Our History

WBE was founded in 1979 by Donna Nunn as a means to help working women develop better business and management skills at a time when women were still new to the professional workforce. Her approach—as unique then as it is now—was based on the belief that women are most successful when inspired by models of success and when empowered to bring their whole selves into their careers or businesses.

Three decades later, WBE continues to offer working women safe harbor, friendship, fresh perspectives, and the opportunity for business and professional growth. We believe that our work at WBE—and the success of working women in America—is as critical and relevant today, as it has always been. Enjoy a bit of "Then & Now":

Then and Now...  

                             1979                                                                         2011 

Margaret Thatcher becomes Britain's first female prime minister.

Three women win the Nobel Peace Prize as co-laureates—Liberian president Ellen Johnson Sirleaf; Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee; and Yemeni resistance leader Tawwakul Karmaan. (Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, elected in 2005, is currently Africa’s first and only female head of state.)

Women surpass men in college enrollment. Women have not only caught up with men in college attendance, but younger women are now more likely than younger men to have a college or a graduate degree.
Average price of a new home: $71,800 Average price of a new home: $243,900
Gas on average cost $ .86 a gallon Gas on average costs $3.48 a gallon
Hazel Winifred Johnson became the first African American woman appointed as a general

The number of women and men in the labor force has nearly equalized. As women’s work has increased, their earnings constitute a growing share of family income. Gains in education and labor force involvement have not yet translated into wage and income equity. At all levels of education, women earned about 75 percent of what their male counterparts earned in 2009. In part because of these lower earnings and in part because unmarried and divorced women are the most likely to have responsibility for raising and supporting their children, women are more likely to be in poverty than men. These economic inequities are even more acute for women of color.

Dr. Sylvia Earle becomes the first person in the world to dive to a depth of 1,250 feet. She led an all-woman team of scientists in an experiment in undersea living, staying for two weeks in a submerged capsule in the Caribbean Sea. We said goodbye to Geraldine Ferraro, who died of cancer. She was the first female Vice Presidential candidate representing a major American political party; in 1984, former Vice President and presidential candidate Walter Mondale selected Ferraro to be his running mate. Ferraro was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from New York's 9th district (in office from 1979 to 1985). She was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame in 1994. She had said of political elections that, "Every time a woman runs, women win."


Our graphic mark now more simply reflects the core values of WBE:

  • Understanding of all that is.
  • Awareness of our own state.
  • Truth about our feelings and emotional maturity .
  • Mastery of the mind
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