In late 1991, a group of three business people, Deborah Betron, Rick Schmidt and Fred Elledge, met to discuss forming a business networking group in Portland, Oregon. As their discussions continued, they became more convinced of the need for an organization to support Gays and Lesbian business people.
The goals for this new group were to strengthen business within the Gay and Lesbian community, to be a visible sign of support to its members and to have a positive impact on the Portland metropolitan area.
Soon other business people were invited to help breathe life into what is now known as PABA, the Portland Area Business Association. A board of directors was created, articles of incorporation were developed, the appropriate non-profit filings were made and potential members were contacted. Tremendous effort and guidance were given by Lonnie Lusardo and the Greater Seattle Business Association. The success of the GSBA and its impact on Seattle has been PABA's model and motivation.
PABA's first official meeting was held in October 1992. Since then, PABA members and their guests have attended many entertaining and enlightening monthly luncheon meetings. PABA also reaches its members through its monthly newsletter, The PABA Advantage, special events and after-hours receptions. Great thought went into structuring PABA in such a way that all people were included. Thus, the genesis of the statement that 'PABA is for gays, lesbians, and their friends in business.
PABA's focus is business; its goal is to help its members achieve success in business. PABA is meant to be inclusive. Everyone with an interest in business and an interest in bettering the community is welcome to be a part of this dynamic and rapidly growing organization.