Jane Plitt

Celebrating Martha Matilda Harper, the Inventor of the Franchise System, with Jane Plitt

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.

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 Rochester Beacon. 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. She has authored many articles and internationally lectured on creative marketing, economic development, entrepreneurship, and women’s rights issues before corporate, community, and Fortune 500 groups.

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. 

Contact Us

Website:  marthamatildaharper.org
Twitter: @Plittest
Facebook: Facebook.com/Martha-Matilda-Harper-198709433517263
Books: Martha Matilda Harper and the American Dream 
Martha’s Magical Hair (for the very young through 9 years old)
Martha the Hairpreneur (for young adults and easy read for adults)