The Greater Tampa Bay Chapter of Women In Defense started as a conversation at the February 2012 NDIA breakfast. Janel Brown noticed two new faces at breakfast and introduced herself to Charity Lane, a recent transplant from Washington, DC, and Meg Merritt, new to Tampa from Charleston, SC. One of the first questions Charity and Meg had for Janel was “When is our next Women In Defense event in Tampa?” Although Janel had been wearing a Navy uniform since 1993, in either an Active or Reserve role, she had never heard of a group called “Women In Defense.” Charity and Meg quickly explained the benefits of WID and the ladies decided then and there to start a chapter in Tampa.
Over the spring and summer of 2012, the ladies worked together to form an organizing board and attract new members to join the prospective chapter of WID GTB. During the Special Operations Forces Industry Conference (SOFIC) in May 2012, Trudy Daniels heard about the idea and decided to get involved. Things began moving quickly from there as the ladies recruited Crystal Culbertson, Edward Spencely, Pauline McPhail, Nadya DePontbriand, Denise Ennis, Asa Thomas, Lisa Monnet, and Karen Krymski to official roles on the organizing board.
By November 2012, the prospective board had recruited about half of the members necessary to have a chapter of WID. They had an official meeting with WID National just before Thanksgiving and began taking the steps necessary to become an established chapter. Their first event, a Wine and Cheese Social, was held in February 2013 at the DRS offices in Tampa. This social was a tremendous success and helped the organizing board reach a wider audience and recruit members to their fledgling committees. New members proposed speakers, venues and potential sponsors. The Tampa Bay Chapter of NDIA took their role as an affiliate of WID seriously and provided banking, marketing and guidance as the chapter formed.
In March 2013, the prospective chapter of WID GTB welcomed their first speaker, Deb Alderson, who at the time was the newly selected CEO of SRA. This event promptly sold out the restaurant room reserved for the event, the even bigger room to which the restaurant moved the group, and then bar area. Finally, the restaurant conceded the entire first floor of the restaurant sans one table for their regular guests to the WID event. With this successful event under their belt, WID GTB reached the official member numbers required for a chapter and WID GTB was chartered on April 29, 2013.
The founding board consisted of:
President: Trudy Daniels
Vice President: Charity Lane
Secretary: Janel Brown
Treasurer: Pauline McPhail
Communications: Nadya DePontbriand
Sponsorship: Edward Spenceley
Programs: Karen Krymski
Special Projects: Asa Thomas
Community Relations: Denise Ennis
Membership: Lisa Monnet