Goodbye from your 2020-2022 Young BPW NFBPWC Representative!

2 Aug 2022 8:40 AM | Lea-Ann W. Berst (Administrator)

As my time as your Young BPW NFBPWC Representative comes to a close, I’d like to brag about all of our successes! I've enjoyed my time as a leader with NFBPWC these past two years and am grateful for the chance to bring together USA’s Young BPW members.

In 2019, I was selected by BPW International to represent the North American regions as a delegate to the United Nations. They were doing a huge push to bring in more Young BPW from around the world, thanks to the leadership of the Young BPW International Representative at the time, Neelima Basnet. She knew that bringing Young BPW to the UN would help us see the potential reach of this organization and encourage us to get more involved. 

It certainly worked for me! 

A week after I returned I called Sandy Thompson, the NFBPWC President, and asked if we had someone as the Young BPW Chair for the USA? We did not! Well…I wanted in! Then, with the new leadership team chosen during General Assembly in 2020, I was honored to be voted in as part of the Executive Committee (EC). I was the first Young BPW representative ever on the EC.

My first goal in this leadership role was to figure out who were the other Young BPW members in the USA! I didn’t know any of them, and we didn’t have a process yet to find them in our system. So, I approached membership chairs, presidents of clubs, even international members to get their list of known Young BPW in the USA. Then I went to work on getting us organized and learning more about each other with each Young BPW Member Spotlight.

My next goal was to improve communication so that Young BPW members knew more about what was going on in the organization.This started with bi-weekly emails to introduce them to the benefits of what NFBPWC had to offer. From there, we had quarterly meetings – sometimes with a skills lesson like negotiating – but most often it was just a time to chat and get to know each other. It was something a Young BPW member could look forward to – meeting other ambitious women like them. The Zoom software made this a whole lot easier to connect and see how truly vast our membership was across America.

While I was building our Young BPW community, I kept in the back of my mind what encouraged me to get more involved – seeing what members were doing on a National and International level, too. So, I worked with the EC to create more affordable student membership options that would also gain them membership to National and International communications. From here, our member numbers grew exponentially. We now have 35 Young BPW members across the United States and counting!

In addition to building our community, I also wanted to build our purpose. Young BPW is more than the technology we grew up with. We have so much to offer. Most of us run our own departments or our own companies. Knowing the organizational culture had to change quickly, Young BPW members were encouraged and supported to take on leadership roles in NFBPWC. From the inspired Afghan Women Project to the impactful Health Committee, our Young BPW members are stepping up and having their voices heard in this organization, an organization that takes pride in advocating for women.

I’ve been a member of BPW since high school – even directing a documentary about our history, called Business and Professional Women: A History, A Movement. Since then, I have directed many more projects, including Pioneers in Skirts, which – yes – did premiere in the pandemic! It’s time for me to hit all gears again on many new projects, so I bid you adieu!

Moving forward, I am confident we can keep this momentum going in the next administration. I hope for more Young BPW, and our members in general, to take on more leadership roles, or participate in one of our many committees.

Being part of committee is the easiest and fastest way to learn the ins and outs of the organization. And this organization really gives you back what you put into it. I’m a perfect example of that. I’ve learned so much and met such amazing people – friends for life!

I’m very grateful for these two years! Goodbye from your 2020-2022 Young BPW NFBPWC Representative and I look forward to the amazing things that will come from the leadership of our new incoming Young BPW Chair 2022-2024!

Ashley Maria

www.ashley-maria.com

 


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