About Us

ABOUT US

Women have always worked, whether it was in the home or in the business sector.  During the height of WWII, women were not only encouraged to enter the workforce, they were deluged with propaganda to join the workforce because it was their patriotic duty. When the war was over, many women lost their jobs, and were reminded that their first responsibility was to their home and their family.

On September 22, 1949, Shirley Cupp, Irma Beisel, Frances Stuckey and Mr. Hilary Bufton Jr.  met in a coffee shop in downtown Kansas City to incorporate the American Business Women’s Association at a time when it was considered socially unacceptable for women to pursue a full-time career, have a girls night out or even join an association.

A statement made by Mr. Bufton in the early 50s summarizes ABWA’s impact on societal norms: “In many ways, the first generation of ABWA members were the breaking tradition…Without even knowing it, I guess they were paving the way for today’s women.”

While women’s opportunities and pay in the business sector have evolved, there is still work to be done.  Breaking barriers for women and on behalf of women is nothing new in ABWA.   We’ve been doing so since 1949!  

 ABWA’S MISSION

The mission of the American Business Women’s Association is to bring together business women of diverse occupations and to provide opportunities for them to help themselves and others grow personally and professionally through leadership, education, networking support and national recognition.

OPPORTUNITIES

More than 5,000 business/networking meetings are hosted each year in hundreds of cities across the nation. Find a local ABWA community near you.  If an opportunity is not available, start a new Chapter in your city.  To get contact Angela at azuba@abwa.org .

PARTNERSHIPS AND OUTREACH

ABWA partners with other organizations to promote important dates and events that will have a positive impact on women’s lives including:

  • The American Cities Business Journal.  ACBJ hosts Biz Mentoring Monday Event in 43 different cities in the U.S..  The event attracts more than 10,000 women nationwide each year.  As an ABWA, you are eligible for a discounted registration.
  • A member of the Small Business Saturday Coalition sponsored by American Express and Women Impacting Public Policy.  Small Business Saturday promotes “shopping small.” Small Business Saturday, the first Saturday following the Thanksgiving holiday.
  • Starr Women’s Hall of Fame (Kansas City Based) recognizes women from the Kansas City area for their contributions to the community.
  • The American Business Women’s Foundation (ABWF) whose purpose is to educate women about issues and opportunities impacting parity in the workplace.

Executive Director, Rene’ Street

One of Rene’ Street’s favorite pieces of advice is “perfect practice makes for perfect performance,” a notion she took to heart very early in her working life and one she seeks to instill in other women who aspire to great things in their lives.

Rene’s career path began as a professional ballet dancer followed by her establishing two successful ballet schools in New York and Ohio, with some of her students advancing to professional ballet companies.

Following her first career, Rene’ returned to school earning her master’s degree in technical education. As an exercise physiologist, she taught college courses and developed strength, endurance and agility programs for both sick and well populations. One conditioning program she designed was for women who wanted to pursue careers in firefighting, a male-dominated industry.  The very first woman to be hired by the Cleveland Heights Fire Department participated in Rene’s program.

Rene’ continued her career in health care where she worked in hospital program management, administration, and marketing prior to coming to ABWA as a marketing manager. Rene’ has held leadership roles on a number of boards including the American Heart Association, American Diabetes Association, Kansas University School of Management Board of Advisors, and Global Ties Kansas City.

René’s greatest satisfaction comes with seeing women practicing new skills and developing themselves as professionals and supporting each other to deliver their best performance.  As Executive Director, she collaborates with the Association’s leaders to ensure that membership in ABWA will help women know, grow, and show their value in business.

 

2019-2021 NATIONAL BOARD OF DIRECTORS

The National Board of Directors is a volunteer board that governs the national bylaws on behalf of the members of the American Business Women’s Association.
The National Board of Directors also serve as trustees for the Stephen Bufton Memorial Educational Fund (SBMEF).  Aside from fiduciary responsibilities, the Trustees determine the value and the eligibility criteria for each scholarship as well as the selection of the  scholarship recipients.

SHARON GODBEE

National President

Member of the Heart of the Piedmont Chapter

Greensboro, North Carolina

TRINA NKHAZI

National Vice President

Member of the Airport Charter Chapter

Atlanta, Georgia

ANNE O’NEILL

National Secretary – Treasurer

Member of the Harris County Charter Chapter

Hartwell, Georgia

MARY STEPHENSON

Vice President – District I

Member of the Lakeland Downtown Chapter

Lakeland, Florida 

JUDY TAYLOR

Vice President District II

Member of the Charisma Charter Chapter

Carrollton, Texas

KATHY SCHOOLEY

Vice President District III

Member of the W. Des Moines Charter Chapter

Des Moines, Iowa

MARY MAUPAI

Vice President District IV

Member of the River City Express Network

Richmond, Virginia

CHERYL BLAIR

Vice President District V

Member of the Raintree Chapter

Muncie, Indiana

 

KERRIE UNDERHILL

Vice President District VI

Member of the Territorial Charter Chapter

Yuma, Arizona

abwa’s 2021 American Business Woman and TOP TEN BUSINESS WOMEN

Congratulations to this year’s American business woman and the top ten business women of the american business women’s association!

As a leading organization for working women, the American Business Women’s Association takes recognition to a national level with the prestigious Top Ten Business Women of ABWA program. The Top Ten is the highest honor awarded annually to members and recognized nationally at ABWA’s National Women’s Leadership Conference.   These ten women are applauded for their career accomplishments, community involvement, and their contribution to the American Business Women’s Association.

