BPW celebrates anniversary this week

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By Bobbie Lanham

Shelbyville Business and Professional Women (BPW) will celebrate its 60-year anniversary at 5-7 p.m. Thursday at the Stratton Center in Shelbyville.

An honored guest will be former Kentucky Governor Martha Layne Collins, a Shelby County native and long-time member of Woodford County BPW. Her mother, Mary Hall, was a member of Shelbyville BPW.

All past and present members are encouraged to attend.

The club was chartered Jan. 10, 1949, when Eugenia Beckley was named president. Nancy Sears and Daisy Dale have been members for more than 30 years each.

Sears, who is retired from the University of Louisville, was BPW president for five terms. She initially joined the club to get to know people in Shelby County.

The club has been involved in many issues and programs over the years. For example, in May 1949, the club voted to support the Equal Rights Amendment, which gives equal rights under the law regardless of gender.

That constitutional amendment has been ratified by 35 of the necessary 38 states. The club is also supporting passage of the Ledbetter act, which assigns equal pay for women in the workplace.

Farm Bureau agent Mary Jo Newton was president for two terms beginning in 2005. She won the state-wide president's award in 2005. She was also given the membership award for enrolling the most new members.

"We're looking forward to the [60th anniversary] celebration. It's quite an accomplishment for women," she said.

Theresa Settles, president of the club and a human resources administrator for a commercial real estate investor/developer, said the membership ranges from women who work for other people or companies to women who own their own businesses.

Meetings consist of a guest speaker on a topic that is of importance for women, "health related issues, the effects of President's Obama's newly passed Recovery Act on our business operations, and individual development programs, just to name a few," Settles said. She enjoys the "camaraderie" of the club. "There are other women who are out there...who are sounding boards."

Business and Professional Women meets the second Monday at each month in the lower level conference room in the Farm Bureau building on Mount Eden Road.

Networking begins at 6 p.m., and meetings begin at 6:30 p.m. Membership is open to those interested in issues facing women in the workplace.

Anyone wanting to attend the anniversary celebration or get information, may contact Erin Riggsby, 502-232-6042.