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Teacher's Aide Wins Business and Professional Women Speak-Off

April 21, 2008 — A teacher's aide at Ricardo Richards Elementary School won a speaking competition Sunday staged by the Business and Professional Women (BPW) of St. Croix.
Well-spoken young women with a purpose showed their skills to BPW members and guests, with more than 50 people attending the organization's signature Young Careerists Speak-off at Villa Morales in Estate Whim.
Ericilda Ottley won the competition with her speech urging young women to affiliate themselves with business and career women in the territory and BPW. The multi-generational, grassroots organization provides major benefits to careers, she said.
"This is so exciting to be able to influence young women to take part in BPW," Ottley said.
This signature program is used as a recruiting tool.
"Our Speak-off winner joins the organization and exposes other young women to the organization," said Nissa Bailey, president elect. "We have women in BPW with many different careers that offer good networking and guidance."
Also competing were Genevive Whitaker, an aspiring human rights attorney who works as an assistant to Sen. Ronald Russell, and Natarkie Edwin, executive assistant in the Office of Collective Bargaining. The three young businesswomen each gave four-minute speeches about BPW and the benefits of being a member of the organization. They were judged on a point system that covered an interview, biographical information and the speech.
Judging the young women were Sherrymae Barnes-Morales, retired from the military and owner of Mahogany Realty; attorney Devin Carrington, a member of the Casino Control Commission; and Sandra Setorie, assistant executive director of the Public Services Commission.
The speeches elaborated on the mission of BPW: to achieve equity for all women in the workplace through advocacy, education and information.
The winner has the $105 organization membership fee waived and goes on to St. Thomas for state competition. The winner there represents the territory in national competition.
BPW, which has 30 active members on St. Croix, began in 1959. Founding members included Pearl B. Larsen, Annie deChabert and Leota Markoe. The St. Croix members are affiliated with BPW/USA, headquartered in Washington, D.C. The organization meets the third Sunday of every month.
Cyndee Frontal, BPW member, organized a fashion show presented by models in her agency, Cyndees Models in the Isle. The women modeled shoes, bags and accessories from Classic Styles Boutique in Christiansted. The models also showed off original linen designs by Gail Barry.
Member Latoya John sang musical selections.
Villa Morales catered the lunch with traditional Crucian fare.
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