Archive for the ‘In the Spotlight’


NARBW Twin Cities Chapter #1 Has Turned In Their Charter

Wednesday, November 8th, 2017

There was a final dinner at Mancini’s on 6-21-2017 for any final business.
17 members attended and all had fond memories of the past 92 years. Thank you to all our past and
present officers.

Current officers:

President Vice President Secretary Treasurer Sunshine & Membership Chairperson
Loreli Miller Donna Clark Sue Clancy Carol Dalhquist Patty Helling

We all said our goodbyes and had a great evening!

Laura Halweg, Bernice Killian, Sue Clancy

Loreli Miller and Donna Clark

Patty Helling, Jane Sebeczek Clappier and Dolores Crane

Joyce Gutz, Coletta Burski and Norma Perna

Jane Sebeczek Clappier, Dolores Crane and Sue Gilbertson

Joyce Gutz, Colette Burski, Norma Perna and Georgia Lickness

Patty Helling

Melissa Molitor, Carol Dahlquist and MaryAnn Ronkainen

2017 National Woman of the Year – Debbye Converse

Thursday, July 20th, 2017

Debbye Converse was born on October 23, 1952 in Dermott, Arkansas and moved to Houston with her family in 1956. She graduated from Ross Sterling High School in Baytown and attended Lee Junior College. Debbye was enticed by the money that the Railroad had to offer. Thanks to her best friend, Ginger Stanbery and her best friend’s dad, the late JJ Reed, Debbye got her foot in the door at Missouri Pacific Railroad in Houston, Texas in 1974.

In 1982, her office moved to Spring Texas as Missouri Pacific merged with Union Pacific. In 1988, she was relocated to Omaha, Nebraska. Debbye’s hard work and dedication earned her a series of promotions beginning in 1998 as Manager of Asset Utilization, Manager of Yard Operations in 1999, Corridor Manager (Rock) in 2003, and finally to Manager Train Operations in 2005. Her career has seen many cities and numerous promotions. She retired in 2012 with thirty years of service, but has not let the grass grow under her feet. She is truly dedicated to hard work and commitment in both her personal life and making the Houston Chapter of NARBW a success.

In the Houston Chapter of NARBW, she has held the positions of Secretary, Membership Chairman and numerous committees; and is currently their President.

Debbye is also a member of Altrusa International of Montgomery County and in addition has worked the following charities: MD Anderson Children’s Art Project, Be the Match, Ronald McDonald House, National Autism Society, Toys for Tots Houston, Avon Breast Cancer, Willis Nursing Home and Rehabilitation Center, Angel Gowns by Diane, Spay and Neuter Assistance Program, and Houston Achievement Program.

On September 10, 2011 Debbye married the love of her life, Mark Converse. Collectively they have four wonderful children; two girls and two boys; ten granddaughters, and two grandsons. Debbye takes care of her mother, Martha Kilcrease, who is 85 and legally blind, her brother, Keith Kilcrease, 66, who is deaf and her nephew Klint Kilcrease, 33, who is paralyzed from the waist down because of a car accident in February 2017. There is never a dull moment in Debbye’s life.

Debbye is an inspiration to the Houston Chapter and to NARBW as a whole. Her hard work, dedication and commitment to follow through on whatever is required of her is what sets her apart from the rest.

Chicago Chapter Paints Together

Wednesday, July 5th, 2017

The Chicago Chapter is starting off our new year with a fun social event. We decided that we would try our painting skills and as you can see by the picture, we all have some great skills! Our Secretary, Jasmine Manley, selected the painting and we all teased her on how she chose the most difficult painting. As we all know, it’s not about the painting, but about our time together. As we sipped some wine and painted our picture, we all had some great laughs. We look forward to another social event very soon.

Yolanda Barbosa
President, Chicago Chapter

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