Ladies In Charge
Position: President & Chief Operating Officer
Industry: Venture Capital & Private Equity
Country: United States
Adriane M. Brown is president and chief operating officer Intellectual Ventures, which focuses on funding the creation of new inventions and introducing new models for monetizing invention as a stand-alone asset. Brown is responsible for the day-to-day operations and will lead and manage a growing and dynamic organization of more than 650 employees worldwide. Brown will execute the company strategy set forth by the firm’s team of four co-founders.
Before joining IV, her most recent leadership position was senior vice president of energy strategy at Honeywell International. Before assuming that role, she was president and CEO of Honeywell Transportation Systems, a position she was appointed to in January 2005. Headquartered in Torrance, California, Honeywell Transportation Systems has annual revenue of $5 billion and consists of Honeywell Turbo Technologies and Honeywell Consumer Products Group.
Brown most recently served as Vice President and General Manager of Honeywell Engine Systems & Accessories. She joined Honeywell in 1999 as Vice President and General Manager of Aircraft Landing Systems. Prior to that, she was Vice President and General Manager of the Environmental Products Division for Corning Inc. During the last five of her 19 years at Corning, she managed its Automotive Products business.Brown earned her Bachelor's degree in Environmental Health from Old Dominion University and Master’s degree in Management, as a Sloan Fellow, from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
In 2009, Ms. Brown was named one of Black Enterprise Magazine’s 100 Most Powerful Executives in Corporate America. In 2006, she was named one of Fortune Magazine’s Women to Watch and in 2005, Automotive News featured her in its list of the 100 leading women in the North American automotive industry.
Ms. Brown holds a Doctorate Degree in Humane Letters from Old Dominion University, a Master’s Degree in Management from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she was a Sloan Fellow, and earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Environmental Health from Old Dominion University.
Ms. Brown currently serves on the board of directors of Jobs for America’s Graduates, the nation’s leading drop-out prevention program and is a member of the Executive Leadership Council. She lives in the Puget Sound area with her husband and daughter. Ms. Brown is a respected public speaker, is recognized for mentoring women and girls from all walks of life, and for developing leaders and emerging talent.
Company: Voluptuous Clothing
Industry: Fashion, Retail
Angela Samuels is the Founder and CEO of the Toronto based retail chain Voluptuous Clothing, a store that caters to women sizes 14 to 24. The first Voluptuous was opened at North York Sheridan Mall in May 2001, followed by Dufferin Mall in May 2002, Scarborough Town Centre in June 2003 and the Vaughan Mills was launched on November 4, 2004.
Growing up as a minority and one of six children in the rough Toronto neighbourhood of Jane and Finch, Samuels felt acutely unsure about her chances of succeeding in life. But as a young woman, the drive to survive which had served her growing up kicked in. She would eventually use what she learned from her childhood challenges to improve both her life and the lives of many others.
Angela work as a plus-sized model for three years doing runway shows for designers such as Brian Bailey as well as catalogue and flyer work for stores such as Sears, Wal-Mart and Zellers.She then pursued her studies in the Child and Youth Care Worker program first at Centennial College and then George Brown College. Working with young offenders, Angela observed how, with women, much of their low self-esteem was tied to their appearance. If they couldn’t find ways to look good, she reasoned, then how could they feel better about themselves?
"I saw a lot of younger girls who were bigger and I realized that they grow up thinking they're different than everyone else, that they’re not a part of society because they're not a size three," Samuels says. "I thought that if I could empower them with the self-esteem they need, maybe they would look at life differently and have a better chance to become successful."
She said she chose the name Voluptuous for her company because, "I wanted something that said "positive," and something that said "sexy." And I figured, okay, there's a word for small, which is "petite." And it sounds proper. It sounds nice. And I thought, there has got to be some other word for "full-figured," "big." There’s got to be some other word. And I searched, and we came up with "voluptuous." It said all the things we wanted to say; furthermore, it implied that we are sexy. And that was important to me. And that became the name.
Voluptuous had sales of over $5 millions in 2004 and plans to expand across Canada over the next few years. Voluptuous will open a new store in a trendy upscale Mississauga shopping mall with an expected spring 2005 grand opening. Plans are also in the works for a location in Montreal later this year and the West Edmonton Mall in 2006.