Archive for the ‘In the Spotlight’


Virginia Austin, NARBW 2016 National Woman of the Year

Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

Virginia Austin, NARBW 2016 National Woman of the YearVirginia Austin joined NARBW in June 1980. She has not missed a convention since 1983! Virginia has held many positions over the years. At the National level, she has been First Vice President, Third Vice President, Recording Secretary, Convention Chairman, and Welfare. At the District level, Virginia has been District Director (two terms), Nominating, and Publication. Finally, at the chapter level, she has held the offices of President, Second Vice President, Recording Secretary, Corresponding Secretary, Publication, Public Affairs, Nominating, Ways & Means, Telephone Committee, and Hospitality. Virginia retired in 1995 after 38 years of service, having started with Norfolk & Western in August 1957, less than two months after her high school graduation.

She started her career as a steno-clerk, holding various positions before moving into management, the first woman in the marketing department to do so. Virginia also holds a degree in Traffic Transportation Management. Since her retirement, she regularly volunteers at a local Community Center, where she teaches pre-school, Bible Studies, and helps with school work. She has been a member of Riverland Baptist Church for 52 years, volunteering there as a teacher, missionary, and the church’s clerk. She also participates in fundraisers for the American Heart Association, American Cancer Society (Relay for Life), Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Alzheimer’s Association, and many others.

Laura Gutteridge Años becomes National Association of Railway Business Women’s 39th President

Thursday, June 30th, 2016

Laura Gutteridge Años becomes National Association of Railway Business Women’s 39th PresidentThe National Association of Railway Business Women (NARBW) recently elected Laura Gutteridge Años national president.

The association’s 39th president, Laura Gutteridge Años, is currently the Manager, Financial Accounting & Reporting for JEA, the largest community-owned utility in Florida and the eighth largest in the United States. She previously held various accounting positions at CSX. Since being elected to NARBW’s national board in 2010, she has served as National Treasurer (4 years) and National First Vice President (2 years).

Founded in 1921 in Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN, NARBW has twenty chapters nationwide. The association aims to stimulate interest – particularly among women – in the rail industry; foster cooperation and better understanding within the industry; improve the industry’s public relations, and further members’ educational, social and professional interests.

Mrs. Gutteridge Años is a Jacksonville, Florida native, where she currently resides with her husband Albert. They enjoy traveling especially to the annual NARBW conventions.

Chicago Chapter #2 – Celebrates 90th Anniversary

Wednesday, October 7th, 2015


Members of NARBW’s Chicago Chapter #2 celebrated its upcoming 90th Anniversary at the Lockwood Restaurant on September 26, 2015 located inside the historic Palmer House Hotel in downtown Chicago

Members in attendance were Patricia Dunham, President; Linda Hock, Vice President; Yvonne Avgeris, Secretary; and Elayne Gronskis, Treasurer. Also attending representing the National Board was 2nd VP Sylvia Long. Sylvia presented the Celebratory Resolution to Chapter members and read letters of congratulations from National President Theresa Harper and Roanoke Chapter 19 President Kathy Barbour.

President Dunham had special cookies made for the occasion. The cookie had “90” on it, in honor of the Chapter’s 90th year in NARBW. It is NARBW’s second chapter, inducted on November 13, 1925.

New Central Florida Chapter of NARBW

Saturday, August 1st, 2015

Central Florida Chapter

Meet the Members of our new CENTRAL FLORIDA CHAPTER who were installed Friday evening, July 10, 2015, in Sanford, Florida:

Front Row Seated L-R—Melanie McKim (Nat’l. 3rd VP & Membership Chairman), Ingrid McLaughlin, Sandy Booz Allen, Tiffany Tunstall, Jaleesa Singly (Chapter VP), Liz Jimenez (Chapter Secretary.).

Back Row L-R—Nancy Harmon, Lynne Sisto (Affiliate Member), Myrna Santiago, Gail Hendrix, Judy Reed, Libby Kinnard, Daphne Duhart, Sandy Marple, Lois Boatwright, Yvonne Touchtone (Chapter President).

Members Unable to Attend: Velma Stanley (Chapter Treas.) and Sandy Kirby

Central Florida Chapter

Installing Officer was Sandy Hall of the Emeritus Council (pictured far right). Officers present and installed were:

L-R—Liz Jimenez, Chapter Secretary.; Jaleesa Singly, Chapter VP; and Yvonne Touchtone, Chapter President.

Central Florida Chapter

Proudly displaying the Central Florida Chapter Charter is its President Yvonne Touchtone, following presentation by National President Theresa Harper (on left). Melanie McKim, National 3rd VP & Membership Chairman (far right) will continue to assist with Chapter Start-up.


Mary Lee Watkins Cabbler, NARBW 2015 Woman of the Year

Wednesday, June 10th, 2015

Mary Lee Watkins Cabbler – Roanoke Chapter
NARBW – 2015 Woman of the Year

Mary Lee Watkins Cabbler, NARBW 2015 Woman of the Year

Mary Lee Watkins Cabbler joined NARBW on November 4, 1997 and has held multiple positions. At the chapter level, she has served as President, Vice President, and Chair for the Arrangements, Audit, Convention Credentials, Convention Hospitality, Coordinating, Finance, Nominating, Press and Publicity, Public Affairs, Residence, Revisions, Scholarship, Telephone, and Welfare (Co-Chair) committees. She has also served as a delegate and is a member of the Historian, Membership, and Sunshine committees. At the National level, Mary Lee served for three years as Scholarship Chair.

