Maryland has 17 BPW chapters. Each has selected a Woman of the Year and an Employer of the Year. Hagerstown's 2003 honorees are Teresa Ferenz, the local 2003-04 president, and the Western Maryland Consortium.
On Oct. 19, from noon to 3 p.m., the Hagerstown club will welcome the Business and Professional Women USA for a 75th anniversary awards luncheon at Fountainhead Country Club. A national Woman of the Year will be announced.
The Hagerstown Business and Professional Women's Club began in 1936 and still has one charter member, Ruth Renner. Renner says she worked in accounting at Sharrett Inc. when it was strictly a Volkswagen dealership.
"I worked for 33 years, well past retirement age," she says. She served as club president in 1963 and 1964 and was named the 1977 Woman of the Year. Renner says, modestly, "I suppose I have a lot of experience."
Marlene Spielman, 65, a bookkeeper at Ted's Rent-It Centers and the club treasurer, has been a member for four years. With about 35 active members, Spielman adds, "We are always looking for younger people all the time."
Dawn M. Joppey, a bookkeeper and Mary Kay consultant, joined the club in January 2003 after being recruited by Ferenz, who attends the same church as Joppey. Joppey says, "It's a nice club. It covers a lot of women's issues."
Ferenz seems to be somewhat of an attraction herself. Tina Rice, a single mother who works as a waitress and as a cashier at a grocery store, says, "(Ferenz) suggested that I might be interested, so I figured I'd come."
About 25 women gathered Monday in the Crystal Ballroom. The formal mission of the organization is "to achieve economic self-sufficiency for all women in the workplace through advocacy, education and information."
Club meetings are on the first Monday of every month (except for Labor Day) and feature keynote speakers and highlight a business. Guests this month were Catherine Schoen, 50, of the family-owned Green Spring Water Company and president of the Washington County Commission for Women; Betina Breise, owner of Betina Breise Gifts; and Linda Smith, 55, president of the local chapter of the National Organization for Women and an independent pharmacy consultant.
For more information, call Ferenz at 301-797-2118, or send e-mail to email@example.com.