Women Inspiring Women Leaders - American Business Women's Association

ABWA The American Business Women’s Association Fredericksburg Chapter also known as Women Inspiring Women Leaders, is devoted to bringing together women of diverse backgrounds and careers, and provides them with opportunities to grow within the business community. The national ABWA was founded in 1949, with chapters eventually popping up throughout the country. ABWA has chapters in almost all 50 states, including Virginia; specifically, ABWA has a chapter in Fredericksburg.

Becky Wagner is the president and founder of the Fredericksburg Chapter of ABWA. She originally joined the Northern Virginia chapter of ABWA, which was unfortunately disbanded. Wagner, along with her colleagues Dee Meyers and Jovita Miller, strive to invest in the members of ABWA in Fredericksburg. Wagner said that ABWA has resources and opportunities that women may not find through their employers. 

According to Meyers, since there are more women starting businesses than men, they have gained a new perspective as to what they want to do in their careers. Meyers believes COVID-19 played a substantial part in women’s re-evaluations of their careers and lives, and led them to ABWA. 

“Work harder on yourself than your business,” Meyers said, “We do a lot of that at ABWA.”

According to Miller, a computer engineer by trade, the IT field has a serious lack of women representation. In her 20 years in IT, she has consistently been the only woman in a meeting. She hopes that ABWA can provide women with the tools needed to start a business in the IT field, as well as other fields. While there may be roadblocks in their paths to success, Miller encourages women to look past the setbacks. She said that women can move forward with what they can control, and what they can achieve. 

Meyers hopes that ABWA can be an organization for women to feel comfortable and learn more about how to launch their businesses. After the COVID-19 pandemic, more women are able to start businesses from home. Meyers said that this provides women with more opportunities for how to start a business. 

ABWA is evolving daily, and the Fredericksburg chapter is working hard to find what Fredericksburg needs from them. Currently the chapter has 21 members. According to Wagner, ABWA in Fredericksburg provides women with national connections through other chapters. She said that connecting ABWA members on a national scale only further builds possibilities and opportunities for them. 

“We want you to feel like you are connected to something that’s bigger than you,” Wagner said, “Gain the confidence you need to step outside of yourself.”

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