BPW Foundation's Women Misbehavin' Blog

Well behaved women never make history

Business and Professional Women’s Foundation Salutes and Serves America’s Heroes

Posted by Crystal Williams on May 17, 2014

armedforcesdayToday, Saturday May 17, 2014 is Armed Forces Day when we honor the men and women of the US Armed Forces.  This day honoring a unified Armed Service was created in 1949 and signed into law by President Harry Truman.  As Former Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird so accurately noted “Our servicemen and women shoulder the burden of defense as one of the responsibilities of citizenship in this free country. Having participated in protecting our rights and having met oppression on the battlegrounds of the world, they are able to appreciate and savor the blessings of citizenship in the country they serve.”



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National Small Business Week May 12-16th

Posted by Crystal Williams on May 12, 2014

Business and Professional Women’s Foundation has always been a supporter of small business owners especially since many of our supporters and legacy members are women small business owners. We have been strong supporters of legislation to level the playing field for small businesses, have conducted research to better understand the needs of small businesses and just recently one of our Joining Forces Mentoring Plus® mentees testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Small Business about how the Mentoring Plus program helped her when she was starting her business.  So join us in saluting all small business owners and check out the various activities and resources offered by the Small Business Administration this week.

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Honoring Military Nurse Linda Spoonster Schwartz: Healing the Wounds of War

Posted by Crystal Williams on May 9, 2014

Today BPW Foundation is proud to honor and recognize Women Joining Forces Advisory Council Member Linda Spoonster Schwartz.
LindaHealing the Wounds of War Linda Spoonster Schwartz was a member of the United States Air Force and served on Active Duty and as a Reservist, retiring in 1986 after sustaining injuries in an aircraft accident while serving as an Air Force Flight Nurse. She received a Masters in Nursing from Yale and holds a Doctorate in Public Health from the Yale School of Medicine.  Linda has a long history of involvement in nursing and veteran organizations and is known as an advocate and activist who has devoted her life to healing the wounds of war.

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Honoring Military Nurse Barbara Ward: Advocating for Minority Veterans and Veteran Healthcare

Posted by Crystal Williams on May 8, 2014

BPW Foundation is proud to honor and recognize BPW Foundation Women Joining Forces Advisory Council Member Barbara Ward, a nurse who has given so much of herselve personally and professionally to care for all of us. Thank you!

barbaraBarbara Ward is a Vietnam Era veteran who served in the United States Air Force Nurse Corps. She is currently Director of the Center for Minority Veterans at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.  She is a registered nurse with a diverse background in health care administration and state government.  Ms. Ward has held several executive level management positions in the healthcare industry.  As a long term educator, she has been an adjunct faculty member at several universities. Ms. Ward was appointed as the Director of the Center for Minority Veterans in July 2012.  Prior to this appointment, the Governor of California appointed Ms. Ward to the position of Deputy Secretary of Women and Minority Veterans in 2007 and as the Bureau Chief of Private Postsecondary and Vocational Education in 2005.  Ms. Ward also served as a member of the Women Veterans Advisory Committee for three years and was co-chair of the health sub-committee. Ms. Ward’s passion for healthcare combined with her career of advocacy has made her a leader in veteran healthcare issues.

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Benefits of Mentoring for Women Veterans

Posted by YWM on May 7, 2014

Testimony of Dawn Smith, Joining Forces Mentoring Plus mentee, before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Small Business, May 7,2014.

Dawn SmithMr. Chair, Madam Ranking Member, and members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to be here today. My name is Dawn Smith. I am the Founder and CEO of Mystic Reme Teas in Greenville, South Carolina, and testifying today on behalf of Business and Professional Women’s Foundation.

As a woman veteran who recently started my own business, I hope my experiences can be helpful to the committee as you examine which government and nonprofit programs can best assist and meet the unique needs of women veterans as they transition back to civilian life.

I am very proud of my military service. I served in the Air Force for eight years and was deployed six times to Iraq, Afghanistan, Turkey and Germany. My expertise in the military was logistics, which means I was responsible for making sure that the movement of both troops and cargo got to the right place and were on time. In both Iraq and Afghanistan I was a Terminal Operations Manager responsible for processing and loading more than 7,000 passengers and directing the shipment of hundreds of thousands of tons of cargo. My work was consistently recognized for meeting excellent delivery and departure standards. I also earned my MBA while in the military.

