04 Mar LO Spotlight: BPW/St. Petersburg-Pinellas
Established (chartered) in:
Number of members:
What’s interesting or unique about your location for working women?
Our three major events are the Equality Day celebration in August, Working Women’s Forum in October and the Equal Pay Day Unhappy Hour in March/April. We have recently added an Education Hour and a Meetup once a month–providing opportunities for more interactive learning and simply socializing. We are proud of our partnership with the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce and the new opportunities that provides. We recognize the need for new voices and fresh ideas to invigorate our LO and help us in our mission to be relevant to ALL business and professional women.
What are your meetings and networking activities like?
We hold our meetings the first Thursday of every month at 400 Beach Drive in sunny, downtown St. Petersburg from noon to one o’clock. Doors open at 11:30 for networking and catching up. We pride ourselves on having high profile speakers who are also committed to our mission and offer relevant information for our members.
What was your most popular or best-attended event in the past year? Do you have special events every year?
On the fourth Thursday of each month we hold BPW meetups (open to guests as well) after the work day to allow a more casual setting for conversation and networking in a rotating setting around Pinellas County. On the third Thursday of each month we are now holding educational gatherings after work for more interactive and hands-on learning than the monthly program luncheons.
One of our signature events we hold each year is an Equal Pay Day “Unhappy Hour” to raise awareness of pay equity and wage discrimination. This year it was held on March 15, 2022. This is the date a woman has to work into the new year to make the same pay a man made in the previous year.
Another signature event is an Equality Day event (on or near August 26, the date on which the women’s right to vote was ratified). In 2021, we had wine and charcuterie mid-afternoon at The Hideaway in St. Petersburg, a change from our traditional tea; in 2022 it will be a Mad Hatter’s tea held at the Hawthorne Bottle Shop in St. Petersburg.
How does your organization participate in community-wide events?
BPW/St. Petersburg-Pinellas takes part in numerous community events throughout the year as well as philanthropic events such as Habitat for Humanity.
What does your organization do to promote political awareness?
Each year we sponsor and send interested members to Lobby Days in Tallahassee. This is a great way for any member to get involved in local and state politics. We also add information to our website on all those who are running for office in our members’ districts. Finally every other month has a “legislative moment” at our program luncheon meetings to apprise the attendees of activities relevant to our public policy platform.
What opportunities for personal and professional development do you offer?
As for personal development, we have speakers come and advise us on topics of interest to our members and relevant to our mission of equity for all working women. We have monthly educational gatherings that more specifically address skills development. Also taking a leadership role as an officer or committee chair or being on a committee allows one to develop leadership, planning, negotiating and teamwork skills.
How do you support scholarships locally?
We offer two scholarships each year. The Connie Passmore Scholarship was established to honor one of our long-time members, Connie Passmore, who was a Florida Power employee and devoted many hours and much effort to advance the ideals and causes of BPW. This scholarship makes awards directly to women, age 21 or over, who live, work, or go to school in Pinellas County, who demonstrates achievement, need, and well-defined educational goals. Several awards between $250 and $1,000 are made each year.
For several years now, BPW/St. Petersburg-Pinellas has budgeted for those members who may have had financial difficulties that might prevent them from renewing their membership. In 2014, following the death of a long time, active member, Larry Renda, these funds were renamed the Larry Renda Memorial Scholarships. They are intended to help members who are active to remain members in good standing.
In 2022 we introduced the Support Our Sisters grant to assist entrepreneurs who are in the first three years of establishing a new business. At the moment, eligibility is limited to BPW members and participants in the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce’s Successful Women Advisory Group (SWAG).
How do you reach potential new members in your community?
Reaching out through our website, social media and face to face is our way of making contact with others in our community.
You can find us at www.bpwstpetepinellas.org or on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. We send a newsletter we call Touch Base Tuesday out every week to keep our members informed. If you would like to receive this newsletter, please go to our website and fill in the Subscribe box.