ABWA: A Tradition Of Encouragement, Empowerment, & Support

Since 1982, the McIntosh Charter Chapter of the American Business Women’s Association has been a place where a sisterhood of local business women gather together to support, encourage, and empower one another, and give back to the community.

The local chapter was chartered 37 years ago by a dynamic group of women committed to bringing the opportunities the national organization represents to this area. Two charter members, Judy Suiter, president of Competitive Edge, Inc., and Sharlene Alexander, Rodan & Fields consultant, continue to be active members.

Laura Dzwigalski and Judy Suiter with Peachtree City Police Chief Janet Moon

The mission of the national organization, which celebrates its 70th anniversary this year, is “to bring together businesswomen of diverse occupations, providing opportunities for them to help themselves, and others grow personally and professionally through leadership, education, networking support and national recognition.”

Locally, members range from entrepreneurs in small businesses  to business leaders in larger corporations, to retired woman and young professionals. Professions represented include accounting, automobile sales, authors/publishing, coaching, independent sales, finance, human resources, insurance, professional consultants, marketing, photography, publishing, finance, real estate, and much more.

The Mission of ABWA is true,” Alice Reeves, outgoing president, says. “This organization will help you grow personally and professionally.  Each month’s meeting offers an opportunity to learn something new, or view it from a different angle.”

A different informational program is presented at each month’s meeting. Alice points out the interesting range of topics addressed in the past year.

Sharlene Alexander, a charter member of the local ABWA chapter, blows out the candles on the club’s 35th anniversary cake.

“For example, we all know about networking but what about Netweaving?  ‘The more you refer others, the more you will be referred.’ Bob Littell wrote book on this topic and presented it to us. This year Piedmont Heart Institute presented a timely, informative, straight talk about women and our heart health. Peachtree City Police Chief Janet Moon offered us ‘lessons from a woman working in a man’s world’ and her officers provided us with hands-on self-defense training!  What a great variety of programs and speakers!”

Alice also enjoys the area, regional and national conferences.

“This national organization is comprised of exceptional businesswomen who are all willing to share their unique gifts, insights and expertise to help all of us,” Alice says. “ I’m looking forward to another great year of speakers and programs as we learn and grow and network!”

The McIntosh Charter Chapter raises funds for scholarships each year. Thousands of dollars have been awarded to women committed to advancing their skills and knowledge since the local chapter was founded. This year, two $2,000 scholarships were given to deserving candidates. This scholarship opportunity is available to women in Fayette, Coweta, or Spalding counties who are at the sophomore or higher level, including graduate school.  The organization also annually names a Woman of the Year.

Incoming president Wanda Cronic Howell is committed to strengthening the organization this year.

Former ABWA President Joyce Beverly with incoming President Wanda Cronic Howell

“We’re planning a great year of programs and activities,” Wanda says. “You can’t beat the value you receive when connecting with this group of amazing women each month!”

“ABWA provides a great opportunity to connect with other like-minded women to share ideas and solutions,” Patti Kadkhodaian, incoming vice president, says. “The speakers are my favorite. I love to learn from others. The varied nature of the speakers is very appealing and I love the panels of speakers with a moderator and questions from the group.”

ABWA meetings are held at 6:30 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month, except December, at The Loft at Due South, 302 Clover Reach, Peachtree City. Guests are welcome. For more information, visit abwafayette.org/.



Alice Reeves, a member of the McIntosh Charter Chapter of the ABWA since 2014, was named the organization’s Woman of the Year for 2019.

Alice Reeves, a member of the McIntosh Charter Chapter of the ABWA since 2014, was named the organization’s Woman of the Year for 2019.

A native of Fayette County, Alice is co-owner of Accounting Resources and served as president of ABWA for the 2018-2019 year. She began a leadership journey with ABWA as treasurer, a position she held for two years. She has also served as vice president.

Alice holds a bachelor’s degree from Shorter College and a master’s degree from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. She has been in the accounting field since 1988 and is a QuickBooks Certified ProAdvisor®.

Alice is also President of the Fayette County Historical Society, a member of the Coweta-Fayette EMC Board of Trustees, a member of the Fayette Chamber, and is secretary/treasurer for the Fayete Heritage Project.

Joyce Beverly

I was local when local wasn't cool. After more than three decades as a community journalist, I've found my dream job as publisher of Fayette Woman.

July 23, 2019