Why First Woman CEO in the United States Anna Sutherland Bissell was so Successful?

  • Credit goes to Anna Bissell who organized the details of making, assembling, and delivering orders for the sweepers. She was known for her efficiency, after-sales service, general professional conduct, and customer care system which helped in creating a vast market base for the product.
  • Under Anna’s leadership, the Bissell Company became the largest manufacturer of carpet sweepers globally.
  • When a fire struck the first manufacturing plant in 188, Anna sought loans from local banks to keep the business going. Her good name helped and she was successful in securing funding that helped in starting the production again within 20 days of the fire.
  • During her long tenure as president (1889–1919) and chair of the board (1919–1934), Anna Bissell was known for her familiarity with all aspects of the business. Credit goes to Anna who started progressive labour relations policies, including workmen’s compensation insurance and pension plans, long before these practices were widespread in the industry in that period.
  • Anna’s business mind and entrepreneurial abilities turned her to the pinnacle of benchmarking in the carpet sweeper industry. It was once said that she studied business the way other women studied French.
  • Ann also served as a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church board and the Blodgett Children’s Home and Memorial Medical Center. She was active in social clubs focused on women’s empowerment. The Ladies Literary Club, Women’s City Club, Zonta, and the Clark Memorial Home, were all associations with which she worked. Her impact was so much felt in society that she got admission to the National Hardware Men’s Association as the only female member.
  • At the time of Anna’s death, newspaper reports wrote about her as “a business executive without peer, a respected and beloved philanthropist, and a true matriarch in her family.” The tribute was well earned by a lifetime of dedicated work.

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