Because of my advanced logistics experience and MBA, I really didn’t think I would have a problem finding a rewarding career when I left the service. But when I returned home to North Carolina to raise my children on my own, I was not even considered for management jobs; instead, I was offered positions like a warehouse worker, which I did not think utilized my skills, education and experience. For a couple of years I took various jobs that did not fit my background including working as a high school teacher and secretary since I needed to feed my children. These jobs offered neither the career I was seeking nor the salary commensurate with my experience.

BPW JFMPlogo.lowWhile working, I continued to look for a more rewarding and financially secure position. I returned to school to begin a master’s program in accounting. But looking for a job while managing the demands of work, school and motherhood, I became discouraged. I knew I needed help, so I turned to the internet to see what career resources might be available for a woman veteran. I was very fortunate to find Business and Professional Women’s Foundation, a non-profit organization that runs a free career mentoring program for women veterans, Joining Forces Mentoring Plus®. What attracted me to their program was that working women volunteers mentor women veterans (like me) to help us navigate a path to successful civilian careers, and even pursue entrepreneurial opportunities. Participants can access a free “high-tech/high-touch” internet community that includes experienced women mentors as coaches, navigators and supporters.

I immediately signed up and was assigned a wonderfully accomplished mentor, Sandy Smith. Sandy worked with me one-on-one and was persistent in offering advice and support on everything from interviewing skills to resume development. She pushed me, checking on how many resumes I sent out each day. She helped me create a new mindset that gave me the courage to apply for positions that previously I wouldn’t have thought possible. In 2012, I was hired as an auditor by the U.S. Defense Contract Audit Agency. I am happy to report that my salary at this job was twice what I had been making previously. After landing the job, Sandy, my mentor, did not leave me on my own but coached me on office etiquette and protocols necessary to successfully navigate the civilian sector workplace. All of Sandy’s mentoring and coaching paid off: I love my job and feel my career is now on very solid ground.

But even though I love my job, I have always dreamed of owning my own business. With Sandy’s encouragement and sustained mentoring last year, I started an online store that sells my own brand of tea. I am very excited that Mystic Reme Teas is currently in the final selection round to appear on Shark Tank. If I am chosen, I will be seeking funding to open my own tea bar.

I truly believe none of this would have happened without the personal mentoring and wide array of career resources offered by BPW Foundation. It was so successful for me because it was designed by and for women. Generic veteran-based employment and career development programs too often miss the unique elements and needs that matter most to women veterans. We need awareness and guidance about available support and employment resources, and programs that support and recognize the multiple roles impacting women veterans and their access to jobs.

I can attest to the fact that women leaving the service often face unique challenges including single motherhood or care giving for family members, including wounded warriors. Also women veterans often do not identify as veterans and don’t know they can access a wide array of benefits. We are frequently looked at differently from our fellow male veterans. Women who served in war zones are often not afforded the same level of prestige as their male counterparts.

Thanks to the generous support of BPW Foundation and its partners such as Alliant Credit Union Foundation, Booz Allen Hamilton, Cengage Learning, Citi, CVS Caremark, and others, there is no cost to participate in this mentoring program – it’s absolutely free for the women who participate.

Thank you for this opportunity to share my story and tell you about the resources that helped me begin my successful career and start my business. I hope that other women veterans will benefit from my experience and that the committee will support programs that are tailored for the challenges and needs that our women veterans face as they seek meaningful lives after our time in the military

Click here to read Dawn’s full testimony

Posted in Career Advancement, Joining Forces for Women Veterans, Small Business, Uncategorized, Women Veterans | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Honoring Military Nurse Irene Trowell-Harris

Posted by Crystal Williams on May 7, 2014

Irene Trowell-Harris: Helping Nurses Take a Leadership Roles

Helping Nurses Take a Leadership Role in Healthcare Policy Irene Trowell-Harris, R.N. Ed.D, served as Director of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Center for Women Veterans from 2001-13. READ MORE

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Honoring Military Nurse Marsha Four

Posted by Crystal Williams on May 6, 2014

Marsha Four: Bringing humanity to veteran transitions through mentoring

On National Nurse’s Day, BPW Foundation is proud to honor and recognize the nurses who give so much of themselves personally and professionally to care for all of us. Thank you! We are also pleased to recognize Marsha Four, BPW Foundation Women Joining Forces Advisory Council Member and current National Vice President of Vietnam Veterans of America , who has dedicated her life to this profession and to serving our country.

