5. Anna Sutherland Bissell (1846-1934)
Location: riverside courtyard of DeVos Place Convention Center, 303 Monroe Ave NW
Installed at 2016 Community Legends unveiling ceremony: Beginning in 1871, Anna Sutherland Bissell and her husband, Melville, set out as marital business partners. She travelled to market their crockery business, and Melville ran the shop. After he patented a compact sweeping device in 1876, they worked to open a manufacturing plant in Grand Rapids in 1883 and distributed sweepers across the country. After her husband’s death in 1889, Anna led the entire company herself, becoming one of the nation’s first female corporate CEOs. Within ten years, she had created the largest corporation of its kind in the world and was known as a creative executive who showed concern for her employees through compensation plans and avoiding lay-offs. Anna served as president of Bissell until 1919 and chaired its board until 1934, the year she died. Devoted to helping the less fortunate, she also served on other community boards. Sculpted by Ann Hirsch.
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