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BPW History Film

The Business and Professional Women’s Organization – A History, A Movement™

Ashley Maria traveled back to North Carolina to produce and direct a story about the Business and Professional Women (BPW) organization. The film is a short documentary that tells the progressive history of BPW and their members who have made an impact – yesterday and today.

We at BPW have a goal to motivate and educate; promoting the welfare of all women in the workplace. This film is inspiring – and a must-see for women of all ages to experience!
— Mimi Zelman, BPW/NC President

The peak emotional moments for me came as I realized the role of BPW in advancing the cause of women over time. I also loved seeing the diversity of women, even in the early years of BPW. Best wishes for great success as you move forward on your full-length film!
— Mary Ann Bella, ICA President

The organization was founded in 1919 with a mission to advocate for and promote the professional and personal growth of women in the workplace.

Focusing on BPW’s history and what’s next for the organization.
You’ll hear from women who have advocated for working women; women who have fought to pass the Equal Rights Amendment; from members who joined BPW for professional support and training.


Hear from the  pioneers who paved the way for business and professional women.

The film puts a special focus on long-time BPW member, Dr. Lois Frazier, who became a member in 1945. Dr. Frazier has held local, state and national leadership roles within the North Carolina organization – and – as an educator, Dr. Frazier played a major role in the effort to create the MBA program at Meredith College, a private women’s college in North Carolina.

In addition to Dr. Frazier, Ashley Maria interviewed members in a “tea-time circle” atmosphere to encourage a relaxed discussion about the struggles and triumphs of the organization, and of women in business and professional jobs.

SCREENING the BPW: A History A Movement

Would you like to host your own screening of this film? Check out where it is screening now and how you too can screen the film!

Would you like to support the film?
You can screen the film! In North Carolina, please visit the BPW website for more information. Outside of North Carolina? No problem! Her follow-on full feature film, Pioneers in Skirts™, is accepting donations via the sale of a DVD of the film BPW: A History A Movement. Once you sign a screening agreement, you can screen the film! Please contact Ashley Maria to find out how you can receive a DVD of your own!

Please contact Ashley Maria if you’d like to support her follow-on film in any way!

Meet the Production Team

A large number of volunteers and contributors make up the crew of The Business and Professional Women: A History, A Movement. This project would not have been possible without their hard work, dedication to accurate research, and an extreme passion to have this historical story told.

Ashley Maria – Director/Producer/Editor

Pioneer Ashley Maria

Ashley Maria is a North Carolina native and graduate from the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts; graduating in 2012 with her Masters in Fine Arts. With almost 10 years of experience in film and television production ranging from television commercials to multi-platform integration to full feature films, Ashley is currently working on her first feature: Pioneers in Skirts.

Her past films have won awards at highly acclaimed film festivals around the world, including her first student film, Friday Night Fright, winning her a Directors Guild of America Award!

Ashley is a proud member of the North Carolina Business & Professional Women’s Clubs and was awarded their Elsie G. Riddick scholarship for her work in advancing women in film.

Lea-Ann W. Berst – Producer/Writer

Meet the Producer - Lea-Ann W. Berst!

By day — Lea-Ann W. Berst is a business owner; leading up outsourced project efforts at Sleddogg Marketing Management. She has decades of corporate and consultative experience in product and brand management; serving as a partner with her clients when formulating their marketing approach and overall marketing mix.

By daydream – Lea-Ann promotes a future of education and mentorship for all. As a professional woman who worked in a corporate setting prior to becoming an entrepreneur – Lea-Ann has seen first-hand the drastic shift in the level of support women give each other.

Lea-Ann is also a proud member of BPW.

Pablo Vega – Composer

Pablo Vega is a composer and sound engineer from Durham, North Carolina. He graduated from UNC Chapel Hill in 2008 with a degree in Music Composition, and is getting his Specialist Certificate in audio engineering from Berklee College of Music. Since November 2009, he has been the composer and lead sound designer for the video game company “Arcen Games”. While working for Arcen, he has scored the music for eight released games, and is currently working on the ninth and tenth.

Pablo is a member of the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) as well as the Audio Engineering Society (AES). He hopes to continue his career scoring video games and film, and is very excited to be a part of this film!