and early 1980s that catered to the challenges and concerns of
businesswomen, many career-driven women felt isolated and
oftentimes were not treated as equal to their male colleagues.
“Starting in the 1980s, professional women could and did
join national organizations that had local branches,” says
Dorothy Kamm, publicity chair for print media of the Port St.
Lucie Business Women’s group. “But at the time, PSL did not
have a local branch and women could not hold office within
NO WELCOME MAT
The Jaycees did not admit women until 1984 after a Minnesota
Supreme Court ruled “that the requirement that the
Jaycees accept women as regular members did not unduly
tread on male members’ freedom of association.”
Lions Club International allowed women to participate in
Lioness auxiliary programs and finally admitted women in
1987. After more than 20 years of trying to allow women to
join, the U.S Supreme Court ruled that Rotary International
was to welcome women around the world to its group.
“While women were finally admitted to be part of these
groups, many of the men were not welcoming and sometimes
created a very hostile environment for the women,”
Kamm says. “Additionally, the career women of Port St.
Lucie did not want to join organizations on the coattails of
their husbands; they wanted to play a larger role and have a
In one of the early planning meetings, the charter members met and
discussed the group’s future. Pictured, left to right, are: Susie Barber, Marie
Houghton, Charlotte DeVane, MaryJane McMartin, Helen Roberts, Strelsa
Schreiber, Lee Murphy and Joy Nix.
WOMEN SHARED A VISION
These women did not accept the status-quo of remaining in
the background. They remained strong and worked hard to
pave the way for women to succeed in today’s world.
After meetings with other professional women who shared
the vision to better themselves and their careers, the local
foursome founded Port St. Lucie Business Women on Sept.
30, 1980. The organization started with 21 charter members, a
few goals and a mission that expanded over the years.
“The women wanted to feel a part of the community and
have an organization where they would be able to discuss
workplace challenges, serve as mentors and enjoy the camaraderie
of other women business owners and managers,”
Dorothy Kamm, print
media chair, says
that even during a
pandemic, the group
has continued its
work as avid community
in the business world.
When Dr. Joyce Brothers was a keynote speaker at a PSLBW hosted
seminar in 1984, the club raised about $3,000 in scholarships funds. Helping
with the event are, seated, left to right, Gloria Worrilow and Debbie
Mason; standing, from left, Nina Baranski, Helen Ridsdale, Debbie Craft,
Pamela Perona and Roberta Jensen.
Kamm says. “They knew they had a lot to give to this young
city to make it the best place to live.”
The women believed their shared talents, intelligence and
motivations would positively impact the community where
they lived and worked; and they were so very right.
The first fundraiser the group participated in benefited the
city’s proposed Youth Community Center. The building still
stands at Prima Vista Boulevard near the Ravenswood Swimming
Pool and Port St. Lucie Branch Library.
FOUND STILL ACTIVE
Lee Hicks, one of the founding members, is also the only
charter member still active today. >>
Port St. Lucie Magazine 13