Florida businesses flourish with women at the helm.

Women-led businesses make a substantial contribution to the economy of the state according to a recently released study titled Florida’s Women-Led Businesses, 2007. Conducted by the College of Business Administration, the Center for Leadership, and the Metropolitan Center—all part of Florida International University—along with The Commonwealth Institute South Florida, the survey included responses from 127  women-led businesses with a combined state economic impact of more than $1.8 billion and a combined payroll of about 40,000 employees.  The respondents held one of the following titles:  president, CEO, chair of the board, and/or primary owner of a for-profit, Florida-based organization.


Women among Florida’s Top 50 at Women-Led Businesses Luncheon on July 13, 2007.

Research builds on work that culminated in the initial report.

“This year’s survey reaffirms what we learned in our report last June about the breadth and impact of women-led businesses on our state,” said Joyce J. Elam, executive dean of the college and co-director of the Center for Leadership.

Among the findings about the state’s women leaders:

  • eighty-six percent are the first to hold the top position in their organizations
  • fifty-four percent have more than twenty years of experience in their industry
  • more than 61 percent are satisfied with the amount of time they spend on personal affairs and work, a 10-percent increase from last year’s results
  • nearly 65 percent have children and have taken time off at some time to care for them
  • almost 48 percent expect revenue growth of more than 5 percent over the next two years
  • about 32 percent expect growth between 1 and 2 percent during that time

More than an update, report adds new areas of exploration.

In addition to the results of the survey,—the report includes a list titled “Top 50 Women-Led For-Profit Organizations in Florida.” This year’s effort also captured extensive data on the demographics of women to better understand the context in which they lead and work.

Significantly, the 2007 version includes an analysis of the women’s leadership skills, based not on revenues but rather on their answers to two well-established leadership questionnaires. The first, the Multifactor Leadership Questionnaire (MLQ), was designed to distinguish among three types of leadership behaviors—transformational, transactional, and passive/avoidant.


“Most of the women answering the questions embodied transformational leadership qualities to a very high degree.”

Joyce J. Elam, executive dean, College of Business Administration; co-director, Center for Leadership


“Transformational leadership includes having charisma, being an inspirational motivator, providing intellectual stimulation to employees, and connecting to them as individuals,” Elam said. “Most of the women answering the questions embodied transformational leadership qualities to a very high degree.”


Joyce J. Elam

The second, the Psychological Capital index (PsyCap), looks at four leadership qualities that relate to performance: confidence, hope, optimism, and resiliency.

“On a six-point scale, the women scored above five on all the measures with confidence the highest,” she said. “Therefore, the women we surveyed show very positive leadership qualities based on both questionnaires.”

An awards ceremony took place on June 13, 2007, at Parrot Jungle Island during which Elam shared key findings from the study and handed out certificates to those leaders among the top fifty who were able to attend.

To read the report, visit www.lead.fiu.edu.

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