Our Beginning : 1988

In 1987, Anne Ross and Roz Anderson of Foley & Lardner saw a need for a supportive network for women working in the business, government, education and non-profit sectors. Each contacted seven other women who shared their vision. Together, these 16 women made up the Steering Committee that set The Business Forum (TBF) in motion.

TBF's original mission, stated in the Articles of Incorporation, was to promote and support women in business through networking and career building opportunities. It also sought to give women a way to contribute either their talent or financial resources to the community.

TBF's first membership meeting took place in May, 1988, and was attended by more than 100 women. Since then, professional women have gathered for monthly program or networking meetings, and worked on committees and the Board to further TBF's goals and growth. All the while, they have enriched their own lives by meeting colleagues, making friends, building skills - and having fun!

TBF's Scholarship Program

TBF's founders soon established a scholarship program to help high school graduates and adult women attend college. TBF made the first award of $1,000 in 1989. The scholarship program has grown every year since then, supported by an annual fundraising event, a special scholarship fund (Judy Rose Scholarship), and an endowment fund in the Madison Community Foundation.

Looking Ahead - Strategic Planning

TBF believes in the power of strategic planning. It has led us to where we are today . . . an organization where women can become more . . . more connected with colleagues, more informed about issues, more practiced in and confident of the skills they need to excel, and more involved in activities that broaden opportunities for other women.

The leadership of this organization envisions an exciting future. First, we see a larger organization than we are today. We see an organization that is vibrant, and filled with engaged women who benefit both personally and professionally from making meaningful connections with one another. In addition, we see the community of Madison recognizing the contributions TBF makes to helping women realize their potential through our support of continued education and the sharing of our time, talent and treasures.

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