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School-Led Study Finds Women Business Leaders in Florida Anticipate Higher 2011 Revenue Growth as they Gain More Customers and Hire More Employees

May 11, 2011
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Women Leaders


Florida’s women business leaders expect 2011 revenue growth to exceed what they have seen during each of the past two years. That is among the key findings of a statewide study released May 11 by the School of Business Administration and The Commonwealth Institute South Florida (TCI). The findings, based on a survey of 150 women who hold the position of president, chief executive officer, board chair and/or owner of a for-profit or not-for-profit organization, also reveal that these organizations will invest most heavily in acquiring more customers and hiring more employees.

Nearly half of the women leaders surveyed by the Johnson A. Edosomwan Leadership Institute at the School of Business expect a revenue increase of 10 percent or more, with another 20 percent anticipating an increase of 1 to 10 percent. Although 43 percent reported a revenue decline during the past two years, only a fraction forecast a decline for 2011. Women were also asked to rate the areas they would emphasize the most during the year. Acquiring new customers was rated the highest on the 7-point scale, with an average of nearly 7. Hiring more permanent employees was the second-highest rated, with an average rating of nearly 5, followed by hiring more temporary or contract employees with a rating of just over 4.

“The results of the survey show that businesses and other organizations led by women in Florida are healthy and poised for growth,” said Arun Sharma, director of the School’s Johnson A. Edosomwan Leadership Institute and a professor of marketing. “Clearly these leaders feel their organizations have turned the corner after two years of economic difficulties and they are very optimistic about the future.”

Another finding of note reveals the importance of mentoring among women business leaders. Of those surveyed, 62 percent reported that they had been mentored and are mentoring other executives.

“This is a significant finding given that The Commonwealth Institute (TCI) exists to provide mentoring to women entrepreneurs.  TCI’s core product, our CEO Forums provide a safe and confidential place to share ideas, give and receive advice and create a network of women leaders. Our members believe that mentoring is key to developing greater potential in all women. The advice and lessons learned that we share with one another builds bonds and helps to advance talented women’s careers,” says Jodi Cross, executive director for TCI South Florida.

Among the other key findings:

  • Organizations plan to introduce more products and services in 2011 compared to the previous year.
  • Business issues that concern Florida’s women leaders the most are health care costs and political uncertainty.
  • Organizations led by women in Florida derive 13 percent of their revenues from online sales, on average, and they expect the percentage to increase.
  • Internet, email and social media are increasingly regarded as being more important that traditional media of newspaper, TV and radio.

The survey findings were used by the Leadership Institute to compile a ranking of the top 50 women-led for-profit organizations in Florida, as well as a ranking of the top 10 women-led not-for-profit organizations. The listing will be released along with the full report at a luncheon on May 17 in Miami, where the state’s top women leaders will also be honored. The research was sponsored by PNC Bank.


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