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Inside a Women-led company

Step inside a women-led company and you will see a very different corporate culture than a male-led firm. One of the big differences is that women emphasize mentoring. Sandi Finn, CEO of Cross Country Home Services , one of the highest revenue women-led businesses in the state, told me she just hired someone to head up Ecommerce and plans to take her new manager to lunch regularly to mentor her.

A new survey by The Commonwealth Insitute South Florida and UM School of Business reports 62% of women mentor or have been mentored…“This is a significant finding," says Jodi Cross, executive director for TCI South Florida.  She says TCI’s members believe that mentoring is key to developing greater potential in all women.

Here's a look at my article that gives a glimpse into just how women are leading their companies to success:


Women's leadership stands out

By Cindy Krischer Goodman


 (Pictured above: Sandi Finn of Cross Country Home Services shares a laugh with Keisha Davis a mentor in the appropriations department.)

Each week, President Sandi Finn convenes the top managers at her home services company for a lunch meeting. The agenda: small talk. The rules: No business discussions allowed.

Finn steers the personal banter to a great new movie or asks about the outcome of a little league playoff game. “I think it’s important the executive team work well together and to do that they need to trust each other,” she says. “That means knowing each other.”

Step inside Florida’s big high-revenue businesses-led women and you will find optimism. You also will find companies that operate much differently from traditional male-led business. Female leaders, like Finn, have keyed in on the crucial value of communication. They know how to probe customers to unlock sales opportunities, how to communicate with employees to build buy-in, and how to promote the right amount of risk-taking.

They have weathered the recession and plan to grow by adding new customers, staff and products. Their sales forecasts are 10 percent or more, compared with single-digit projections by male-led businesses, according to a new survey by The Commonwealth Institute South Florida and the University of Miami School of Business Administration.

“Looking back, there was not much difference in their level of optimism. Looking forward there’s a big difference,” says Arun Sharma, professor of marketing at the UM School of Business and executive director of the Johnson A. Edosomwan Leadership Institute.

At Finn’s Cross Country Home Services in Sunrise, sales are on target to rise again by double-digits this year and she is hiring too. Finn has been at the helm of the national provider of home warranty, service contracts and assistance programs for 12 years. Her staff of 600 absolutely loves her message: Talk to the customer and give them the products they want.

Throughout the corporate office in Sunrise, small groups gather in impromptu meetings to brainstorm. Finn has tasked her senior managers with coming up with a plan for where the company should be in three years. “We have a tremendous number of projects going on,” Finn says. “My role is about coordination and communication, empowering the right people to do the right things.”

 To read more on how women lead their companies to success, click here.