MT. PLEASANT — For Betty Mullen, being part of the Business and Professional Women group is about upholding and empowering women in the community.
Mullen was recently inducted as the group’s new president, her first term, following two terms as vice president.
“We want to be there for the community, let them know we’re here for them,” she said of what she hopes to achieve in this next year.
The Business and Professional Women group in Mt. Pleasant exists to provide educational opportunities to working women as well as foster “cooperation and collaboration.”
Mullen, a former psychiatric social worker and current independent sales director with Mary Kay cosmetics, has been a member since the 1980s and part of leadership since 2005. As she steps into the role of president in the middle of a pandemic, she continues looking for ways to “promote the interest of professional women.”
“We’ve done quite a few Zoom meetings. Usually we go to museums or have speakers who teach us about different topics,” Mullen said. In the past, the group’s meetings have included touring the Anne Frank Pen Pal Museum in Danville and learning about various issues facing the region such as quality child care.
In addition to shifting their meeting styles, the pandemic postponed the group’s 100-year anniversary. But the virus won’t stop the group from celebrating and continuing their “tradition of women helping women.”
Being part of the group has opened Mullen’s eyes to the struggles of the women who came before her, a legacy she hopes to pass down to younger women in the community. As part of her term, she plans to focus on expanding the group and encouraging more women in the community to participate.
“We have women of all walks of business and life. We want to target the needs and interests of all working women. The older members have so much wisdom, we want to be able to reach the younger women too,” she said.
Mullen said the group already provides three scholarships to high school seniors in the area and plans to look for other opportunities to be a presence in the community.
As a group based in rural Iowa, Mullen feels it is especially important to have an energetic group advocating for women’s rights and equity.
“We’re not in a bigger area, but I still wanted to find a way to support the issue, which is why I got involved,” she said.
Mullen said she is dedicated to being an advocate for women and hopes, as the president of the group, to promote a sense of “unity and togetherness” among women in the community.
“We want to encourage people to come to us and present their platform. We can help. We can be mentors and help them achieve their goals — we want for them to be empowered,” she said.