The year is 1918, the place the Ann Fulton Cafeteria, New York, New York. In assembly were 100 representative women of the United States to consider the possibility of forming a group that was destined to be “not just another womanâ€˜s organization” but to be within a quarter of a century one of the strongest sources of unified woman power in the nation.
This is now history and it is a time to look back and a time to look forward.
Will the current ___________ officers of the _____________________ BPW please stand?
You have served the _____________________ well and will go down in its history for the year ___________. We thank you for a job very well done!
The officers before you have worked hard along with the committee chairs and committee members to make it all possible.
Some of the officers in front of you will be serving again for the year _____________________, and some will be working hard in other capacities in this organization. All the members of the _____________________ are grateful for your hard work. Thank you for your service! You may be seated.
The year 2005 marked the 86th anniversary of the founding of the National Federation of BPW Clubs. In 1919 there were about 600 BPW clubs already in existence, but no national federation.
It was in July 1919 that those 212 women delegates met in St. Louis to form a national
organization of women in business and the professions. This was a revolutionary step, coming as it did on the heels of the suffrage movement. Their aims were to have an organization for working women so that all women would have equal pay for equal work, and equality under the law. As the saying goes, “We’ve come a long way baby” but we still have a long way to go.
You all have heard the phrase “History in the making!” Well, that is what is going on right now. History in the making. History isn’t somewhere back in 1919, history is that breath you just took and the word you just said.
Also, one of the catch phrases of this day and age is “role model” and “mentor”. Everyone has to have, and should be, a role model or a mentor.
So this evening, I am combining “history” and “role models” in this installation.
Will the newly elected officers of the _____________________ please come forward as I call your name…
District Directors â€“ You are a kind of guide for the local organizations in your territory. You, too, can help them obtain resources from within the area, from the state federation, and from national BPW. Your experience and resourcefulness will be a great help to the local organizations that you serve.
Directors, do you promise to carry out the duties of District Directors to the best of your ability and give your best efforts to achieve BPWâ€˜s mission? DDs say, “I DO.” Thank you, and congratulations on your election as District Director! You may be seated.
Please welcome _____________________, Treasurer _____________________, you have been elected Treasurer of the Washington Federation of BPW. The first treasurer for the National Federation was Gratia L. Rice from Bridgeport, CT. History doesnâ€™t relay too much about her, but I am sure that she suffered some of the same pangs you will suffer as Treasurer. It was said that the first duty of the delegates at the 1919 convention was to see that their clubs send in dues for each member. These dues were a tremendous 25Â¢ per member. Jill, as you know, it is still the responsibility of the Treasurer to see that all members are recommitted and insure they have paid their dues directly to National. Yours also is the responsibility of keeping accurate records of all funds and disbursement and reporting on these funds in a timely manner. You are expected to fulfill these duties in a professional and competent manner.
Will you, _____________, promise to do the duties of Treasurer for the Washington Federation of BPW Federation? She says “I DO.”
Would you please light your white candle of integrity to signify that you accept these responsibilities? I give you this woman sculpture, standing on one foot to signify the balancing act you will be engaged in during your tenure as Treasurer of the Washington Federation of BPW. Please step to my right.
___________________, you have been elected as Recording Secretary of the Washington Federation of BPW. The first Recording Secretary of the National Federation was Orra E. Carroll. Unfortunately, there isn’t too much recorded about Ms. Carroll, but I’m sure her minutes were of the highest order, for those first National officers had to be exceptional because the success of the new organization rested upon their shoulders. The written record of the meetings of the _____________________ is now on your shoulders, _______________, your duties are to keep an accurate record of the proceedings of each business meeting. This does not mean you have to take down every word, but you should record the important words and be wise enough to decipher which ones they are! Your minutes will be the historical record of the _____________________ so they should be accurate and informative but not too long. Yours is a job of finality, of tedious attention to detail and accuracy.
______________, do you promise to fulfill the duties of the Recording Secretary of the _____________________? She says “I DO.”
Would you please light your white candle of understanding to signify that you accept these responsibilities? I give you this woman sculpture, â€•scribingâ€– to signify the accurate records you will keep during your tenure as Recording Secretary of the _____________________. Please step to my right.
