CHICAGO, Sept. 24, 2003 — Winning Workplaces and FSB: FORTUNE Small Business present their first annual survey of the Best Bosses — managers who have created innovative and productive workplaces, able to adapt and thrive in an era of economic insecurity, layoffs and overwork. The leaders selected in the collaboration of Winning Workplaces and FSB are diverse in gender, geography, and market sector. But, in common, they all have created dynamic corporate cultures that can stand up to anything this unstable economy throws at them.

The survey of the “Best Bosses” appears in the October 2003 issue of FSB, the leading magazine covering the owners of small businesses, on newsstands October 3rd. It is available on the web site of Winning Workplaces, the Evanston-based not-for-profit assisting small and midsize businesses create great workplaces, at, and at on Wednesday, September 24th.

The leaders recognized by FSB and Winning Workplaces include:

Gary Erickson, the founder and CEO of Berkeley, Calif.-based energy-bar producer Clif Bar — who is working to reduce his company’s ecological footprint on the planet;

Eileen Fisher, the founder and CEO of the New York-based apparel company that bears her name;

Michael P. Mulqueen, a former marine corps Brigadier General, who runs the Greater Chicago Food Depository;

Rosemary Jordano, founder of Boston-based ChildrenFirst, the country’s leading provider of corporate-sponsored backup child-care coverage; and

Celeste Ford, CEO of Stellar Solutions, an aerospace engineering services firm in Palo Alto, Calif. that does contract work for government agencies.

Bruce Woolpert, CEO of Watsonville, Calif.-based Graniterock, a supplier of construction materials such as rock, gravel, and sand. Woolpert discusses how Graniterock sets the standard for the Best Bosses.

Beginning in the fall of 2002, Winning Workplaces and FSB gathered nominations from dozens of companies’ employees and consultants. Formal applications encouraged organizations to discuss such issues as employees’ on-the-job tenure and turnover, as well as management participation and other leadership practices. A team of Winning Workplaces board members and FSB editors narrowed the field. Random interviews with employees were also conducted during this process.

“All of the leaders hold an absolute set of core values,” says Kenneth Lehman, founder and chairman of Winning Workplaces. “But, the leaders also show that a great workplace can be tailored to the specific styles, personalities, and needs of each business.”

“We looked for managers who find novel ways to demonstrate how deeply they value their employees,” says Ellyn Spragins, Editor-at-Large for FORTUNE Small Business. “This results in a stable workforce that can create a cascade of benefits—higher profits, greater trust and improved teamwork.”

FSB and Winning Workplaces are collecting nominations for the 2004 Best Bosses issue. Companies can send an e-mail to [email protected], Applications will be mailed in the spring of 2004.

About Winning Workplaces

Winning Workplaces provides information, training, ideas, consulting, and easy-to-use, affordable tools to help small and midsize organizations create great workplaces through better people practices. Winning Workplaces offers a range of services and products that are modestly priced to help an organization become a great workplace that is “better for people, better for business.”


About FORTUNE Small Business

FSB: FORTUNE Small Business is a general interest business magazine published ten times a year as a joint venture by The FORTUNE Group at Time Inc. and American Express Small Business Services. Each issue provides hard-hitting, informative coverage of the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. economy — small business. FSB is delivered to 1 million small business owners and is also available on newsstands at major airports and bookstores nationwide. Time Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of AOL Time Warner.