that all of those around, particularly family, are part of that success.

4. Always find a moment of gratitude and be grateful along the journey.

She said while she’s happy there are more than nine million businesses owned by women, she said she would not call the current business climate “sunny.”

Click here to view the interview with Today in its entirety.

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