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Ligonier Valley women's group honors one of their own

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By Rebecca Ridinger
Wednesday, July 9, 2014, 9:01 p.m.

Members of the Business and Professional Women of Ligonier Valley gathered June 24 to honor exiting president Janet Riordan as Woman of the Year for her exemplary efforts — a recognition that comes only after a nomination by a fellow member. Riordan became president in 2012.

Moving up in the ranks, she will now serve on the BPW state membership committee, a position she was asked to assume by BPW state president Diane Lewis. She will also act as finance chair for BPW District 3, which covers both Allegheny and Westmoreland counties.

During her presidency, BPW donated thousands of dollars to Relay for Life, the Blackburn Center for victims suffering from domestic and sexual abuse and the Kanzius Cancer Research Foundation. Eight female students were awarded scholarships totaling $8,000 and, at present, BPW has nearly $15,000 in its Scholarship Growth Fund. Riordan has also seen the club reach 80 members and continually grow.

“I wanted to put forth everything that I could during my presidency,” she said. “We were very successful due to the cohesiveness and hard work of our membership. We raise our funds through the dedication of members who annually organize the BPW fashion show in the spring and luxury bash in the fall.”

Riordan credited the mutual support of the community for membership growth and success.

“Through my work at the chamber, I always think of Ligonier,” she said. “I told our members ‘Let's shop Ligonier'. We ask the merchants to support us, but we need to support them, as well. Consequentially, it helped get our name out, too.”

Riordan's nomination was helmed by Maggie Hildebrand, who has been a BPW member since 2003. Hildebrand first had to do some background research on Riordan to ensure she fit the bill.

“We also have a member of the year award, but Woman of the Year is a little different,” Hildebrand explained. “Not only is this individual integral to us with time and talent, but is also integral to the community through their contributions to both the community and to church. It took a little time on my part, but when you read Janet's biography you will know she deserved it.”

Some of Riordan's future plans include continually remaining active in state legislation ensuring that women receive equal pay in the workplace. She would also like to stay more closely in touch with the students who receive scholarships, offering them a student membership and keeping in tune with what they are currently doing.

“I've always said we are an organization focused on women helping women. That is our slogan,” she said. “I will continue to stay very active at the local level and also at the state level. And again, it's our membership that makes it happen.”

Rebecca Ridinger is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

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