American Business woman, Dr. Deborah Johnson-Blake 

An ABWA Member since 2017, Dr. Deborah Johnson-Blake is an Assistant Professor and the Dissertation Committee Chair at Liberty University.  She received the Distinguished Service Award by the Georgia Adult Education Association in 2016.  She is the former Director of Continuing Education at the Atlanta Technical College.  And, “Dr. DJ”  is the CEO/owner of The Writing Pad, LLC.   

Dr. Deborah Johnson-Blake is a member of the Douglas County Charter Chapter located in Douglasville, GA. 

Dr. Deborah Johnson-Blake Speaks About Her Response to the Pandemic

JOY BROILS, SMALL BUSINESS owner

An ABWA Member since 2017, Joy Broils is the Owner and President of a new start-up, KuSHH, LLC,  a company that merges a positive lifestyle messages with practical comfort products. She graduated with honors from Mercer Law School with a Juris Doctorate.  In her spare time,  Joy volunteers with the Girl Scouts of America.

Joy Broils is a member of the Kansas City Express Network located in Overland Park, KS.

Joy Speaks About Her Response to the Pandemic

LINDSEY CHAPMAN, SMALL BUSINESS OWNER

An ABWA member since, 2016, Lindsey is the owner of Meadows Resources.  Her business provides support to women with children, and female students pursuing a career in Human Resources.  In her spare time, Lindsey serves as a SHRM Ambassador, and volunteers with 4-H in Montgomery County.

Lindsey is a member of Women Empowering Women Express Network located in Cypress, TX.

Lindsey Speaks About Her Response to the Pandemic

Kristena Hackett, Small Business Owner

An ABWA Member since 2015, Kristena is the President and Owner of Source Media Solutions.  She is also a professional speaker providing presentations to large and small groups on topics from promoting your business to video marketing and conferencing.  She is a member of Toastmasters where she volunteers as their public relations manager.

Kristena Hackett is a member of the Humble Artesian Chapter in Humble, TX.

Kristena Speaks About Her Response to the Pandemic

Tracey Jackson, PhD, JD

An ABWA Member since 2007, Dr. Jackson serves as a Legislative Director for the Federal Government.  In her position, she develops policy positions and legislative initiatives.  Tracey has also written several bills that have become official law.  She is a 2018 graduate of the Virginia Commonwealth University’s Wilder School of Government where she received her PhD in Public Policy and Administration.

Dr. Jackson is a member of the Oxon Hill Charter Chapter located in Fort Washington, MD.

Dr. Tracey Jackson Speaks About Her Response to the Pandemic

Trina Kingery

An ABWA Member since 2015, Trina is employed as the Vice President of Mortgage Lending at Guaranteed Rate Affinity. She is a graduate of Florida State University where she received a BS in Business.  She is a member of the  Lakeland Chamber of Commerce where she serves as a volunteer for various committees including the Athena Awards.

She is a member of the Lakeland Downtown Chapter located in Lakeland, FL.

Trina Speaks About Her Response to the Pandemic

Marilyn Lash 

An ABWA Member since 1972, Marilyn is Vice President of Talent with Accent Entertainment, LLC.   She is very active in her community including a  volunteer of the Clarkston Chamber of Commerce, St. Trinity Lutheran Church, and the Association of Vietnam Veterans of America.  Her advice to women is to strive to do your best in everything you do, big and small.

Marilyn Lash is a member of the Greater Oakland Charter Chapter in Clarkston, MI.

 Marilyn Speaks About Her Response to the Pandemic 

Robin Necci

An ABWA Member since 1983, is employed as a Visi Global Lifestyle and Health Coach where she contributes her success in business to building strong relationships with her clientele. Aside from being a past National President of ABWA, Robin gives back to her community in a variety of ways, including sharing meals/snacks with front line workers at a Mom’s dementia facility, assisting with food preparation for her church’s annual widow’s retreat, and collecting food for children’s backpacks.

Robin Necci is a member of the Heart of the Piedmont Chapter in Greensboro, NC.

Robin Speaks About Her Response to the Pandemic

Elsa W. Smith, Small Business Owner

An ABWA Member since 2018, Elsa Smith is a licensed Attorney, Founder and Principal of the Law Offices of Elsa W. Smith, LLC.  Elsa supports her community by assisting low-income seniors with their estate planning needs and by providing pro bono legal consultations in English and Spanish every month at the Center of Help, Inc..

Elsa Smith is a Stephen Bufton Memorial Educational Fund scholarship recipient (Business Skills Tuition Reimbursement),  and an active member of the Maryland Capital Chapter located in Annapolis, Maryland.

Elsa Speaks About Her Response to the Pandemic  

 

Judy Taylor, Small  Business Owner

An ABWA Member since 1992, Judy Taylor is the owner/President of TaylorMade Designs. Aside from serving as the District II Vice President for 2019-2021, Judy has been an active volunteer for Zac’s Ridge, a non-profit dedicated to changing family legacies.  Judy’s advice to working women and women business owners, ” Autograph your work with excellence, and you will reap the rewards across a long and successful career.”

Judy Taylor is an active member of the Charisma Charter Chapter located in Carrollton, TX.

Judy Speaks About Her Response to the Pandemic