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 (cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation, diabetes management, health and wellness) for more than a decade prior to joining the ABWA National Team.   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, Global Ties Kansas City and on the committee of women’s organizations supporting the Starr Women’s Hall of Fame .

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.

 

2022-2023 NATIONAL BOARD OF DIRECTORS & SBMEF TRUSTEES

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.

CHERYL BLAIR

National President

Member of the Raintree Chapter

Muncie, Indiana

RACHELLE JAMERSON-HOLMES

National Vice President

Member of the EmpowerHer Chapter

Orangeburg, South Carolina

JOYCE WRIGHT

National Secretary – Treasurer

Member of the Charlotte Charter Chapter

Charlotte, North Carolina 

GENICE HALL

Vice President, District I

Member of the Women Connecting Women Chapter 

Newberry, South Carolina 

 

DR. KELLA PRICE

Vice President, District II

Member of the Outlook Professional Express Network

Dallas, Texas

KATHY MCBRIDE

Vice President, District III

Member of the Greater Des Moines Noon Chapter

Des Moines, Iowa

JUANITA HALL

Vice President, District IV

Member of the D.C. Chapter

Washington D.C.

MARY CECCANESE

Vice President,  District V

Member of the Maia Chapter 

Ann Arbor, Michigan

VELMA LANDERS

Vice President, District VI

Member of the Enterprising Women Networking San Francisco Chapter

San Francisco, California

abwa’s 2023 American Business Woman and TOP TEN BUSINESS WOMEN

Congratulations to the Top Ten Business Women – Class of 2023

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.  

2023 American business Woman, amber clark

Amber Clark took her first flight in a small aircraft when she was only twelve years old which fueled her passion for aviation.  Today, Amber is employed as the Airport Director for the Columbus Airport located in Columbus, Georgia.

One of her pay-it-forward goals is to encourage women and young girls to pursue their goals even if their dream job is happens to be in a male dominated industry.

Amber says “from the tremendous educational resources to the vast opportunities to network with other women in diverse industries, my ABWA membership has been essential in my development as a leader.

And being named the 2023 American Business Woman has been one of my biggest career achievements! I am truly honored to represent the American Business Women’s Association and my community in this national recognition.”

Amber is a member of ABWA’s Harris County Charter Chapter (HCCC) that meets monthly on the third Thursday in Columbus, Georgia.  For more information about membership in the HCCC, CLICK HERE

BARBARA BARACH

Barbara defines herself as a “connector” of people and resources! Barbara Barach is employed as a Marketing Executive and Wellness Coach.  Her goal is to support her customers in achieving their wellness goals.  She is also a member of a business networking chapter and outgoing president of ABWA’s Crescent City Connections Express Network located in Metairie, Louisiana, a Level I Best Practicing League. 

For more information about meetings and membership in the Crescent City Connections Express Network, CLICK HERE.

YOLANDA JOHNSON

Yolanda Johnson is an author and the founder and Executive and Consultant of Beyond Measure LLC. Throughout her career, she has made it her personal and professional mission to advocate for equitable treatment and resources for people who are most vulnerable. 

Yolanda joined ABWA in 2018 and is an active member of the Maryland Capital Chapter located in Annapolis, Maryland.  For more information about joining the Maryland Capital Chapter, CLICK HERE.   

ROBIN TAYLOR

Robin is employed as the Assistant General Counsel for the Texas A&M University System.  Robin has always been passionate (and an advocate for) women’s rights, equality, diversity and inclusion.  Robin said she wanted to find a women’s organization that empowered women to become the best version of themselves. She said she is thrilled everyday knowing she found a home with ABWA’s Leading Women Express Network located in Bryan, Texas.  For more information about meetings and membership in LWEN, CLICK HERE.

Sharon walker

Sharon Walker is employed as an Administrator at the University of Michigan Health System where she specializes in Nephrology.

Her personal goal is to mentor, guide and assist women who are experiencing challenges in the workplace and to empower them by providing them with the tools and resources that will boost their self esteem and confidence so they can thrive in business.  She hails from Ann Arbor, Michigan and is an active member of the Maia Chapter that meets every 3rd Tuesday, in person  or virtual.  For more information about meetings and membership in the Maia Chapter, CLICK HERE.

Dr. Sandra Newsome

Dr. Sandra Newsome is the Senior Vice President of Flight to Excellence Educational Consultants LLC.  As a lifelong educator, Sandra enjoys mentoring women, especially new teachers, encouraging them to utilize their skills and talents so their students thrive.  She attributes her success to being a risk taker that is continuously expanding her boundaries beyond what is familiar and comfortable.  

Sandra joined ABWA in 2017 and is an active member of ABWA’s Oxon Hill Charter Chapter (OHCC) that meets every third Saturday at 11:30 am.  For more information about becoming a member of the OHCC, CLICK HERE.  

Dr. Ka’ryn holder-jackson

Dr. Holder-Jackson is the Executive Director for ACCEL.  She knows first-hand the challenges of balancing home, work and family obligations and appreciates the courage and discipline that’s required of adult learners.   In her role as Executive Director, she is particularly excited about and committed to serving the Adult Learner population who she views as the real champions. 

One of Dr. K’s aspirations is to establish a nonprofit organization so she can mentor and educate individuals and families about how to achieve financial independence.

Ka’Ryn joined ABWA in 2017 and is an active member of the Enterprising Women Networking SF Chapter.  For more information about Chapter meetings and membership, CLICK HERE.

BELINDA “BEA” CLARK

Belinda Clark is employed as an IT Consultant and has

over 30 years experience working with Fortune 400 companies as an IT Program and Project Manager.  She is the author of “Deferred Genius”, a book she wrote to inspire and motivate under skilled women to pursue their best selves in order to increase their earning potential.

Belinda has been an ABWA member since 2019 and is an active member of the Airport Charter Chapter located in Atlanta, Georgia.  For more information about meetings and membership in the Airport Charter Chapter, CLICK HERE.

BRENDA AUSTIN

Brenda Austin is a Business Relationship Manager for CMP Federal Credit Union.  One of her biggest career achievements was securing a Community Development Financial Institutional grant for her company.  With her extensive experience in the banking industry combined with her education and communication skills, Brenda also developed and implemented business strategies for new products and services (afforded by the grant) targeting low to moderate income communities.  As a result, the bank is positioned to win a second grant valued at $1 million dollars that will allow them to continue their “good work” in the community.

Brenda joined ABWA in 2018, and is a contributing member of ABWA’s EmpowerHer Chapter located in Orangeburg, South Carolina.  For more information about meetings and membership in the EmpowerHer Chapter, CLICK HERE.

LINDA HOUGH-HICKS

Linda is the owner of Hough-Hicks Travel whose objective is to customize group excursions to untapped destinations.  During the pandemic, she also established a consortium of travel owners that have collaborated together in order to expand the access of affordable travel to the “everyday traveler.”

She joined ABWA in 2010 and has served in multiple leadership positions with the Columbia Triad Chapter.  Throughout her tenure in ABWA, she continues to mentor young professionals to help them discover their own personal leadership strengths.  For more information about Columbia Triad Chapter meetings and membership, CLICK HERE.