Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
University of Rochester -Visiting Scholar
Website URL
women's history, immigrant entrepreneurs, women and business, women's leadership, using business for social change, social entrepreneurship, women and franchising, business innovation,
Additional Contact Information
Am available by cell 941-524 4379

Personal Info

About Me

Jane Plitt ran a thriving business consulting practice until she became enthralled with the Martha Matilda Harper story.  In 1996, she was appointed a Visiting Scholar to the University of Rochester to pursue her research; the result was a book entitled Martha Matilda Harper and the American Dream: How One Woman Changed the Face of Modern Business.  It was released May 2000 by Syracuse University Press. As a result of Plitt’s efforts, Harper was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame along with the American Business Hall of Fame.  In 2017, Plitt released a young children’s book entitled, Martha’s Magical Hair published by Jade Publishing.  In 2018, Plitt co-wrote a young adult version of the Harper story, Martha the Hairpreneur, with Sally Valentine. In 2019, a paperback version of the Harper biography was released.  Further details at


Addressing world influencers,  business leaders and their staffs, women’s, community and youth groups, Plitt ignites audiences with her practical, impassioned style.  She has spoken internationally on topics including immigrant entrepreneurship, daring to succeed, forgotten women’s achievements, using business for social change, and the business lessons of Martha Matilda Harper.  She also engages children at book readings and schools.


Selected in 1987 as Rochester’s Small Businessperson of the Year, Plitt also served as the area’s 1986 delegate to the White House Conference on Small Business.  That same year, she was chosen by SAVVY magazine as one of 14 Outstanding Women in New York State.  In 1993, she was designated the area’s Small Business Advocate by the US Small Business Administration.


Plitt’s writings have appeared in many publications including the Chicago Sun Times, Wall Street Journal, and one was the cover story of Franchising World.  She has written columns for the Bradenton Herald and the Sarasota Herald, along with the History News Network, Sept. 2019) Rochester Beacon (June 2019).   In 1989, Plitt authored the chapter “It’s Harder for Women” in STARTUP.    For many years, she was a business columnist in the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle.


A 1969 graduate of Cornell University’s School of Industrial & Labor Relations, Plitt was directly hired as Rochester Telephone’s staff assistant in labor relations and was the company’s first female management trainee.   Promoted to several managerial positions, Plitt left in 1973 to become the Executive Director of the National Organization for Women.  Thereafter, she joined the consulting firm of Cresap, McCormick and Paget before returning to Rochester, New York.  In 1979, she founded JP ASSOCIATES, a business  consulting firm.  Ms. Plitt also worked as a labor arbitrator.


In Florida, Plitt has served on Realize Bradenton’s board, headed its strategic plan for downtown,  served as Vice President of the Manatee Chapter of the League of Women Voters as well as President of the Manatee County Library Foundation. Under Plitt’s leadership, the Library Foundation generated over $400,000 to serve the county library system and funded a two-year literacy outreach program.   She recruited Stephen King and John Grisham as keynote speakers!  Plitt is recognized in Who’s Who in the United States and the World.   In 2018, she was recognized with her husband for the Spirit of Manatee Leadership award given by the Manatee Community Foundation and was recognized for being a Women of Achievement by the AAUW – Bradenton Chapter.   In 2017, she received the Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award, along with many other accolades throughout her life.

Recent Publications

Aug. 26, 2019, Sarasota Herald -Before cheering Women’s Vote, Let’s bring About Equality

Sept. 9, 2019 History News Network


Martha Matilda Harper and the American Dream:  How One woman Changed the Face of Modern Business


Martha the Hairpreneur -co-written with Sally Valentine


Martha’s Magical Hair


Media Coverage
FOX News, News10NBC Coverage 6/5/19 Good Day Rochester FOX 6/17/19
Country Focus
United States
Expertise by Geography
United States
Expertise by Chronology
19th century, Early Modern, Modern, 21st century
Expertise by Topic
Capitalism, Economic History, Gender, Human Rights, Indigenous Peoples, Labor, Local & Regional, Migration & Immigration, Women