M. Ann Harlan

Co-CEO, Harlan Peterson Partners, LLC
Retired, Vice President and General Counsel, The J.M. Smucker Company

Ann_HarlanGive further voice to women leaders while uplifting current and aspiring leaders. This goal—set by Barb Brown and Margie Flynn—embodies the essence of their book project commemorating the 20th anniversary of BrownFlynn, their Cleveland-based corporate sustainability and governance consulting firm.

And that’s exactly what they did in their new book Uplifting Leaders* (*Who Happen to be Women).

The pair spent three years traveling the country interviewing some of the nation’s most accomplished and influential women in business.

Included in the distinguished group of female leaders featured in the book is M. Ann Harlan, Co-CEO, Harlan Peterson Partners, and retired vice president and general counsel at The J.M. Smucker Company in Orrville, Ohio.

In Uplifting Leaders, Ann shares her leadership insights, including the unexpected mentorship she received from an employee in the company’s cafeteria.

“One unexpected person who taught me the value of always taking pride in my work was a woman who worked in the cafeteria line. She knew that doing her job well and with a smile made it easier for the rest of us to do our jobs well. She had ideas about how the cafeteria could be run more efficiently, and she spoke up. She made a difference in our days, and she taught us the value of a positive attitude. And isn’t that what a mentor is, someone that changes us for the better?”

She also shares how she was influenced by company leaders Richard and Tim Smucker.


“For me, a mentor is anyone that I learn from. I’ve learned perhaps the most from people who teach me in a quiet way, leading by example,” she said.

As a founder and the co-chief executive officer of Harlan Peterson Partners, LLC, Ann leads an executive leadership development firm with a unique focus on client development and professional development consulting.

Prior to founding Harlan Peterson Partners, Ann served as vice president, general counsel, and corporate secretary for The J.M. Smucker Company, a NYSE traded company and a leading manufacturer of food products, during which time sales grew from $300 million to $5 billion through a combination of organic growth and transformational acquisitions.

Ann has served on the board of directors for The Gorman Rupp Company since 2009, where she is currently the Lead Director and chairs the Nominating and Governance Committee and serves on the Audit Committee. She also previously served on the board of directors of Eatem Foods Company until its sale to Archer Daniels Midland in 2015. Ann also sits on the Advisory Board of Gates Group Capital Partners, is the chair of the board of The First Tee of Cleveland, and is a member of the board of directors for University Hospitals Health System, where she is vice chair of the Compensation Committee and serves on the Audit Committee and the Nominating and Governance Committee.


FBPhotoAlbumQuotesTo learn more about Uplifting Leaders, visit www.UpliftingLeaders.com.

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