Marsha Four is a Vietnam in- country veteran who served on active duty with the Army Nurse Corps from 1967 to 1970.  READ MORE

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Join Business and Professional Women’s Foundation in Honoring Military Nurses during National Nurses Week May 6-12, 2014

Posted by Crystal Williams on May 6, 2014

Military Nurses have a legacy of compassion and dedication, not only because they care for our wounded and ill, but for being committed patient advocates.  Please join us in recognizing the selfless service of our Military Nurses as we celebrate National Nurses Week, which begins each year on May 6th and ends on May 12th, the birthday of Florence Nightingale.  This year’s theme is “Nurses Leading the Way.” Read More


milnurse infograph


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¿Qué Pasa, USA?  Latinas: Wage Gap & Poverty

Posted by Crystal Williams on April 8, 2014

Living below the poverty level is the harsh reality for over 40% of Latina-headed households, according to the National Partnership for Women & Families “Latinas and the Wage Gap”.  The disparity in earnings is crushing their families: Latinas working full time earn an average of 54 cents for every dollar that a white, non-Hispanic man makes.  The lower wages also affects 40% of the married Latinas who bring in half or more of the household income.  In some states the pay gap is wider and thus more painful, as in New Jersey where they typically earn a meager 43 cents for every dollar their white, non-Hispanic male counterparts are paid.  How does your state  and  Congressional District rank?

Women on average earn 77 cents for every dollar paid to men (a recent report states that women working for the Obama Administration are paid less than 87 cents for every dollar that their male co-workers make).  However, Latinas are making less, as noted below by Catalyst, based on information from the Bureau of Labor:



California, the state with the largest Latino residents, Latinas comprise 37% of the female population and make up 54% of the women living in poverty – which typically means also having the least amount of education.  In a state where female immigrants outnumber the men, The Economic Status of Latinas report has outlined economic policy recommendations to assist communities achieve equality by, among many suggestions, providing job development training, reviewing the existing wage gap and ensuring that Latinas are paid fairly for their work, increasing grants for female students seeking higher education and creating retirement programs for all income levels.  The report further states “despite many opportunities for improvement, current trends demonstrate that Latinas are positioned to have increasingly stronger impacts on political, business, education and government sectors across the state and the nation.”

In the Economic Status of Women of Color, the Department of Labor estimates that throughout a Latina’s lifetime, the difference in pay amounts to about $854,000.  This loss of income affects their household as there is less money available for education, food, housing, childcare, and other basic necessities.  It is an economic issue that affects the entire family.


Due to the loss of income created by the disparity in salaries, Latinas will likely collect less from Social Security and  pensions (if available), have less investments and money in the bank for their retirement years.


“Marta gets her Master’s  and lost her Mister

Cultural differences exist for some first generation U.S. Latinas entering the workforce and seeking higher education, as noted in Episode 12 (Juana Gets Smart) of ¿Qué Pasa, U.S.A.?a bilingual situation comedy about a multi-generation Cuban-American family living in Little Havana (Miami, Florida), and filmed in the late 1970’s.  This particular program pokes fun at the “machismo” mentality of the stereotypical (and old fashioned) Hispanic male.  Juana is encouraged by her boss to attend night school and acquire accounting skills in order to be promoted to bookkeeper.  The new position would come with a pay raise – she would now make more money than her husband, Pepe.  When Juana announces that she will be going to night school to get her bookkeeping certification, her father informs her that “Marta got her Master’s and lost her Mister“.   Juana’s parents live with her, Pepe and their two teenage children.  She persisted, received her certification and salary increase and as an added bonus, in the process started a paradigm shift in the Latino community.

