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ABWA celebrates 50th anniversary

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Posted: Thursday, June 23, 2011 12:00 pm

By Colleen Flaherty

Killeen Daily Herald

When members of the Globe Chapter of the American Business Women's Association meet tonight, they'll celebrate a special milestone: the chapter's 50th anniversary.

The chapter was organized on June 25, 1961, following the establishment of the national organization in 1949.

Karola Anthony, an enrolled agent and credited tax adviser with Lott, Vernon & Co. in Killeen since 1961, hasn't missed a monthly meeting since she joined the chapter in 1965. She is the chapter's longest-serving member.

The 85-year-old, German-born dynamo said work and the professional development opportunities that Globe has provided have kept her thriving over the years.

"I used to be very shy since I have the accent and all that, but my first year they elected me treasurer," she said. "From there, I learned how to talk in public."

Anthony went on to serve as the chapter's president for a time, and in 1971 was named one of the national association's Top Ten Business Women of the year.

Globe has been a professional and personal lifeline, she said Wednesday, and remains relevant in today's world, despite women's achievements in the business realm.

"It's on account of the benefits and the fact that it also gives you exposure to other members and opportunities," both locally and at the district and national levels, she said.

Retired Killeen Public Library technician Wanona Stallings, a member since 1976, agreed.

A former military spouse, Stallings especially can relate to the many area women trying to balance professional lives and the demands of Army family life.

But, she said, things have gotten better for military spouses over the decades. Unheard of now, she once had to sign a contract with her employer promising not to move away with her husband.

"I had to sign a paper that I would live in the city limits and that I would be here," Stallings said.

Luckily, she said, she stayed in the area and never had to test the validity of the agreement.

Killeen's military community also makes for a diverse membership, Stallings said - something that's kept her Globe membership exciting through the years.

Globe president and Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center ultrasound imaging supervisor Kerry Perez said that her six year's of chapter membership has taught her the timeless value of female peers and mentors.

"Today, women sticking together is just as important as it was at (Globe's) inception," she said. "Women still need friends and guidance, even the most accomplished. Working outside the home and raising a family is hard work. Being part of an organization that is geared toward professional development helps us at seasons of our lives."

Monthly Globe meetings involve networking, dinner and an educational focus, such as personal investing or entrepreneurship.

The organization has about 30 members from the Fort Hood area.

Tonight's dinner meeting begins at Shilo Inn at 6 p.m. For reservation availability, call (512) 568-5212.

For more information about the Globe Chapter, go to www.abwaglobe.org.

Contact Colleen Flaherty at colleenf@kdhnews.com or (254) 501-7559. Follow her on Twitter at KDHfeatures.

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