Lena Madesin Phillips: Lena Madesin Phillips first had a career in music and a dream of becoming a concert pianist. But in 1917 she started life anew, and became the first woman to graduate from the University of Kentucky Law School. Phillips’ legal career was brand new when WWI broke out and changed her path yet again. She began working with the YWCA’s National Business Women’s Committee and it was during this time that she researched the need for an organization that would bring together business and professional women from around the nation. She helped found the National Federation off Business and Professional Women’s Clubs (NFBPWC) in St. Louis in 1919.
She continued her law career after the war in New York, but she became more involved with NFBPWC in the 1920s. She focused the organization on issues such as child labor, equal pay for women, peace efforts, and endorsement of the ERA. In 1930, Phillips was successful in beginning the International Federation of Business and Professional Women’s Clubs (IFBPWC) and she remained president until 1947. She died in 1955, following surgery for a perforated ulcer on her way to a meeting of business and professional women in the Middle East.
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