BPW Foundation’s Joining Forces Mentoring Plus™ During Women’s History Month
Posted by YWM on March 26, 2013
Business and Professional Women’s (BPW) Foundation’s career and employment support initiative for women veterans and military/veteran spouses, Joining Forces Mentoring Plus™, was saluted by First Lady Michelle Obama and the Administration at Women’s History Month events honoring the contributions of women veterans on Tuesday, March 19.
During the morning, BPW Foundation’s Board of Trustees, Joining Forces Mentoring Plus partners, and guests participated in the White House Champions of Change: Women Veterans program where 14 women, including Joining Forces Mentoring Plus™ Advisory Council members and Community/Resource partners, were recognized for their contributions during and following military service. In her remarks, the First Lady recognized BPW Foundation “for the exceptional work that they do every day for women’s veterans.”
That evening, women veterans were honored at a VIP-packed reception hosted by BPW Foundation at the Women in Military Service for America Memorial (WIMSA). Brigadier General Wilma L. Vaught (Ret), Founder and President of WIMSA, welcomed the women veterans in attendance, acknowledging the diversity of branches, eras, ranks, and ages represented. BPW Board of Trustees’ Chair Barbara Henton recognized WIMSA as “the perfect setting to honor our women veterans’ histories and celebrate their futures.”
Bringing a personal message of gratitude from President and Mrs. Obama, Tina Tchen, Special Assistant to the President and Chief of Staff to the First Lady, thanked every woman veteran for her service. Speaking on behalf of Secretary Erick K. Shinseki, Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs Steve L. Muro reiterated the VA’s commitment to women veterans and pledged continued support of Joining Forces Mentoring Plus™ to facilitate veterans’ civilian reintegration. Attendee Department of Labor Assistant Secretary for
Veterans Employment and Training Services Keith Kelly reiterated his strong support for programs supporting women veterans.
Velma Hart, BPW Foundation Treasurer, welcomed the oldest living woman veteran, 105 year-old LTC Luta Mae Cornelius “Cornie” McGrath, who joined the Army in 1943, before the Women’s Army Corps was even established. Others present who play important roles in BPW Foundation efforts on behalf of women veterans included Women Joining Forces Advisory Council members Major General Dr. Irene Trowell-Harris (Ret), Director of the Center for Women Veterans at the VA, Brigadier General Evelyn “Pat” Foote (Ret), Glenna Tinney , Advocacy Program Coordinator for the Battered Women’s Justice Project, Linda Spoonster Schwartz, Commissioner and Commandant, Connecticut Department of Veteran Affairs, US Air Force (Ret), and Ginger Miller, founder of Women Veterans Interactive and a Joining Forces Community Resource Partner.
BPW Foundation CEO, Deborah L. Frett invited every Joining Forces Mentoring Plus™ program mentor, mentee and subject matter expert to step forward: “These women make our program a reality. They embody BPW Foundation’s mission: working women helping women work. And they are the reason that this program is enabling women veterans to succeed in civilian careers.”
Command Sergeant Major Michele S. Jones (Ret), the first woman U.S. Army Reservist to reach that position, joined Deborah Frett to toast women veteran guests, stating that her “most important title that evening was Joining Forces Mentoring Plus™ mentor.”
BPW Foundation recognized and thanked the evening’s sponsors: Alliant Credit Union Foundation, Booz Allen Hamilton, Dell/Intel, the DeLonais Foundation, CVS Caremark, ASAE CareerHQ.org, and Capital One.