BOULDER — In an unprecedented move, the Boulder Business and Professional Women's chapter named a “Man of the Year” at its annual Celebration of Women luncheon Thursday.
“The Man of the Year idea was a result of me wanting to recognize those men who are standing with us and working for the same issues,” explained Doreen O'Donovan, Boulder-based Colorado BPW president.
Last year, BPW honored a man at the state level. But this, she said, is a first for the Boulder chapter in its 78-year history.
The honor went to Jerry Lewis, Boulder County Business Report editor and publisher, for promoting balanced coverage of women-owned businesses and the role of women in the workplace, according to a BPW statement. The publication also features an annual Women in Business section that ranks the top women-owned businesses in Boulder and Broomfield counties.
“Jerry really has gone above and beyond,” O’Donovan said. “He is gender blind.”
Lewis received the award by recalling how a woman started the bi-weekly business newspaper in 1982 with just $500, money she needed to borrow from her mother before setting up shop in her home.
Since then, the organization has grown considerably, he said. But the economic pinch of the past couple of years has challenged the small, still-independently owned paper.
“But I don’t have an excuse when BPW calls me up (for media sponsorship),” he quipped. “And I’m glad we don’t have an excuse.”
The chapter named University of Colorado women’s basketball coach Ceal Barry as its Woman of the Year for both her commitment to excellence in sports as well as in education.
Throughout her 20-year tenure at CU, the winningest head coach with 12 20-win seasons also managed to keep her players on a strong academic track.
“I am a business person,” said Barry, who manages a million-dollar annual budget. “We’re always trying to peddle tickets. Always trying to promote our sport and get people to come out. But mostly, we’re about education and mentorship ... our job is to turn girls into women.”
BPW also recognized Cynthia Blankenship, owner of The Studio: Comfortable Women’s Fashions in Boulder’s WaterStreet Shopping Center, as Woman-Owned Business of the Year.
Besides meeting her goal of helping women “look their best and feel good about themselves,” Blankenship was recognized for the many times she has used her success in business to support nonprofit organization fund-raisers such as the Colorado Music Festival, the Boulder Community Hospital Foundation and Boulder BPW in its scholarship award program.
“I’m not much of a planner,” said the former Fairview High School teacher. “And I never expected to be awarded for what I do every day. ... I’m just a mom and a pop — or a mom. But this is my passion.”
Boulder BPW is the second-largest chapter in the national organization, which was founded in 1919 to promote full participation, equity and economic self-sufficiency for working women.
For more information, visit www.boulderbpw.org.
Pam Mellskog can be reached at 303-776-2244 Ext. 224 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.