Five years ago Providence Business News began the Business Women Awards program. It was one of the best decisions we ever made.
By shining a spotlight on the talented and dedicated women working in southeastern New England, many of them employed in positions that do not give them high visibility, PBN has been able to present a more accurate picture of the dynamism of the Ocean State economy.
From entrepreneurs to bank CEOs and everything in between, you, our readers, have gotten to know more than 100 honorees in the last five years. If you didn’t understand it instinctively, you now know for sure just how important women are to the success of so many of the enterprises in the state.
But as important as the stories that we do about these outstanding women are – both in this special section and in the monthly feature stories we do in the regular pages of PBN – our yearly Business Women luncheon may be the best part of the program.
I cannot explain just why it is so, but the gathering of current and past winners, as well as their friends, colleagues and family, is one of the most high-spirited events of the year. The businesswomen who attend not only get the advantage of hearing about the great things that others are accomplishing, which is quite inspiring on its own, they get to network with the best that Rhode Island and environs have to offer. I leave each year’s event energized in a way that does not happen at any of our other recognition programs.
Another constant in the Business Women program has been this year’s presenting sponsor, Bank Rhode Island. The bank and its CEO at the time, Merrill W. Sherman (who won last year’s Business Women career achievement award), recognized the need for this program, and have been involved ever since. It has been a significant investment for the bank, but one that has produced many tangible benefits for the community. And just like PBN’s decision to take on this program five years ago, one of the best they have made. •