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In early April of 2006, a young woman in Greensboro was doing some research into scholarship money available for her to continue her education, when she stumbled across information about the scholarships awarded by the Foundation of Business & Professional Women USA. She starting looking for a local organization in this area and didn’t find one in the immediate area. Although there were BPW chapters across the state, and all over the United States, it had been some time since there was an active group meeting in the Triad.
She contacted the National Headquarters of BPW/USA in Washington DC, who in turn, passed her information on to the BPW/NC State President in Rocky Mount. That young woman, Anita Steward, had a vision of building a local chapter of BPW because of the opportunities for personal and professional growth that the organization provides to its members. Her goal was for this organization to become the leading advocate for women in the Triad and to become the largest local chapter in the state.
Anita talked to her friends and her co-workers as well as everyone she came into contact with about BPW, and before more than a couple of months had passed, the first informational meeting was held at the Volvo Group North America campus where Anita worked. By August of 2006, the bylaws were being written, and the process of becoming incorporated as a non profit was well on the way. BPW of the Triad received its charter at their first Open House in October of 2006 and 21 charter members were recognized at that event. In July of 2007 BPW/NC received the National Membership award from BPW/USA at the Reno, Nevada National Conference as a result of the membership growth of BPW of the Triad.
Under Anita’s leadership the organization hosted a Conference on Women’s issues in the spring of 2007; adopted a single parent family and gave them not only necessities for their home, but Thanksgiving dinner, and Christmas gifts for the children. That support continued with back to school supplies in the fall. Anita accepted the position of Scholarship Chair for the BPW/NC Foundation in 2007 and with a selection committee of members from our organization was instrumental in the awarding of three scholarships with a total value of $4000 at our State Conference in June 2007. Anita has inspired each and every one of the members of this group with her enthusiasm and energy to give their best to better the lives of women in our community. Anita often used a quote from the poet, Audre Lorde in her communications; which said: “We must be the change we wish to see in the world.”
Anita completed her under graduate degree at High Point College May of 2007, In large part, due to her commitment to BPW, Anita put her plans to go on to law school in the fall on hold, and was recently offered and accepted a position in the legal department of a large international company in its Charlotte office. In honor of our founding President, BPW of the Triad established the Anita L Steward – BPWT Scholarship.
BPW of the Triad continues the legacy of its founder with the local organization hosting a regional event for BPW/NC in the spring of 2008; with members of BPWT serving on the State Board of Directors and Board of Trustees for BPW/NC and in the work of the mission statement: “The mission of this local organization shall be to achieve equity for all women in the workplace through advocacy, education and information, and to be the leading advocate for women in the Triad area.”