Ann-Marie Harrington

ja8ec31wom.jpgLeader of our June 4, 2008 cafe, Ann-Marie Harrington, was a social worker at Rhode Island Kids Count in 1994 when she had the idea to create a web page for the nonprofit. Harrington saw the Internet as a means of getting a message out in a cost-effective way. In the three months it took to complete the site, Harrington developed the idea for a business that nine years later would be creating websites for some of New England's biggest businesses, community foundations and nonprofits.  

"I wanted to fill a hole I saw for nonprofits looking for superior websites at a fair price," Harrington says. "I became a social worker because I have always had a passion for justice and fairness. I wanted to build a business that could reflect these values on all levels."

Embolden claims more than 100 clients, including Bank Rhode Island, MetLife, Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island, The Rhode Island Foundation, Mystic Aquarium, and Brown and Yale universities, and last year it passed the million-dollar mark in revenues.

icon As Featured in Monthly RI: Room at the Top,2008 (128.94 kB)

Harrington, who attended Bryant University on a basketball scholarship, talks about her management style in sports vernacular. "When you talk about managing people, it's not about me being the boss of them," she says.
"I can be a coach and I can have my team. On a team you learn how to win, how to lose, how to work hard. You learn how to lead and to motivate others. You learn a lot about being fair."

Harrington’s decision-making process is equal parts education and intuition. She is diligent about keeping on top of market trends, but she’s attuned to that internal barometer, too.

“I have a good gut. It rarely fails me,” she says. “A firm set of business beliefs and principles guide my business decisions. Education, longevity and experience are invaluable. But my most valuable personal asset is my intuition. My instincts play
a major role in almost every decision I make.”

Privately held companies like Embolden are not required to disclose information about salaries or profits to the public or to their own employees. Harrington does, though. 

“We have a consensus decision-making process here at Embolden,” Harrington continues.  “All employees see budgets. All know revenues. Everyone here really knows what’s going on.”

Harrington believes in sharing credit with her staff, too. “To me, business is really about people. We build really great web applications because we have people who are really good at what they do,” the business woman continues.

“I couldn’t do all this myself.”


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