The American Business Women’s Association was founded in 1949 by Hilary A. Bufton, Jr., a Kansas City businessman who recognized the economic impact of the growing number of women in the workplace. He saw their great potential as well as the need for a professional organization to support them in meeting their career goals.
ABWA has dedicated over 60 years to women’s education, providing workplace skills and career development training. With 15,000 members in 450 chapters across the country, ABWA is the largest professional women’s organization in the United States. Its focus remains on professional development and leadership opportunities through education-based programming and chapter boards and committees. The ABWA community is diverse and rich in experience, and its members are eager to share their expertise and lessons learned with each other.
In 1983 and 1986, joint congressional resolutions were passed designating a national observance of Sept. 22, the anniversary of ABWA’s founding, as American Business Women’s Day. Following each resolution, President Ronald Reagan issued a presidential proclamation. September 22 is still observed today by ABWA members around the country.
The New York City chapter was founded in 1983 by Rosemarie Cerminaro, a long-time member of ABWA in Kansas City. When Ro relocated to New York and couldn’t find a group that offered similar camaraderie and support, she decided to start a new chapter. Together with a core group of professional associates, she led ABWA NYC through several decades of growth. Like its sister chapters around the country, ABWA NYC has helped hundreds of women learn skills to accelerate their career and business success, while making friends and having fun in the process.
Dr. Selma K. Bartholomew has more than 20 years of experience as an educator and leader. She is an entrepreneur—owner of the educational company Legacy Pathways (www.partnerwithlegacy.com) working to improve the quality of K-12 education and making schools a place of passion and innovation for ALL children. Selma is committed to creating a diverse professional community that empowers and enables all members to thrive.
Connect with Lisa on LinkedIn
DellaPorte is a global impact leader, international educator and entrepreneur, experienced in empowering communities through social justice practices, professional development, and programming. She has more than 10 years of experience in event development, organizational building, and business management. Lisa was awarded a MS in Humanistic and Multicultural Education from SUNY at New Paltz, working abroad in Ecuador and empowering students around environmental issues. Lisa just completed an entrepreneurial program designed to elevate performance by encouraging teamwork.
Connect with Alicja on LinkedIn
Alicja is a licensed certificate public accountant and has over 12 years of professional experience working at WithumSmith + Brown, PC. She establishes effective business operations and assists in increasing profitability. Alicja is a resident of Brooklyn and enjoys traveling and cooking.
Connect With Samantha on LinkedIn
Samantha Nzessi is from France and California. She received her B.A. in Film and in History at University of California, Santa Cruz and worked in technology before moving to New York to pursue a career in casting for film and TV. She eventually changed her mind and went on to pursue her M.S. in translation from NYU, after which she worked as a project manager in translation. She is now a freelance translator, writer, editor and consultant. She comes to ABWA eager to make a difference for women locally and around the world.
ABWA NYC Board Members
Dr. Susan R. Meyer, Member-at-large