Brief History of IWF Georgia

In 1974,  therenowned writer, civic leader and philanthropist, Elinor “Elly” Guggenheimer, founded the Women’s Forum of New York. The stated goal: “Bring together women of diverse accomplishments and provide them with a forum for the exchange of ideas and experiences. By thus becoming aware of their counterparts in all fields, and of mutual interests and attitudes, they can, when desired, speak in concert on issues confronting the total community.”

Due to the strength and growth of the founding Forum, women around the country voiced the need for a national network that would allow women of significant achievement, across all sectors, beliefs and backgrounds to unite under a common purpose.

In February 1988, Former First Lady Rosalynn Carter convened a symposium in Atlanta, Georgia to focus on women and the constitution.  Co-conveners were former first ladies Lady Bird Johnson, Betty Ford, and Pat Nixon.  The symposium drew over 1,500 women from every state in the nation and ten countries.  “Women and the Constitution: A Bicentennial Perspective” was a huge success with such notables as Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, former vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro, and Coretta Scott King addressing participants.  Dayle E. (Powell) Spencer (The Carter Center) was organizer and director of the symposium.  Sponsors were The Carter Center of Emory University, The Carter Presidential Library, and Georgia State University.
At the success of the symposium, officers of the National Women’s Forum (launched in 1979) approached Dayle E. (Powell) Spencer and asked that she launch a Women’s Forum of Georgia.  She agreed and the first meeting was held October 1988 at The Carter Center.  Dayle E. (Powell) Spencer served as founding president. Among the 15 other founding members were first lady Rosalynn Carter, Coretta Scott King, Amanda Brown-Olmstead, Liane Levetan, Wicke Chambers, Christine King Farris, Shirley Franklin, Alice Parsons, Judith Sans, Ruth Schmidt, Leah Ward Sears, Betty Siegel, Cathy Steinberg, and Betty Talmadge.
The Women’s Forum of Georgia initially organized to identify and nurture local female leadership.  It was a new network of executive level women, invited across careers and cultures to come together and share experiences.  It started as a small organization whose meetings could be accommodated in homes of the members, and this is how members met for several years.   Over time, the goals of the organization evolved and expanded, and membership grew.  However, the original purpose of enhancing each member’s leadership capacities has never changed.
In 2011, as part of a branding campaign of the International Women’s Forum (now   6,200 members from 74 forums, 33 nations, and six continents,) the Women’s Forum of Georgia became the International Women’s Forum of Georgia.

February 2016 – Complied From Oral History and Recorded Documents

1988 – 1990 Dayle E. (Powell) Spencer
1991 – 1992 Liane Levetan
1993 – 1994 ​Holly Gardner
1995 – 1996 ​Amanda Brown-Olmstead
1997 – 1998 ​Ann Wilson Cramer
1999 – 2000 Nathalie Dupree
2001 – 2002 Valerie Richardson Jackson
2003 – 2004 ​Julia Sprunt
2005 – 2006 Karen Duckett
2007 – 2007 Penny Brown Reynolds
2008 – 2010 ​Julia Emmons
2011 – 2012  ​Roxanne Douglas
2013 – 2014 Annette Cone-Skelton
2015 – 2016 ​Christine St.Clare

2017 – 2019 Kathy Bremer

2020 - 2021 Belinda Stubblefield

2022 - 2023  Susan Bell

2024 -    Blythe Robinson

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