Michelle Dumas, 2017-2018
2017, Lombard, IL
The NRWA started as a regional group of 11 people in 1996. Vivian Belen is credited as the true founder of the NRWA. Her indomitable spirit and zeal led to formation of a local chapter of the Professional Association of Resume Writers (PARW), which evolved into the Northeast Resume Writers’ Association, a regional group catering to the needs of resume writers in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania. The first meetings centered around continuing education on an array of topics encompassing writing, business development, the growing importance of the Internet, and business management.
At the end of 1996, it was decided that there was a critical need for a member-driven organization, one that was not motivated by profits but one that met the needs of resume writers through education, training, mentoring, and networking. In November 1996, the group voted to go national and created a nonprofit professional trade association for resume writers – the National Resume Writers’ Association.
The formation of the NRWA was announced with plans of going national on January 1, 1997. Within four months, membership topped 100.
The 11 individuals who laid the groundwork, developed the mission, and authored the first code of ethics, was comprised of Marty Weitzman, the first president of The NRWA, Vivian Belen, Deb Dib, Doug Dib, Judy Friedler, Phyllis Shabad, John Thorn, Fran Kelley, Gerry Palmer, Rhoda Kopy, and Bev Baskin. This group of dedicated individuals is considered the co-founders of the NRWA.
Because the NRWA is a volunteer, member-driven organization, it was the first to have an elected Board of Directors. Under the leadership and tireless efforts of its first president, Marty Weitzman, the NRWA was a pioneer in the resume-writing industry and can boast many firsts.
In keeping with the mission of the NRWA, the focus was on creating the preeminent standard within the resume-writing community. Through the dedication of Pat Kendall and the Certification Commission, a multi-step certification process was developed. Pat guided the program until becoming president in 1996. Sally McIntosh assumed the role of Certification Chair until 2008.
The NRWA was the first resume writers’ organization to actively seek out member input in their annual conference planning, including program development, fee structures, and location selection. The first conference (Chicago, 1998) was chaired by Judy Friedler and Kathy Keshemberg and drew more than 80 people, at the time probably close to 40% of the membership. Over the years, due to the hard work of conference planning committees, the NRWA conference consistently has been the most affordable in the industry, time and again surpassing attendee expectations and providing something of value to each and every attendee, whether they have been in the industry for one year or 20 years.
The NRWA was the first resume-writing organization to create a website, and the first to use its website not only as an external resource but an internal one as well, providing invaluable tools to the members, tools that addressed not only writing but business management resources, as well.