The BPW Foundation Board of Trustees
Roslyn Ridgeway BPW/GA
Roslyn Ridgeway is a seasoned executive and passionate activist for women’s rights. Prior to this position, she served as the national president of Business and Professional Women /USA. During her presidency, the Women Joining Forces: Closing Rank, Opening Doors program was successfully launched, to support the transition of women veterans upon their return from deployment.
In addition to her role with BPW Foundation, Ridgeway is a small business owner. She is the president and chief executive officer of De Roz Productions, Inc., an entertainment production company that specializes in artist management, entertainment production and promotions. In 2002, having overcome the challenges that many women face in a male-dominated entertainment business, Ridgeway founded the National Council of Women in Entertainment, Inc. which provides mentoring and networking opportunities for women working in the arts and entertainment.
Ridgeway’s international affiliations include participating in the Tokyo Women’s Forum, the Liberian Conference, the South African Women’s Conference, the London Business Exchange and the Beijing Women’s Conference. All of these events gave her the platform to speak strongly on the areas of equality, women’s rights and community leadership. She is an Executive Committee member of the National Council of Women’s Organizations (NCWO) and also participated as a member of the Institute of Women’s Policy Research Job Quality Advisory Group.
Ridgeway became involved with BPW/USA in 1985 through a BPW local organization in Atlanta, as a representative of the Young Careerist program. She quickly climbed the ranks of the organization to become the president of BPW/GA. In 2003 she joined other BPW members and rang the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange in honor of the 75th anniversary of National Business Women’s Week.
Roslyn serves as Goodwill Ambassador for Georgia and Arkansas; an Outstanding Georgia Citizen, and holds honorary citizenships in various states. Several counties in Georgia recognize May 17th, July 9th and 16th as Roslyn Ridgeway Day. In 2011 she was selected to be a member of Who’s Who in Black Atlanta.
Ridgeway, a graduate of Clark Atlanta University, resides in Atlanta, GA.
Diane Polangin BPW/MD
Diane Polangin is an elected official, small business owner and a passionate advocate for working women. She has over 41 years experience in business, business management services, nonprofit work and currently serves on the Bowie City Council and is Mayor Pro Tem.
Diane is the owner/operator of Total Tax Service in Bowie, Maryland. In this capacity, she provides services for businesses and individuals, including income tax preparation. She is a notary public and teaches income tax preparation.
Previously Diane was a partner in a southern Maryland-based builder/developer company that developed over 1,000 acres with moderately-priced homes and two office buildings. For many years, Diane was administrator of an architectural firm where she was responsible for business development, contract negotiation and zoning matters, financial and personnel management, as well as client relations and the development of complex projects.
She is active and shares her talents with a number of civic and professional organizations including the American Institute of Professional Bookkeepers, National Society of Tax Professionals, Calvary Baptist Church (on the Board of Trustees serving as treasurer), Business and Professional Women of Laurel, Maryland Business and Professional Women, Soroptimist International of Bowie-Crofton, and the Greater Bowie Chamber of Commerce (past Legislative Chair).
Her community outreach and volunteer activities include serving as a mentor for S.O.C.S. (SomeOneCareS), a program for young women from Bowie High School, secretary of the City of Bowie’s Community Outreach Committee, and chair and mentor for the Huntington Community Center’s Choices and Challenges Program, which provides developmental guidance for youth ages 6-17.
Diane’s past involvement with BPW includes serving as President of BPW/USA, President of BPW/MD, and CFO of the Business and Professional Women’s Education Foundation of Maryland.
Diane has received awards from the city, county, and state government of Maryland and from several national organizations for her community service and national advocacy of women’s issues, such as domestic violence, equal pay for equal work and other family issues. Councilmember Polangin was elected to the Council in 2007 and re-elected in November 2009, 2011 and 2013.
Velma R. Hart, CAE, BPW/MD
Velma Hart, is a proven and respected nonprofit financial professional who has worked for a wide variety of nonprofit organizations over her career in several capacities. However, her passion and home is in the area of finance which she considers to be the heart and soul of business.
With over 20 years of nonprofit experience, Velma is currently the Chief Financial Officer for the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, a 501(c)(3) organization and nationally known public speaker. Prior to these assignments, she served as the National Finance Director/Chief Financial Officer for AMVETS National Headquarters for 10 years until December 2010. Velma has held various positions with organizations such as The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS) and the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO). She was also a Secretarial appointee to the Advisory Committee on Women Veterans for the Department of Veteran Affairs leaving that post in 2009, a proud Army veteran, a 2005 ASAE Fellow and earned her Certified Association Executive (CAE) designation in 1994.
Velma is an innovative thinker with vision and leadership; and, is known for her strategic focus in moving companies and organizations forward in their goals. She serves on various nonprofit boards, including Past Chairman of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), Treasurer of the Alliance for Nonprofit Management, and of the Nurses Organization of Veterans Affairs (NOVA) Foundation and as a member of the Army Women’s Foundation Planning Committee.
Leslie Wilkins BPW/HI
BPW Foundation Trustee
Leslie Wilkins serves as vice president for the Maui Economic Development Board, Inc. (MEDB). Wilkins joined MEDB in 1999 to launch its Women in Technology Project and in June 2000 she was elected by MEDB’s Board of Directors to the position of vice president.
Wilkins continues to direct the Women in Technology (WIT) Project which has grown from a Maui pilot to a national demonstration project, funded in part by the U.S. Departments of Labor, Education and Agriculture. The program serves a statewide constituency of more than 5,000 students, teachers, and industry members each year, including administering regional partnerships. The program designed to recruit and retain girls/women and under represented groups into the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) pipeline has garnered ‘best practices” recognition and received a 2005 International Economic Development Council multi-year performance award. WIT has published more than a dozen papers in academic and education association conference proceedings.
Wilkins is a seasoned advocate for women in business, workplace equity and economic development opportunities. She has served in state and national leadership roles with Business and Professional Women/USA (BPW/USA) for more than two decades, including national president and foundation chair. She was appointed by the governor for two terms on the Hawaii State Commission on the Status of Women and currently serves as chair. She also served as chair from 1996 – 2003. She is a board member of the Hawaii Women’s Fund. Prior professional experience includes a decade in the commercial banking industry and private practice consulting with non-profit organizations on program development, revenue diversification and proposal writing.