Member Spotlight: Carole J. Tolomeo

Member Spotlight: Carole J. Tolomeo

Born and raised in New Jersey, came to Florida in 1980. Worked for the Margate Police Department for 39 years, one year as a volunteer; seven chiefs of police, all with different leadership skills. Retired in 2019. One daughter, son-in-law, and grandson (who just had a new baby); divorced with two cats – Bugsy and Sunny. That’s enough about my personal life.

Now comes BPW!!!  I have been a member since 1980.

Quad City was my first experience with women’s issues. I must have fallen in love immediately as after a while I became President. Then a past BPW/FL president asked if I would run for BPW/FL secretary. NO WAY! I said…but eventually gave in and began a new chapter in my life. Moving up the ladder, I was elected as BPW/FL 74th President in 1993.  Since then, I have maintained an active and visible role in BPW/FL and my community.

My theme and survival skills for BPW: Change-Risk-Humor. A “Sophisticated Ladies” installation was held on June 12 at the Sarasota Hyatt Hotel. Jackie Rooney and Shirley Long installed the Sophisticated Ladies, during which Betty Swanson added some “sophisticated humor”; “This is your life, Carole J. Tolomeo, or what it might have been.” (By the way, I still have a video of that evening.)

The team for my year was: PE-Shirley Grantham, 1st VP-Nancy Hurlbert, 2nd VP-Judie Gulla, Treasurer-Frieda Pidgeon, Secretary- Cathy Washington, Parliamentarian-Jackie Rooney. Our BPW/USA President was Dianne Studer.

I recall in my installation speech that Diversity is not the goal-Inclusiveness is! The future of BPW is so full of hope and promise, if it fails, it‘s because you and I have failed to cast in our best thought, word and deed to the common cause. If you cease thinking, I must be silent. If you fail to plan, my work stops. Truly, the opportunity, the responsibility, and fulfillment belong to us all. As we are, so will the Federation be. The result will be the sum total of our individual efforts. (I still believe in these words.)

One of my fondest memories was the 1993 Strategic Planning Retreat. 18 BPW/FL members (a mix of Executive Committee, District Directors, and committee chairs) gathered at Camp Challenge. My Mid-Year Board was held at Don Shula’s Hotel & Golf Club, Miami Lakes. A group of us got locked in the elevator with the maintenance man. We all bonded!!!

In June 1998 I was hired as BPW/FL Business Manager. This position was challenging for me and most satisfying. I also became Editor of Florida Business Woman. I have served on the BPW/FL Legislative Committee throughout the years. I recall many Royal X’s luncheons – many laughs and fond memories!

I have served on various boards, e.g., Leadership Broward Foundation, Susan B. Anthony Center and several others. I held several roles as president: Florida Women’s Consortium, Rotary Club of Fort Lauderdale South, Margate Civil Service, Debra Levy Neimark Scholarship Foundation. I was inducted into the Commission on the Status of Women Fort Lauderdale.

I encourage BPW/FL members to take a leadership role in helping this Federation grow. Serve on a committee. We can grow with the help of your commitment! Say, YES! when asked to serve; if not asked, step up to the plate! Women helping women and their families.

In closing, remember, little things in the beginning-good things growing every day. Thanks BPW/FL for being a part of my memories.

Carole J. Tolomeo, President, BPW/Fort Lauderdale