Updated April 25 at 4:56pm

Hope Global CEO named N.E. Businesswoman of the Year

Cheryl Merchant, president and CEO of textiles manufacturer Hope Global, will receive the 2014 New England Businesswoman of the Year award at Bryant University’s annual Women’s Summit on March 14. The award recognizes excellence in a female founder, president or CEO of a New England-based multimillion-dollar business. More

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Hope Global CEO named N.E. Businesswoman of the Year

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(Updated, March 6, 9:35 a.m.)

SMITHFIELD – Cheryl Merchant, president and CEO of textiles manufacturer Hope Global, will receive the 2014 New England Businesswoman of the Year award at Bryant University’s annual Women’s Summit on March 14.

The award recognizes excellence in a female founder, president or CEO of a New England-based multimillion-dollar business. The award recipient – or her institution – must also be engaged in service projects that improve the lives of others.

Under Merchant’s leadership, Hope Global has nearly tripled its revenue and expanded its operations overseas. Last year, Providence Business News named the 130-year-old company one of Rhode Island’s fastest-growing companies, after Hope Global’s revenue climbed to $62 million in 2012 from $48 million in 2010.

“I’m honored to be selected by the Bryant University Women’s Summit as the 2014 New England Businesswoman of the Year,” said Merchant. “Throughout my career I have worked to create opportunities, for myself and for the organizations I’ve been associated with, and I hope this recognition will allow women throughout New England to see how they can do the same.”

Prior to joining Cumberland-based Hope Global in 1999, Merchant ran a 3,500-employee plant in Mexico for Lear Corp. Throughout her nearly 30-year career, she has held senior positions at General Motors, Mazda, Ford Motor Co., and Lear Corp., managing manufacturing plants around the world.

Merchant has served on the R.I. Economic Development Corporation (now the R.I. Commerce Corporation) and the Governor’s Workforce Board, and is also a trustee of the Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council and Bryant University. She is a member of the Northern Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce and the Rhode Island Commodores.

Merchant holds a bachelor’s degree in business management from Alma College in Michigan and an honorary Ph.D. in business administration from Bryant University.

“We are delighted to present this award to Cheryl, who has successfully steered Hope Global to becoming a major mid-market company in textile solutions,” said Kati Machtley, director of the Women’s Summit. “She is an inspiring and highly effective female CEO who has transformed a business’ fortune, and a role model for all women in the workforce today.”

More than 1,000 are expected to attend the sold-out Women’s Summit, to be held March 14 at Bryant University. This year’s summit – centered on the theme of “Be the CEO of Your Life” – will feature keynote speakers Viola Davis, two-time Tony Award-winning actress and Oscar nominee; Carley Roney, co-founder of wedding planning website The Knot; and Carey Lohrenz, the first woman F-10 Tomcat fighter pilot in U.S. Navy history.

For information on the Women’s Summit, visit http://wsummit.bryant.edu/.

Cheryl Merchant, Bryant University, New England Businesswoman of the Year, Hope Global,

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