She retired from Norfolk Southern with 33 years of outstanding service after a fruitful and most rewarding career. She worked in a variety of departments including Personnel, which led to her becoming a Personnel Officer of the company.

She is an active member in her church, currently serving as Financial Secretary. She also volunteers with Meals on Wheels, Rescue Mission, voting polls, and Harrison Museum as well as participating in American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life and Alzheimer activities and walks. She is active with the AARP, assisting seniors with food, tax aid, health fairs, and abuse protection.

Mary Lee states being a member of NARBW has played a vital role in her life. It has afforded her the opportunity to meet and be a part of a group of women who are caring and giving – those who share of themselves. She has enjoyed the time spent at conventions, where she has met people from different chapters. Mary Lee is a person who is willing to give of her time and efforts toward the help and need of others as she moves with the vibrancy of an energized bunny!

Houston Chapter Volunteers for MDA Children’s Art Project

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015

Our Houston Chapter Volunteers were recognized by MDA for its Children’s Art Project, with awards on April 15th (Certificates and gift bags). Each member volunteers once a week every week at MDA for 5 hours.


Pictured Left to Right: Ginger Stanbery, Lou Ann McClendon,Debbye Converse & Cheryl Chambers.


Melanie McKim Assumes Position of 3rd Vice President, Membership

Wednesday, February 11th, 2015

Melanie McKimDear Chapter Presidents:

I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself to you and your chapter. I am Melanie McKim (formerly Bennett) and I am your new 3rd Vice President, Membership Chair. I was asked by the National President if I could fill in the remainder of this term due to Amy Schapp resigning. It is with great pleasure that I accepted and I am excited to serve this organization again.

Many of you may know, I have been an active member of this organization for over 10 years, starting as Chapter President of Indianapolis Circle City, Convention Chairman, District Director, several chairman positions on the national board, and 2nd Vice President. My new duties as Membership Chairman include stimulating loyalty and interest in the railroad industry in which I will need your help in increasing our membership numbers.

As a reminder, I will work with Joyce Peak this year’s Convention Chairman on the Memorial Service and Membership Luncheon. Please forward notification of any members passing to me by April 15th. The form can be accessed from the “Members Only” section of the website.

I look forward to seeing you at this year’s convention.

Melanie McKim
National 3rd Vice President
367 Hinsdale Drive
Debary, FL 32713

Kansas City Chapter Races for the Cure

Friday, January 16th, 2015

NARBW Kansas City

Kansas City Chapter Members who walked/ran the Susan G. Komen “Race for the Cure” back in August 2014 are (front row) Isabel Melder, Shellee Currier, Mechelle Pouncy and Sue Brazelton; (back row) Clair Wyatt, Rhonda Gomez, Megan Wilbur, Chrystal Tonkin, Savannah Hubbard, Ashley Allen and Gloria Marshall.

Jay Nelsen, NARBW’s 2014 Woman of the Year

Friday, July 18th, 2014

Jay Nelsen – Omaha Chapter
NARBW – 2014 Woman of the Year

Jay Nelsen is NARBW's 2014 Woman of the YearJay was hired by the Southern Pacific RR in July of 1993 in Denver CO and joined the Denver Chapter the same year. She has belonged to the Denver, St Louis and Omaha chapters and served at all levels from chapter Parliamentarian to National President.

Jay has been an Operation Lifesaver presenter for 6 years and has represented NARBW at OL national meetings. Jay has attended the FRA RSAC (Railroad Safety Advisory Committee) meetings for 4 years serving as the NARBW representative.

Jay finds ways for NARBW to be involved in the community. When we serve dinner at RMH, host the holiday parties at Stephens Center, ring bells for the Salvation Army, shelving food at a local food pantry, collect and organize the donations from the collections barrels, Jay will be there. She collects items year round for the donations (mittens for the mitten tree, toys for the Holiday parties, toiletries for the shelters, etc). She is generous with her donations and with her time to make a difference in the community. Jay initiated semi-annual raffles to raise money.

Jay began her career as a clerk on the Southern Pacific RR. After several promotions and two moves she is now the Union Pacific Team Leader for the Sunset Service Unit. Jay does love NARBW and enjoys the rewards of friendship and sisterhood that she enjoys as a NARBW member.

Houston Mayor Annise Parker, speaker at NARBW’s 70th Convention, receives gift from then President Cynthia Chandler

Wednesday, July 16th, 2014

An article that appeared in The BNSF Gulf Division “F.O.C.U.S. Express” issue dated June 2014 reported, in part:

Houston Mayor Annise Parker and former NARBW President Cynthia Chandler

Houston Mayor Annise Parker and former NARBW President Cynthia Chandler

The 70th National Association of Railway Business Women convention convened May 16 in Houston. With the smell of 700 fresh baked chocolate chip cookies in the air at the downtown Hilton Doubletree, the U.S. Army color guard displayed flags to start the meeting.  Houston Mayor Annise Parker opened the meeting with a message of empowerment.

“When this came across my desk, I said that’s one event we have to put on the calendar, she said.

“It’s important for me to go places and personally engage with people, and the railway industry is significant to Houston. There is a train engine in the middle of our city seal. But, there’s no natural reason why there is a city here. Nobody discovered oil or gold here. We were where the goods were brought in. The real city was Galveston. In the 1900’s the hurricane wiped out Galveston, and it moved the port and facilities inland. That’s when Houston began to grow. It’s where 17 railroads meet the sea.

“The Port of Houston does more business for Mexico than all of Mexico’s ports combined,” Parker continued. “We are the gateway to the heartland of the United States. We, as a city, will continue to support the railway, as I know you will.”