The Women's Professional Forum began in 1977 by a small group of professional women who were looking for a sense of friendship, community, and support from like-minded women. The 1970s were a tough time for professional women. It was extremely difficult to launch professional careers or to be promoted in male dominated professions. Obtaining loans of any kind without a husband's or father's name on the mortgage was not easy and yet it was a time of significant change. American Express was a pioneer in issuing credit cards to women without male cosigners. The group initially met at the City Club but did not feel welcomed by their male counterparts. The mood of that period was definitely a challenge, but we have persevered. Our group has flourished thanks to strong, talented and determined women. We now have 173 members representing around 30 different occupational categories. A private "invitation only" membership organization has emerged.
Women have joined for many reasons: to form friendships with other professional women, to form business connections, to find support from like-minded women, to exchange information and ideas, to share experiences with one another, to socialize and have fun together. The WPF Foundation was formed in 1984. We now offer grants and scholarships to young women as they begin their professional lives. This is a fulfilling way to give back to other women who are embarking on their life careers. It is our turn to become mentors. In 2012, The Foundation began two new projects: 1) training young women to be leaders, and 2) encouraging young girls to consider science and technology as fields of study. Both are lofty goals, but the talent is within our group to accomplish these worthy endeavors.
Set a young woman's imagination on fire by sharing this bit of science trivia. The same year that WPF was formed (1977), NASA launched two satellites, Voyager I and Voyager II. More than 35 years after they were launched, they are now at the edge of our solar system (the most distant human-made objects in the universe). They are travelling at around nine to eleven miles per second. Each satellite has only 68 kilobytes of computer memory (the smallest iPod -an 8 gigabyte iPod Nano- is a hundred thousand times more powerful!). Both satellites are still sending information back to Earth. It takes 17 hours to receive Voyager I's radio signal and around 13 hours to receive Voyager II's signal. NASA is on an important mission and so are we.