ABWA Imperial River meets requirements for new chapter installation
ESTERO, FL – ABWA Imperial River Chapter “in formation” has successfully met the requirements for new chapter installation in the American Business Women’s Association. Women of the organization attended a formal installation ceremony and celebration on Wednesday December 13th at at Holiday Inn Fort Myers Airport
Nearly two years ago, a half-dozen professional women from existing ABWA chapters in Southwest Florida realized that a growing area of the region was underserved by the organization. “We had chapters in Fort Myers and in Naples, but nothing in between,” says Erin White, Vice President of the Sanibel-Captiva Charter Chapter, and owner of Paradise Coast Consulting in Fort Myers. “We knew that professional women in Estero and Bonita Springs deserved an opportunity to develop and grow in a nurturing, supportive environment”.
The new formation team busied themselves with building monthly professional development programming, presented in a relaxed dinner-and-networking setting. Early support and enthusaism from the management at Holiday Inn Fort Myers Airport contributed greatly toward the success of the new formation. Local luminaries such as Tiffany Esposito (Bonita Springs Chamber of Commerce), Connie Ramos-Williams (Conric PR & Marketing), and Suzanne Specht (Small Business Development Center at FGCU) were among the Imperial River Chapter’s earliest speakers. More recently, speakers have included Jason Dolle of Testimonial Tree, Jude Griffin (CEO, Southwest Florida Transportation), and Melanie Payne of the News-Press (formerly known as “Tell Mel”).
Shelia Bedwell, long-time member of the Palms of Edisonia Chapter in Fort Myers, eagerly lent her wisdom and expertise to the formation of the Imperial River Chapter. “The members of Imperial River are the most gracious, caring ladies and are constantly lifting each other up,” Shelia says. “We are an awesome group!”
Debra Lee Nashed is the owner of Debonair Concierge Travel, and the current ABWA Southwest Florida Council “Woman of the Year”. Nashed states, “It was quite an accomplishment to enroll enough new members to become an official chapter of ABWA! We have a wonderful group of women supporting each other.”
The formation team was led by former Lee County Guardian Ad Litum, Lynda Rubenstein, a veteran past officer of several ABWA chapters, and the current Vice President of ABWA’s Southwest Florida Council. “My mood brightens when I enter the meeting room and am greeted by the incredible women of the Imperial River Chapter of ABWA,” says Rubenstein. “Their diverse professions and personalities have meshed like a beautiful symphony. I am so proud to have been a member of the formation team that successfully created our Chapter”.
The new formation attracted more ABWA star power in the form of Christine Wright, attorney and owner at Wright Law Firm, P.A. in Cape Coral. Wright serves on the ABWA National Ambassador Steering Committee, and guided the Imperial River formation every step of the way. “As the ambassador adviser to the Imperial River Chapter formation, I have had the pleasure of working with a dynamic group of women,” says Wright. “Working together as a team, we have continued the mission of ABWA, by bringing women together and providing opportunities for them to grow through leadership, education, networking support and national recognition”. Wright conducted the installation ceremony on behalf of ABWA’s national organization.
ABOUT ABWA: The mission of the American Business Women’s Association is to bring together business women of diverse occupations and to provide opportunities for them to help themselves and others grow personally and professionally through leadership, education, networking support and national recognition.