Business Professional Women celebrates its 20th anniversary

CHEERS: Kylie Gaston, Melanie Curtis, Sue Cassidy, Jo Riley, Kim Kavanagh and Suzanne Morgan at the BPW Australia National Conference.

CHEERS: Kylie Gaston, Melanie Curtis, Sue Cassidy, Jo Riley, Kim Kavanagh and Suzanne Morgan at the BPW Australia National Conference.

FROM humble beginnings 20 years ago, Business Professional Women will celebrate their anniversary with a garden party next week.

BPW South West president Kim Kavanagh said about 90 women first met at Otway House on September 5, 1995 after an advertisement was placed in The Standard.

“Led by Dorothy Mahony, Margaret O’Keefe, Carolyn Monaghan and Janis Pearson, the group was addressed by delegates from BPW Geelong and BPW Melbourne and we were persuaded, especially by the enthusiasm from the Geelong Club, to move forward and pursue the goal of becoming a fully-fledged BPW Club,” she said.

The group was formally chartered in 1996.

“BPW SW started as a group of women who wanted to make a difference,” Ms Kavanagh said.

“Over our 20 years members have supported local charities, the women’s shelter and the Days for Girls project and they have represented our club at conferences, state meetings and in the local community while gaining personal development, networking and friendship.”

Ms Kavanagh said the group was proud to look back on the past 20 years and the achievements they had made.

“With our present membership at 53, including three corporate memberships from local businesses, we are one of the fastest growing BPW clubs in Australia,” she said. Founding member Margaret O’Keefe said being a part of an Australia wide network which was kicking goals was “highly satisfying”.

“From my perspective, locally, the club gave me exactly what I craved (and hopefully gave) – support, confidence, networking opportunities, friendship, encouragement and a sense of belonging with likeminded women,” she said.

The group will celebrate the anniversary on Tuesday, December 6 from 6.30pm at the Warrnambool Community Gardens. Former and current members are invited to attend. Find out more by searching for Business and Professional Women South West on Facebook.

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