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??? > About Us > 2009-2010 Board of Directors > Francine Manilow

Francine Manilow

Francine Manilow
Founder and CEO, Manilow Suites (Chicago, IL)

Francine Manilow is Founder and CEO of Manilow Suites, the first company in the nation to offer upscale short-term corporate housing incorporating hotel-quality services and amenities. A 30-year old business, Manilow Suites has grown from seven residence units to more than 200 elegantly appointed apartments in Chicago's most prestigious and luxurious buildings, and it serves a varied marketplace ranging from CEOs and executives to entertainment and sports figures. Francine is credited with coining the term "corporate housing," and now, three decades later, Manilow Suites is still the leader and trendsetter in the industry it created.

Francine has long been regarded as a pioneering entrepreneur always seeking innovative ways to make things better. She became a "serial entrepreneur" long before that epithet crept into American business vernacular. Concurrent with a long career as a full-time flight attendant, she created and ran a number of innovative business ventures that came from her ability to see a need and a profitable way to fulfill it. In 1966 she formed her first corporation, employing stewardesses on their days off to work exhibit booths at trade shows in 16 cities. Two years later, she expanded her trade show offerings with another first-of-its-kind concept: providing business services to trade show and convention participants a concept that presaged the elaborate business centers now commonly seen in convention and exhibit halls. In the early 1970s, she employed housewives to conduct food tastings in supermarkets, a first in the Chicagoland area and also a business that provided a good source of supplementary income for wives and mothers. By the mid 1970s, Manilow formed Rapidfoto, the first company to offer next day film developing in Chicago and the first company to offer color photos on T-shirts. Later, following the establishment of the North American Free Trade Agreement, Francine opened a retail business in Cancun, Mexico, selling American made linens.

Among her many honors for business achievement and community service, Francine is a 2010 inductee into the Chicagoland Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame, winner of both the 2008 Tower of Excellence Provider and the Member of the Year awards given by the Corporate Housing Provider Association, and winner of 2007 Office Depot Businesswoman of the Year award. In addition, she is an Advisory Board member and Illinois Team Leader for Women Impacting Public Policy.



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