Bingham Farms CEO wins Entrepreneur Of The Year Award

By: Mary Genson | Birmingham-Bloomfield Eagle | Published July 27, 2022

 Barbara Yolles-Ludwig was the only woman to win the Entrepreneur of the Year 2022 Michigan and Northwest Ohio Award for her company, Ludwig Plus.

Barbara Yolles-Ludwig was the only woman to win the Entrepreneur of the Year 2022 Michigan and Northwest Ohio Award for her company, Ludwig Plus.

Photo provided

BINGHAM FARMS — Barbara Yolles-Ludwig started Ludwig Plus in 2019 to save her team from layoffs.

Yolles-Ludwig spent a large portion of her career in the advertising world, where she worked with big names in the industry including McDonald’s, Campbell Ewald and TJ Maxx Corp. Eventually, she left to become the chief marketing officer at multimillion-dollar mortgage companies, UWM and TMS.

Now the Bingham Farms resident is the winner of an Entrepreneur of the Year 2022 Michigan and Northwest Ohio Award.

Each year, Ernst & Young LLP evaluates ambitious leaders in business to give out Entrepreneur of the Year awards in a program that started 36 years ago in Milwaukee and is now global.

Yolles-Ludwig received the award for her work as the CEO of Ludwig Plus LLC.

Yolles-Ludwig’s brand actualization and business acceleration company provides various services, including brand activation, product development, website and technology development, and more.

Ludwig Plus works with clients across multiple categories, from financial services to health care to automotive.

“We bring the best of the advertising agency world with the best of the marketing strategy consultancy world, and so we help companies market themselves from the inside out so that they can grow and scale their business,” Yolles-Ludwig said.

Ludwig Plus was established in 2019 when Yolles-Ludwig was working as the chief marketing officer for a multibillion-dollar mortgage brand, ​​TMS.

The company was developed in an effort to save her team from layoffs.

When TMS decided to sell a large portion of its company to another company, Yolles-Ludwig was tasked with a reduction in force.

Since she did not want to let go of the strong team that she had selected from agencies around town, she went to the owners of the company and asked them to give her 90 days to try to pay for the team and win clients.

“​​To avoid a layoff for my people, I went into my own advertising pitch days and started winning clients, and I won five clients in 90 days,” Yolles-Ludwig said.

From there, Yolles-Ludwig decided to take her team and spin off of TMS, creating Ludwig Plus.

Joe Lenglet is a partner with EY and a co-director of the program. He works with his co-director and program manager to help put on the program locally.

Lenglet said one of the main things that help candidates win the award is an inspiring story. Along with other positive characteristics of her work ethic and values, Joe said, Ludwig’s story contributed to her win.

“It’s just an incredible story of what she was able to accomplish,” Lenglet said.

Other major factors considered when looking at nominees are strong leadership, putting their team before themselves, and a commitment to community and family.

Lenglet said her focus on the individuals on her team shows her to be a strong leader as she develops people as leaders within her organization and takes time to meet with each employee on a quarterly basis.

It is also important that nominees speak with passion about their work and values in their interviews.

“This isn’t just about me as a founder and a CEO. It’s a great representation of my team and their brilliant minds, and their brilliant work,” Yolles-Ludwig said. “It is really nice for us to receive the recognition and to be able to be in the company of other wildly successful founders and entrepreneurs.”

Yolles-Ludwig was also the only woman who received this regional award.

“I think it is really important as a female CEO to have been able to achieve this accomplishment,” Yolles-Ludwig said.

Nominees for the Entrepreneur of the Year awards are reviewed and selected by an independent judging panel.

The panel consists of past recipients of the award and regional business leaders. Among the panel of eight judges is the 2021 award winner and CEO of New Horizons Baking Co., Trina Bediako.

Winners of the Entrepreneur Of The Year become lifetime members of the community of award winners with unlimited access to the insights of fellow international alumni.

“For me, it’s very exciting to be able to access the brilliance of the network,” Yolles-Ludwig said.