Please welcome, _____________________, Vice President _____________________ you have been elected as Vice President of the _____________________. The first Vice President of the National Federation was Eugenia Wallace, originally from Texas, but later from New York. Most of what was written about Ms. Wallace called attention to how different she was from the President. It also said that she had distinguished herself at the convention for suavity, grace and diplomacy. It was said that she had a never-failing smile and rare elocution powers. She was gentle, but firm, and always convincing. These are good attributes for a Vice President. You are responsible for coordinating with the Standing and Special Committees to insure the goals and vision of the State are communicated throughout the membership. You will find that being gentle or firm will accomplish miracles. If, at any time the President and President Elect is unable to serve, _____________________, as Vice President, you will be called upon to fill in for them.
_____________________, do you promise to fulfil these duties? She says, “I DO.”
Would you please light your white candle of knowledge to signify that you accept these responsibilities of working closely with the Committee Chairs? I give you this woman sculpture, reaching out to others to signify your mentoring and role model role during your tenure as Vice President of the _____________________. Please step to my right.
Please welcome, _____________________, President Elect _____________________, as President Elect, you are the alter ego of the President. It is your responsibility to carry out the duties and efforts of the President should she become incapacitated. You are her right and left hands. As such, you will also learn from her, but she will also learn from you and the Washington Federation of BPW will benefit from each of you. Yours is a mission to learn, to adapt, and to help where you can and yet listen to direction from those who have experience in BPW.
_____________________, do you accept the office of President Elect of the _____________________ and promise to fulfill the duties thereof. She says “I DO.”
Would you please light your white candle of sisterhood to signify that you accept these “shadowing” responsibilities? I give you this woman sculpture, that goes arm-in-arm with the Vice President to signify your role of assisting your President during your tenure as President Elect of the _____________________. Please step to my right.
Now it is my pleasure to introduce _____________________, new President of the _____________________!
_____________________, The first president of the National Federation was Gail Laughlin. She was born in Maine, but ultimately went west to California â€“ even though the admonition was to “Go west, young man!” She was a lawyer, but most of all she was a woman dedicated to bettering the circumstances of all women. She was described as “A woman of intellect, but not of cloistered academician; an accomplished, seasoned fighter for womenâ€˜s rights, but not one who would concentrate on one battle and lose sight of the big war; one who was well versed in parliamentary procedure, but not a certified parliamentarian; a highly articulate, trained lawyer but not a believer in laws alone.” Ms. Laughlin, after being elected, traveled by train throughout the United States.
_____________________, the President of the _____________________ has to have many of these same attributes. You will be called upon to attend many meetings, to conduct your own Federationâ€˜s meetings and to do a myriad of other things. You represent the membership of _____________________ at all times and you speak for its members. You will act as an advisor to your officers and committee chairmen and, in general, supervise the affairs of the _____________________. You direct the Treasurer in the disbursement of funds and the recording secretary in the keeping of records. It is your job to direct your vice president and president elect into the best leadership roles for them and for the _____________________. It is your interest and devotion to the _____________________ that will encourage and stimulate your members to renew their commitment to BPW and its goals.
_____________________, do you promise to carry out the duties and responsibilities of the office of President of the _____________________?
Then I give to you this woman sculpture “on the run”, because that will be exactly how you feel this next year. Would you please light your white candle of leadership to signify that you accept these responsibilities?
Now I call upon the _____________________ members. You elected these Officers standing before you but your duty is not finished. They can perform the duties they are called upon to do, but they can only do them well with your wholehearted support. That is, the re-commitment of each member to support and work for the _____________________ as a whole.
There is much I can say to close this installation. It has been interesting looking into the history of BPW and I recommend that all of you do so too. But, remember, we are the history of the next years. What we do this coming year, will go down as the history of BPW. We can contribute today to the history that will be written tomorrow. Our vision can be as great as was that of those 212 delegates of 1919. We are still struggling to achieve some of the same goals. As we continue to struggle, we need a re-commitment from each member so that another 86 years from now those BPW members will look back and thank us for our hard work and efforts, as we look back today, and are grateful for the efforts of those women in 1919.
I would like to close with a few quotes from Gail Laughlin, the first National President. She said:
“Here is the curious thing: once women get in and they start on a certain policy, they will stickâ€”where men won’t… they (women’s clubs) have been started and now we can’t stop them… The success of this organization will depend on every member in it having something to do… It is through cooperation that we are going to make a success of this organization.”
She also said, “the position and opportunities which we have today are ours because noble and courageous women have been willing to pay the price to win them for us. It has not come without strife or struggle. For what we have received, we owe a debt which we must in honor pay, by gaining greater opportunities for the women who come after us.”
Can we do less than our foremothers? Let us all work to make the workplace a better place for women and for all and make the world a better place also.
By the powers invested in me as your installing officer, I declare these officers duly installed to serve the _____________________ for the year _____________________.