Organization: Business and Professional Women of St. Petersburg/Pinellas is the local organization of Business and Professional Women/USA. The national organization was founded in 1919 and is a multigenerational nonpartisan organization and focuses on three major issues: elimination of gender discrimination, equal rights and ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment. Established as the first organization to focus on issues of working women, BPW/USA is historically a leader in grass roots activism, policy influence and advocacy for millions of working women. There are 20,000 BPW members nationally and 1,300 local organizations in 54 states and U.S. territories.
BPW/USA was one of the first women's organizations to endorse the Equal Rights Amendment in 1937 and has been successful in promoting and supporting legislation affecting working women ever since. BPW educates its members on policy issues and provides the tools to become involved. BPW's political action committee provides contributions and endorsements to women and female federal candidates who support the BPW legislative agenda.
Mission and objective: The mission of BPW St. Petersburg/Pinellas is to achieve equity for all women in the workplace through advocacy, education and information. The objective is to elevate the standards for women in business and professions and to promote their interests.
Membership and dues: Open to men and women who support BPW's mission and objectives. Annual membership dues are $140.
Meetings: The first and third Thursday of each month. Networking at 11:30 a.m., meeting from noon to 1 p.m. at the 400 Beach Seafood and Tap House, 400 Beach Drive NE in St. Petersburg. Meetings include local organization business and announcements, guest speakers, member spotlights, and policy and legislation updates.
Activities: 1. Partnership with Business and Professional Women of Florida and its foundation to support scholarships and scholarship houses at Florida colleges and universities. The Helen K. Leslie BPW Scholarship House is currently under construction at St. Petersburg College. 2. Personal development: The organization offers Stepping Stones to Personal and Professional Success each year. Registration is under way for workshops available through March. 3. The annual "Unhappy Hour" in observance of Equal Pay Day, which highlights the pay gap between men and women. 4. Support for and volunteering at community activities.
Main officers: president, Sheila Barry-Oliver; first vice president, Cynthia Jenkins; secretary, An Nguyen; and treasurer, Audrey Wood.
Contact: www.BPWStPetePinellas.org or call Sheila Barry-Oliver at (727) 374-3224.