College educated Latinas are also facing the wage gap, as noted in a study by NerdScholar.  About 2 million women earned a degree of higher education in 2010 versus 1.3 million men, but they are earning 82% of what men earn, according to NerdScholar.  Another study conducted by Ohio State University and co-authored by Professor Rachel Dwyer, finds that “at least early in their careers, women suffer more than men if they don’t have a college degree”.  Well, Marta, looks like you better go for that Master’s degree after all.

Education matters, as the research from “The Simple Truth about the Gender Pay Gap” demonstrates:


Education helps close the pay gap, but it isn’t the whole story.

Women are Economic Assets

Women are the most underutilized economic asset in the world’s economy,” says Angel Gurría, the secretary-general of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.  We live in the richest, most powerful country on earth.  Immigrant families, like mine and millions others, risk their lives, they leave behind their loved ones and their homeland, for the promise of a better life.  Why?  Because this is the land of opportunity.  We are here to work hard, make sacrifices and provide our children and future generations with the American dream.  We can bolster the economy if and when we are paid fair wages.

Latinas are making decisions for major purchases in their homes, Nielsen says in their Latina Power Shift report.  We (Hispanics) are 52 million strong and have a collective purchasing power of $1.2 trillion.  According to Nielsen’s research “Hispanic women are a key growth engine of the U.S. female population and are expected to become 30 percent of the total female population by 2060.”  Apparently marketers are closely following our purchasing habits and they now realize that we are the driving force in our homes.

As we pursue higher education and some of us become “empresarias” (entrepreneurs), we need to have our voices heard (with our votes) and push legislators to make serious economic policy changes so we can all live the beautiful American dream.

Let’s eliminate the rampant wage disparities.  So I ask, ¿Qué Pasa, USA?

VBO CroppedVilma Betancourt-O’Day is the 2013 Co-Secretary of Metropolitan Business and Professional Women North Carolina and founder of Women Wrule, Mujeres Mandan, an organization focusing on helping Women and Minority Owned Micro and Small Businesses achieve M/W/SBE Certifications and grow their business through Government Contracting and Supplier Diversity Programs.  She is a Cuban exile and Naturalized US Citizen;  her husband, children, grandchildren and Shih Tzu, Cocoa Chanel, rock her world.






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2014 Business and Professional Women’s Foundation Recognizes Contributions Made by Joining Forces Mentoring plus Champions Women in History – Making History Event

Posted by Crystal Williams on March 26, 2014

2014 BPW Foundation Women in History – Making History Event Recap

Last week, Business and Professional Women’s (BPW) Foundation welcomed over 250 guests at the United States Navy Memorial in Washington, D.C. for the organization’s 2nd annual event celebrating women veterans of all ranks and eras, military/veteran spouses, caregivers of wounded warriors, and survivors of fallen service members. Partners, sponsors, and champions of BPW Foundation’s Joining Forces Mentoring Plus® (JFMP) career development program shared employment tools and resources to broaden program engagement and provide networking opportunities for JFMP participants.

BPW Foundation CEO Deborah Frett welcomed the audience, and Dalena Kanouse, President and Chief Executive Officer, MTCI delivered a heartwarming keynote about how she ended up at the helm of MTCI after the death of her military veteran husband. “It wasn’t until the day before he passed away that Sam told me that he wanted me to take over the company.”

Jackie Bradford, NBC4 President and General Manager, kicked off a series of two career development panels moderated by NBC4 anchor Erika Gonzalez. Participants on the first panel, “Tools & Resources for the Civilian Workplace,” included Christine Ayers (PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP), Ellen Gardner (Citi), Kia Silver Hodge (Northrop Grumman Corporation), and Beverly VanTull (Bon Secours). Jennifer Finder (BAE Systems), Wendy Warren (NBC4), and Crystal Williams (BPW Foundation and MetaLogix, Inc) led the second panel, “Social Media Strategies for Career Success. Suni Harford, Managing Director & Regional Head of Markets for North America, Citi summarized key learning from both panels.

