No. 1 in Human Resources

Pursuit of Excellence
7,054.4% Three-Year Growth
Revenue: $10.7 Million
Employees: 200
CEO: Marie Diaz
Founded: 1994
Overall RANK: No. 26

At 19, Marie Diaz was looking at a dismal future. A recent widow, she had dropped out of college and was working three jobs to support her young son. Then a recruiter for Jenny Craig spotted her, and five years later, Diaz was traveling the world as a rising Jenny Craig executive. Three years after that, she had separated from her second husband and realized that her three children were growing up with a mom not around. To reclaim her life, she set up as a coach, teaching leadership and organizational development. Potential clients were skeptical: What did a 27-year-old know about leadership? So she offered them a deal. If they didn't see results, she would return their money. If they liked her work, she wanted a referral. In 1997, Diaz incorporated Pursuit of Excellence and began multiplying services: Coaching begat payroll processing, which begat benefits administration, which begat recruiting, risk management consulting, and more.