Toronto, ON November 8, 2021 – EY announced today that Emilie Cushman, CEO of Kira Talent, the world’s only holistic admissions platform solution designed for higher education, is one of the women founders selected for the EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women™ North America Class of 2021. The program, in its 14th year, identifies ambitious women entrepreneurs who are leading thriving organizations and provides the access, advisors and resources needed to scale their companies to their full potential and ultimately become leading market innovators. Program engagement offers participants executive education and introductions to the vast EY global entrepreneurial ecosystem as well as the Entrepreneurial Winning Women community worldwide.
"Kira Talent was founded with the mission to make higher education admissions more fair, with diversity, equity and inclusion at the forefront of everything we do. Being recognized as one of North America’s Top Women Entrepreneurs by Ernst & Young is a rewarding validation of our unprecedented growth and achievement so far on this journey,” said Emilie Cushman. “I think there are unique and amazing nuances in the way women run businesses. Being able to lean on and learn from this extraordinary group of female founders as Kira Talent enters its most exciting time of growth yet is both humbling and incredibly exciting."
This year’s class of women-led high-growth companies across the US and Canada span a variety of industries, with a particularly strong showing in companies offering sustainable and eco-friendly solutions. The companies are also concentrated on tech-driven solutions across industries ranging from higher education to executive coaching, food and beverage, health and wellness, and more. The judging panel for the Class of 2021 consisted of Beth Ferreira, General Partner at FirstMark Capital; Naomi Whittel, founder of Reservage Nutrition and best-selling author; David Liu, serial entrepreneur and advisor; and Lara O’Connor Hodgson, co-founder and CEO of Now Corp.
“We are proud to welcome another class of driven, strategic and ambitious founders into the EY entrepreneurial ecosystem,” said Maranda Bruckner, Entrepreneurial Winning Women North America Program Lead, Ernst & Young LLP. “We are honored to have the opportunity to foster these entrepreneurs with resources, guidance and community to help them scale their businesses, support their missions and reach their goals.” The Class of 2021 will be officially recognized this week during the EY Strategic Growth Forum®, one of the nation’s most prestigious gatherings of high-growth, market-leading companies.
The North America program targets women business owners who are founding CEOs of any US or Canadian privately held company that is 10 years old or younger. Company revenues typically range from at least $2m to as much as $30m annually.
“It is crucial that we focus on women business owners and encourage female entrepreneurship,” said EY Americas Solutions Leader Cheryl Grise, who also serves as the Entrepreneurial Winning Women North America Executive Sponsor. “The Winning Women program exemplifies how, when systemic barriers are removed, women-led businesses can reach their full potential and spur immediate and long-lasting impact across sectors and the globe. The successes women founders who are part of this community have built individually and with each other are numerous and impressive. We are proud to be part of their journey.”
On an ongoing basis, Entrepreneurial Winning Women take part in additional workshops, conferences and training sessions. They become part of the EY global community of more than 800 Entrepreneurial Winning Women in 49 countries and on every continent, forging connections with our vast community of EY Entrepreneur Of The Year™ alumni throughout the world. In a recent survey, when asked about the program’s impact on their success, 80% of Winning Women said it had a positive impact on their confidence and leadership to grow their businesses. Meanwhile, 66% said the program helped them grow and lead their team, and over half indicated the program impacted their willingness to take risks to scale their business.
“For more than 35 years, EY has been associated with great entrepreneurs worldwide,” said Lee Henderson, Americas EY Private Leader. “It is a privilege to be a part of these entrepreneurs’ business journeys. We believe opportunity available to any entrepreneur should be available to every entrepreneur, and the Entrepreneurial Winning Women program helps support our goal of closing the gender gap in entrepreneurship.”
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About Kira Talent
Kira Talent is the world’s only holistic admissions solution designed for higher education. Founded in 2012, Kira transforms the admissions process by combining on-demand, timed video and timed written assessments, and structured live interview technology with existing admissions requirements. Kira is trusted by more than 750 programs worldwide and over 1 million applicants have completed a Kira assessment, with an average satisfaction rating of 4.6/5. Visit kiratalent.com
EY exists to build a better working world, helping create long-term value for clients, people and society and build trust in the capital markets. Enabled by data and technology, diverse EY teams in over 150 countries provide trust through assurance and help clients grow, transform and operate. Working across assurance, consulting, law, strategy, tax and transactions, EY teams ask better questions to find new answers for the complex issues facing our world today.
EY refers to the global organization, and may refer to one or more, of the member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity. Ernst & Young Global Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, does not provide services to clients. Information about how EY collects and uses personal data and a description of the rights individuals have under data protection legislation are available via ey.com/privacy. EY member firms do not practice law where prohibited by local laws. For more information about our organization, please visit ey.com.
Ernst & Young LLP is a client-serving member firm of Ernst & Young Global Limited operating in the US.
About EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women™
The EY organization is committed to seeing women lead. EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women™ is a global program for successful women entrepreneurs whose businesses show more potential to scale. Through access to EY professionals and global EY networks throughout the entrepreneurial ecosystem, pioneering women founders on every continent secure the resources, advice, operational know-how, contacts and community they need to unleash their ambitions, expand their companies to full potential and become the role models they never had. ey.com/winningwomen
About EY Private
As Advisors to the ambitious™, EY Private professionals possess the experience and passion to support private businesses and their owners in unlocking the full potential of their ambitions. EY Private teams offer distinct insights born from the long EY history of working with business owners and entrepreneurs. These teams support the full spectrum of private enterprises including private capital managers and investors and the portfolio businesses they fund, business owners, family businesses, family offices and entrepreneurs. Visit ey.com/private