Career_Tools_graphic_with_Logo  Social_Media_graphic.BPW_Logo
The panel sessions were captured in a graphic recording by Barbara Seigel of Look2listen.com

The networking reception and awards portion of the evening began with a toast from Roslyn Ridgeway, Chair, BPW Foundation Board of Trustees and remarks by Maureen Casey, Managing Director, Military & Veterans Affairs, JPMorgan Chase. Guest speaker Cara G. LaPointe, Commander, United States Navy; White House Fellow, Office of the First Lady spoke on behalf of Honorary Chair First Lady Michelle Obama, “Women’s History Month is an important time to recognize the victories, the struggles and the stories of all women who have made our country what it is–especially those of women veterans and military/veteran spouses who have sacrificed so much for our country.”



A highlight of the evening was the recognition of Joining Forces Mentoring Plus® Champions




Courtney Banks Speath and BPW Board Member Velma Hart

The Angel Outreach Award was presented to Courtney Banks Spaeth by BPW board member Velma Hart for Courtney’s substantial “prospecting” efforts to raise awareness and cultivate critical new financial support for Joining Forces Mentoring Plus® through her personal and professional networks. The founder and Chief Executive Officer of NSAWW, Courtney has broadened the footprint of Joining Forces Mentoring Plus® by introducing new funding prospects, as well as resources and career opportunities for JFMP participants. Her efforts have led to new partnerships that will enhance and expand the program’s reach and capacity within the national security and defense contractor arenas and beyond.




BPW Trustee Leslie Wilkins and Dave Mooney President and CEO of Alliant Credit Union

BPW Trustee Leslie Wilkins and Dave Mooney President and CEO of Alliant Credit Union

BPW Trustee Leslie Wilkins and Dave Mooney President and CEO of Alliant Credit Union Leslie Wilkins, BPW Trustee traveled from Hawaii to present the Innovative Programming Award to Alliant Credit Union Foundation for providing critical financial literacy resources for Joining Forces Mentoring Plus® participants. Dave Mooney, President and CEO of Alliant Credit Union, was one of the first private sector leaders to pledge his company’s support during our 2010 Joining Forces for Women Veterans Summit. Since then, Alliant Credit Union has championed Joining Forces Mentoring Plus®, contributing both funding and valuable employee resources to building the program’s inventory of financial tools. Thanks to Alliant, every JFMP participant can access confidential, free one-to-one financial counseling, planning, and more as they strive to achieve financial security for themselves, their families, and their businesses.


Christine Hoisington, Pamela Hardy, Robin Portman with Booze Allen Hamilton and BPW Board Member Venita Garvin

Christine Hoisington, Pamela Hardy, Robin Portman with Booz Allen Hamilton and BPW Board Member Venita Garvin

Venita Garvin, BPW Board, presented the Action with Compassion Award to Booz Allen Hamilton for the company’s ongoing support for military and veteran families. Robin Portman, Booz Allen Hamilton Executive VP, first approached BPW Foundation with an idea to expand JFMP resources to meet the complex employment needs of female caregivers of wounded warriors. Robin opened her heart—and Booz Allen Hamilton’s purse—assembling a team that has grown to build and serve a robust caregiver community through JFMP online as well as at Walter Reed Hospital.






Rosalyn Ridgeway BPW Chair, Mimi Zelman BPW NC President, Crystal Williams BPW NC Women Joining Forces Chair

Rosalyn Ridgeway BPW Chair, Mimi Zelman BPW NC President, Crystal Williams BPW NC Women Joining Forces Chair

Rosalyn Ridgeway, BPW Chair was happy to present the Grassroots Award -BPW North Carolina for being an “early adopter” of the Women Joining Forces Program and substantial, successful community grassroots efforts to raise awareness and cultivate support for Joining Forces Mentoring Plus® throughout North Carolina. They have reached out to women veterans and included them in the many activities, workshops and conferences designed to support working women. BPW/NC members exemplify BPW Foundation’s motto “Working Women Helping Women Work.”


Check out our Honor Wall

Please visit our virtual Honor Wall, and honor the patriotism of women veterans, military/veteran spouses, female caregivers of wounded warriors, survivors of fallen service members, and the women who impact your life.  Click Here


Giving Thanks

We are grateful to the generous sponsors whose contributions made this wonderful event possible!


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