History

The American Woman's Society of Certified Public Accountants (AWSCPA) began in 1933 as a group of nine women CPAs united in facing the challenges affecting women in the profession at that time. Over the years, the organization has grown. Membership increased dramatically in 1982 when the membership amended the Society's bylaws to allow affiliated local groups. 

Georgia Affiliate History 2008-2015

Our Affiliate Founding Members

from left to right - Varley Simons, Johnnie Clark​ Nancy Frenkel
at the June 2010 Board Retreat

FOUNDING AWSCPA OF GEORGIA

In 1938 there were not enough women CPAs to establish local groups so AWSCPA established the American Society of Women Accountants (ASWA) so that women accountants who were not CPAs and women who had received their CPA certificates would have a local group to attend.  In 1981 the National Board of AWSCPA led by President Carla Russell, voted to establish local affiliates of AWSCPA.  

Carla Russell and Varley Simons had a friendly bet as to whether Houston or Georgia could fulfill all the requirements of a local affiliate first.  If Houston won, Varley would go to Houston for their first official meeting and if Atlanta won Carla and Heloise Brown Canter, another former national president from Houston, would come to Atlanta.

Varley got together with her business partner, Joanne Gorbandt, and women CPAs who were members of ASWA including Elizabeth Sterling, Katherine Buckner (both of whom were former national AWSCPA presidents), Alene Beitel, and Suzanne Phillips. They sent letters to all women listed in the Georgia Society of CPAs directory inviting them to a meeting to determine if there was enough interest in forming an AWSCPA local affiliate. About 35 women attended the first organizational meeting.  After several meetings, bylaws were established, incorporation as non-profit was completed and all the necessary forms were sent to the AWSCPA National Board.  The Atlanta charter was granted two weeks before Houston’s charter.  Carla and Heloise came to the Charter Dinner and Carla installed the officers.

In a wonderful act of camaraderie, Ms. Simons flew to Houston for their Charter Dinner a few weeks later. Varley Simons served as the first Georgia affiliate President from 1982-1983.

Our founding members understood the need for a group that focused on the specific career needs of women in the field.  The group has given hundreds of women the opportunity to network and grow over the years. 

We are extremely appreciative of the vision of our founders and of their hard work.


Georgia members who served as National AWSCPA President include:

Ethleen Lasseter, 1945-46
Elizabeth Sterling, 1956-57
Dr. Katherine Buckner, 1983-83
Varley Simons, 1987-88
Terri Thamer, 1992-93
Mary Riley, 2006-07

Amy Knowles-Jones, 2012-2013