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.

 

2019-2020 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

TOP TEN BUSINESS WOMEN

Congratulations to this year’s 2020 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,
dIANE KLIEM

diane kliem, Small Business owner 

Owner/President of Kliem and Associates Attorneys at Law

Affiliated with the Victoria Professional Express Network in Victoria, Texas

Member Since 2011

 

Charlene austin, small business owner

Owner/President Char’s Touch, Certified Bridal Consultant and Travel Partner with Sandals and Beaches Resorts
Affiliated with the Greater Des Moines Noon Chapter
Urbandale, Iowa
Member Since: 2011

 

CAROL BRACE

Chief Strategic Officer for UiPath
Affiliated with the Women Empowering Women Express Network
Cypress, Texas
Member Since: 2015

 

janelle burlin, small business owner

Co-Founder/Owner of KJB Packaging Solutions
Affiliated with the Kansas City Express Network
Leawood, Kansas
Member Since: 2012

 

janice curry

Strategic Business Manager for Texas Instruments

Affiliated with the Charisma Charter Chapter
Carrollton,  Texas
Member Since: 1996

 

tammy duncan

Vice President of Human Resources for Lamar Advertising
Affiliated with the La Capitale Chapter
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Member Since: 2016

 

genice hall-summers, small business owner

Owner/President of 3C Counseling and Consulting
Affiliated with the Columbia Triad Chapter
Columbia, South Carolina

Member Since: 2015

 

debbie holladay, small business owner

Owner/President of Holladay & Associates Inc.
Affiliated with the Bryan/College Station Charter Chapter
Bryan, Texas
Member Since: 2007

 

cindy schmitt

Senior Director of Continuing Education for the Florida Institute of Technology
Affiliated with the Oceanside Charter Chapter
Melbourne, Florida
Member Since: 2015

evie wallace, small business owner

Owner/President of Ace Consulting and Marketing, Inc.
Affiliated with the Oxon Hill Charter Chapter
Greenbelt, Maryland
Member Since: 2006