PWN Mission Statement
The Professional Women’s Network is dedicated to supporting professional and businesswomen in Hawaii, acting on the premise that mutual support is a necessary factor in bringing about personal growth and business success.
The Network’s objectives are to promote the exchange of professional ideas and provide an opportunity to share experiences that will help women expand their business position in the Hawaii marketplace.
We are committed to providing women in Hawaii with the opportunity to obtain support from other growth-minded women in the pursuit of their professional and business goals.
We strive for inclusion and diversity, and are committed to equality for all women in the pursuit of respect and aloha for all.
How It All Began by Judy (Jakus) Strauss
1979 President and Co-Founder of the Professional Women’s Network
It was 1978, and women were just beginning to be recognized for their full range of abilities. The women’s movement, bra burning, and male doubt and fear set the stage for the first meeting of the Network of Marketing Women (NMW) — now called the Professional Women’s Network.
Terry Joiner and I met while taking a class in selling and marketing. We quickly realized that we had some common challenges — not the least of which was whether to wear a skirt or pants to meet an Asian male prospect. In those days, male prospects, who were most of the people with buying power, routinely assumed that saleswomen had no intellect or knowledge about products but were purely decorative.
“Why did the company send a woman?” they would ask.
We had to work hard to establish credibility. And we did. We learned from each other in the NMW that we had to adapt to our prospect’s expectations and needs. We found that if we allowed male buyers to flirt with us, and we reciprocated, that we would get in the door quickly and soon they would forget their objections while we slid in there with the knowledge and sales techniques to seal the deal. We had to do it and it worked. Thankfully those days are gone, but it sure was fun to educate men about female competence.
The Network began meeting twice a month in 1978 and within six months had seen over 100 marketing women at lunch meetings. We had great female mentors as speakers and great support from each other. We often had round-table check-ins where each member would talk about a professional accomplishment from the previous week. It was a fabulous collaboration, a supportive group of wonderful women, and it helped us all become more professional and accomplished.
The times have changed, as they always do, but one thing remains constant: the support of other women enriches us all. Congratulations to the Professional Women’s Network for the three decades (this was written in April of 2010) and more of helping Hawaii women achieve their goals. I am so proud to be a part of this heritage.
As you are reading this, maybe you are thinking that things haven’t changed very much at all. We are still a supportive group of wonderful women (and now several men who know that women are much more than barely competent), and we help each other to become more professional and accomplished. Of course, we still have to fight for equal rights. Keep fighting! Don’t give up.