A Unique Chapter is Born
At the 1981 Professional Secretaries International (PSI) convention in New Orleans, the International President strongly advocated lunchtime meetings and having seminars and conferences on weekdays rather than weekends to reinforce the status of the association as a professional organization.
In the fall of 1981, several leading business leaders in Tampa, in conversation with a local PSI member, discussed the possibility of having lunchtime meetings for secretaries in the downtown area. Since the downtown business population is a captive one because of the parking situation, business leaders wanted to provide their secretaries the opportunity to attend professional meetings during the noon hour. City Center Chapter was conceived as a lunchtime chapter and officially came into being in June of 1982 in Tampa, Florida.
The association's name was changed in 1998 to the International Association of Administrative Professionals to encompass the large number of varied administrative job titles and recognize the advancing role of administrative support staff in business and government.
Support from prominent Tampa business leaders and City officials were unbelievable. For example, the managing partner of an accounting firm wrote to more than 150 prominent downtown business people telling of the proposed lunchtime chapter, the advantages of having secretaries belong to the organization, urged company sponsorship, and outlined the benefits of having a lunchtime chapter for secretaries in the downtown area.
A senior partner in one of the most prestigious law firms obtain permission for use of the name “City Center”, which is the name of one of the core buildings in downtown Tampa, helped prepare the chapter’s standing rules and procedures, and wrote letters to all major law firms in the downtown area promoting sponsorship of their secretaries in the downtown chapter. The local Chamber of Commerce assisted with contacts for local hotels and their management to provide the most advantageous noon time meeting location.
From all of this support, City Center Chapter was chartered with 50 members, installed at a banquet attended by the Mayor of Tampa, the Chairman of the County Commission, and the past president of the Chamber of Commerce.
A Typical City Center Chapter Meeting
As voted by the members, the monthly luncheon meetings are scheduled for the third Thursday of each month. Meetings are held at the Tampa Club, with cost for the luncheon set at $17.
The meeting is called to order promptly at 12:05pm, the invocation is given and lunch is served. At approximately 12:20 p.m. the guest speaker is introduced. The speaker is limited to a 15-minute presentation with 5 minutes of questions and answers, or a straight 20-minute presentation. All presentations are of professional interest or personal growth. After the speaker concludes, the business session is held. Meetings are usually adjourned by 1:00 p.m.
There is much to be said for lunchtime chapters. The members of City Center Chapter are proud of the chapter and what they have accomplished.