Westchester County's Most Accomplished Women Entrepreneurs
Meet 28 of the county's most successful, move innovative, most respected business women.
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Servers and Service
Tara Meenan Lansen
Founder, President and CEO, Compufit, Inc.
If women are underrepresented in business, then they’re sorely underrepresented in the technology business. And women who are trained as nurses but running a successful technology business? There may not be any one besides Tara Meenan Lansen.
Meenan Lansen, 53, of Armonk is the president, CEO, and founder of Compufit, Inc., a 16-person information technology corporation based in White Plains. In addition to consulting, the company offers clients remote-managed services, project management, outsourced CIO service; network design, installation, and maintenance; and security solutions.
Meenan Lansen wasn’t always a tech maven, though. Growing up in the Bronx, she earned her BS in nursing from the College of Mount Saint Vincent when she was just 21. She’d always
wanted to found her own business, but “my dad was a bus driver, my mom was a homemaker,” says Meenan Lansen, so she worked as an emergency room nurse and in nursing management until the mid-‘90s.
By 1995, however, Meenan Lansen was looking for her next career. “I knew the Internet was going to take off, and I knew if I could figure out a way to get involved, my business would be a success.” She gathered her savings and got investments from other family members to open Compufit, deciding to do almost everything technology consumers could want. Her company sold, designed, and manufactured computers; sold software and trained people in using it; and even did a bit of consulting with businesses.
She had always been strong in math and science, but decided to focus on marketing, sales, and business development. The firm opened a storefront in Chappaqua, and Meenan Lansen put all her efforts behind it, taking business courses, including one at Westchester Community College, but forgoing an MBA so she could stay open seven days a week and work late a couple of nights. She also started consuming a bookcase full of business books in her spare time and networked to find other business experts and the most knowledgeable tech engineers, whom she hoped would give her clients the best service possible. “I hired people who knew how to build computers, and I taught them the business side,” she says.
Within a few years, it became clear to Meenan Lansen that the actual assembly and customization of hardware would become centralized in a few big companies like Dell. Yet Compufit could grow, she reasoned, with the business consulting that the machine would continue to require.
“The real profitability was in dealing with business,” says Meenan Lansen, who moved the company to a corporate space in Pleasantville in 1997 and then to White Plains last year. Compufit has grown 15 of its 16 years in existence and currently serves 200 clients, with a 98 percent client-retention rate. Her multi-million-dollar company is already on target to grow 30 percent this year, and—despite the economy—she’s brought on four new employees since the beginning of the financial crisis to accommodate her clients’ rapidly growing need to outsource.
Meenan Lansen notes that, although there aren’t many other women in the field, that fact “doesn’t slacken my ambition and drive, my search for excellence.” Knowing your limitations “and then surrounding yourself with good people is crucial,” she says, but it’s also important to “never underestimate yourself.”
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