Jackson Area Business and Professional Women will celebrate its 100th anniversary on April 2, 2019. For 100 years, we have worked for women’s issues, offered business training and networking and awarded many college scholarships.
We believe in honoring women. Also on April 2, 2019, we will celebrate the Sterling Awards 2019: 20 Most Influential Women in West Tennessee, the Outstanding Woman Military Veteran and the Sue Shelton White Award. What outstanding women have made our communities better places to live and to work! They deserve our thanks always.
How did such a strong legacy begin? When the world was at war, the women were needed. In February 1918, a National War Work Council Report, guided by officers of the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA), led to the organization of BPW to train women nationwide to run the nation’s businesses and industries, since the men were fighting. Women joined in droves. Membership reached 175,000 quickly. After the war, international chapters were formed.
Are we a stuffy group despite all our accomplishments? No. We know how to laugh.
We’ve been doing that since 1919 and the first state convention for the Tennessee Federation of Business Women! Doing research, I found notes from a 1940s convention: A Jackson delegation member, who was sharing rooms with Nashville delegates, heard someone through the connecting door. Dressed in her pajamas, and thinking this was her friends returning, she threw open the door and yelled, “Who wants to sleep with me!” Only to find it was a startled bellboy with wide eyes.
As we know, well-behaved women rarely make history! I wonder what he told his friends downstairs about those crazy business and professional women?
Yes, we’re going to celebrate our legacy on April 2, 2019. We’re also going to have much fun! Get ready for the excitement! And, no, I’m not telling what’s up. You’ll have to come to find out!
Jacque Hillman. President, Jackson Area BPW, 2018-2019