Business and professional women park bench
Front left to right, Terri Sperry, Kathy Smith, Sherry McCarty, Joann Pursifull, Becky Penrod and Sharon Kakouris.
A few of the local Business and Professional Women members gathered at the Louisiana riverfront to dedicate a park bench with their “BPW” plaque on it to the city of Louisiana commemorating the 64 years their organization was active.
The Missouri Federation of BPW was organized in 1921. The Louisiana BPW was organized in January of 1947 and the character was granted on March 17, 1947.
Their three charter members were Magdaline Jackson, Lucille Creamer and Leone Cadwallader. The BPW Federation objective is to elevate the standards for women in business and in the professions; to promote the interests of business and professional women; to bring about a spirit of cooperation among business and professional women of the United States; to extend opportunities to business and professional women through education along lines of industrial, scientific, and vocational activities.
BPW offered networking opportunities; leadership experience; personal growth, participation opportunities and friendship and fellowship. The BPW Foundation is recognized as a charitable, educational organization.
The local organization held many fundraisers such as, style shows, womanless weddings, lasagna dinners, cookbook sales, tasting luncheons, soup and sandwich luncheons, festival of wreath sales, Colorfest stand, and several other activities.
The money that these fundraisers were used to give senior girl scholarships, women in transition and going back to school scholarships. Other groups to benefit from their donations were Avenues, Louisiana Girl Scouts, 4th of July event, Louisiana Chamber of Commerce, Louisiana Bulldogs Boosters and Operation Sweat Suit (which is a program to donate sweat suits to the hospital emergency room to be given to rape and abuse victims), and others as needed.
The local group sponsored a blood drive for several years and also worked and donated soup and sandwiches to them. Annual awards were given to a “Woman of the year” member and promoted a “young careerist” to represent their local district, state and national speak-offs.
The local organization had to disband due to declining membership and the hardship placed from national and state fees.