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The Springfield BPW (Business and Professional Women’s) Club announced its 2013 award winners earlier this month, and the organization will recognize those winners at its annual breakfast this Friday at Springfield City Hall.
The 2013 Woman of the Year Award went to BPW Club President Ginny White-Schatzke, while Sheila Hourigan and Cassie Robinson were named the 2013 Women of Achievement. Mattingly, Simms, Robinson and McCain, PLLC law firm received the 2013 Business Equity Award.
As club president, White-Schatzke said she wanted to see a club member receive the Woman of the Year Award in 2013, but she didn’t expect the choice the group made.
“It was a surprise and an honor. When we did this for a BPW member, I never thought of myself as receiving this award,” she said. “I was thinking of someone else in the club, so for me, it was truly an honor. It made me feel very humble.”
White-Schatzke is a former Washington County resident, who returned home two years ago after working in sales, corporate marketing management and human resources with Kraft Foods for 30 years. She said the BPW has been her pathway to reconnecting with Washington County.
“I’ve enjoyed the BPW so much. It’s helped me get back into the community, because I was gone for 30 years from here,” she said. “To come back and only be back here a little over two years and win this Woman of the Year Award, that was an honor.”
Hourigan, director of the House of Hope, and Robinson, a former teacher and assistant principal at St. Catherine Elementary School in New Haven and music teacher at St. Dominic, received Women of Achievement Awards for what they’ve been able to accomplish within their careers and the leadership they’ve shown on the job.
As someone who suffers with multiple sclerosis (MS), Robinson said the award meant a reassurance of purpose.
“For me, having MS and being in a wheelchair and being retired from teaching, I sometimes question what my value still is,” she said. “It just gave me validation that I still have a purpose, there are people out there who still appreciate what I do and it just gave me reason to keep on keeping on.”
She said finding out she had won the award was an emotional moment for her.
“When I came home Tuesday afternoon, there was a beautiful ceramic pumpkin sitting on my porch,” Robinson said. “There was a little scroll of paper inside this pumpkin—my nephew, Aaron, was with me and he carried it in—we opened it up and I just cried. It really touched me. I was humbled and I was very honored.”
Robinson also spoke on the significance of the BPW as a non-member who follows the club’s actions, as well as the group’s large following of more than 60 members—the state BPW classifies a club as large after 45 members.
“For the women in the community, (BPW) highlights so many important topics and things that are relevant to women in the workplace and in society and roles that women play every day. They bring attention to the things that need to be improved and they help improve those things,” she said. “(High membership) tells me first off that they care about what they’re doing and they care about women. It also tells me that this is a community where people want to be involved.”
The Business Equity Award is a new one for the BPW in 2013, and is awarded to a business that is a leader in promoting and protecting women’s rights in the workplace. Community contributions, school involvement and membership to local organizations were also factored into Mattingly, Simms, Robinson and McCain being selected for the inaugural award.
A press release stated that the law firm has served the community for nearly 40 years and currently has seven female employees.
Friday’s breakfast open house will begin at 8:30 a.m. at City Hall and continue until 10:30 a.m. The event is open to the public, and friends and family of the award winners are encouraged to attend.
BPW Club officials
President - Virginia “Ginny” White-Schatzke
Vice president - Lisa Haydon
Treasurer - Janice Tingle
Recording secretary - Mary Lynne Fenwick
Corresponding secretary - Darlene Carrico
Executive assistant - Alicia Hale O’Cull
Parliamentarian - Cherry Gibson