History Of Business and Professional Women/USA

The Foundation of a Legacy

Founded in 1919, BPW/USA has a long track record of promoting equity for women in the workplace. Whether you are a business owner or an employee, BPW provides leadership through advocacy, education and information within our communities, states and the nation on issues important to all working women. Through BPW, you can connect with mentors, colleagues and friends who can assist you in advancing your career and making the right connections. You can also thrive professionally through exclusive membership development programs.

While mobilizing for World War I, the U.S. Government recognized the need for a cohesive group to coordinate identification of women's available skills and experience. A Women's War Council, financed through a federal grant, was established by the War Department to organize the resources of professional women. The National Federation of Business and Professional Women's Clubs was founded on July 15, 1919.

Throughout the years, three major issues shaped BPW's legislative agenda: elimination of sex discrimination in employment, the principle of equal pay, and the need for a comprehensive equal rights amendment.

For additional BPW/USA history, click here.

History Of Business and Professional Women/Tallahassee

March 2006: Yolanda Miranda-Hill, Christy Crump, and Christy Read met with BPW/FL leaders to discuss formation of a Tallahassee local organization (LO).

June 2006: Tallahassee LO was chartered with 13 members.

June 2007: One year anniversary celebrated with 25 members. BPW/Tallahassee won four awards at BPW/Florida state conference in Orlando.

August 2007: First edition of Widening Horizons, BPW/Tallahassee newsletter, published.

December 2007: We are up to 31 members, including four FSU BPW Scholarship House student members.

June 2008: We won seven state awards including Local Organization of the Year!

October 2008: First annual Building Powerful Women; Building a Powerful You conference held at the Leon County Civic Center. There were 75 in attendance and we broke even.

December 2008: We are up to 40 members, including five FSU BPW Scholarship House student members. We hosted our first Divas and Desserts event at the University Center Club.

February/March 2009: We begin our third annual membership drive with a starting membership count of 42 and ended it with 51.

June 2009: Six members represented BPW/Tallahassee at the 2009 BPW/Florida state conference in Key West.
We won seven statewide awards:

1. Highest percentage gain in new members
2. Highest number of new members under age 35
3. Plus 5 recruitment to Christy Crump (for recruiting more than five new members in one year)
4. Plus 5 recruitment to Deanna Mims (for recruiting more than five new members in one year)
5. Best overall public relations campaign for the year
6. Best public relations campaign for individual event (Women’s Conference)
7. Best website

Also, we are the home local organization to the BPW/FL Glass Ceiling Award Honoree, Cindy Dick, Chief, Tallahassee Fire Department. The Glass Ceiling Award honors a woman in Florida who has excelled in a traditionally male-dominated profession.

BPW/Tallahassee was awarded the bid for hosting the 2011 BPW/Florida State Conference in Tallahassee.

July 2009: BPW/USA merged with BPW Foundation. The national organization no longer exists as originally formed in 1919. The mission, goals, and objectives of BPW remain strong and in force in BPW/Florida and BPW/Tallahassee. Many changes will take place over the next few months as we change from a national form of governing to state governing. BPW/Tallahassee will continue to grow and prosper.

June 2010: BPW/Tallahassee is 80 members strong. State conference was held in West Palm Beach, and seven members attended. We won five state awards: Most New Members Under Age 35, Most Members Present at Spring Training, Best Overall Public Relations Campaign, Best Public Relations for a Single Event (Annual Women's Conference), and Most Well-Rounded Overall Programming. Dr. Mignon Emenike was appointed state Women's Wellness Committee chair, and Christy Crump was appointed state Membership Committee chair.

June 2011: BPW/Tallahassee remains 80 members strong. State conference was held in Hollywood, and five members attended. We won ten state awards. Lisa Sprague was named the Glass Ceiling Award Winner. Dr. Mignon Emenike was reappointed state Women's Wellness Committee chair, and Christy Crump was reappointed state Membership Committee chair.

Business & Professional Women/Tallahassee Take Home Nine Awards from State Conference

Tallahassee, FL (May 25, 2011): – Business & Professional Women of Florida held its annual State Conference “Mind, Body, & Spirit” in Hollywood, FL on May 20-22, 2011.  Five members of the local Tallahassee chapter were in attendance to receive nine prestigious awards on behalf of the organization. They are:

Business & Professional Women/Tallahassee’s mission is to achieve equity for all working women in the workplace through advocacy, education and information. Our goal is to be the leading nonpartisan, grassroots advocate for working women. We welcome female and male members who support our mission!

Lisa Sprague Honored with Prestigious Glass Ceiling Award

Lisa Sprague, member of the local Tallahassee chapter of Business & Professional Women, has been chosen as the 2011 recipient of the prestigious Glass Ceiling Award for her achievement in rising to the top of the traditionally male-dominated profession of law enforcement.

According to a dissertation on women in law enforcement by a doctoral candidate at Pepperdine University in 1997:

Women felt that clearly the glass ceiling still exists and a lot of this had to deal with gender and not qualifications. Females in the department felt that they had to constantly prove themselves. Sexual harassment is prevalent and is at times not addressed even though the department has a written policy. For the women who want to make it in the ranks and be respected, some simply ignore the harassment and allow things to happen and not report them as they felt they could manage them, deal with them and move on with their careers.

In 2009, the US Department of Labor statistics revealed that women work force participants accounted for 59.2 percent of the total work force. When those statistics were broken down by occupation, the disparity of women to men in protective service occupations was made apparent: Only 21 percent of women held such positions and of those, only 13 percent were employed as sworn patrol officers.

Ms. Sprague is extremely deserving of such an award. She has consistently risen to the top in her chosen profession with each agency and company she has worked for. Her accomplishments in law enforcement include the following:

Additional accomplishments she has earned this year include being named one of the “Top 25 Women You Need to Know” by the Tallahassee Democrat and she also announced her intent to run for Leon County Sheriff 2012.

Business & Professional Women of Tallahassee commend Lisa on her accomplishments and hope that her experiences and perseverance will pave a way for more women to rise to the ranks as talented law enforcement officers. The Glass Ceiling award is sponsored by the Florida state chapter of Business & Professional Women and is given annually to women who have broken the “glass ceiling” in traditionally male dominated professions.