Our Story

The Broward International Women’s Club was founded over 40 years ago by a group of prominent women in the community with the goal of providing support in promoting the city of Fort Lauderdale to the world during the upcoming US Bicentennial Celebration.

The year was 1975, and Fort Lauderdale mayor Clay Shaw was beginning to plan for the United States Bicentennial celebrations, where tall ships and liners would be arriving to Port Everglades with international business luminaries to take part in the celebration.

Mayor Shaw was determined to seize this opportunity to promote Port Everglades as a premier deep-water port to the international business community. To this end, he approached Ms. Olga Ortiz, the then Honorary Consul of Ecuador, proposing that she organize an international group of women to provide him with support, knowing that Ms. Ortiz would be able to assemble the perfect team for arranging and hosting meetings with the Chamber of Commerce and the various international dignitaries.

Demonstrating an exceptional handle on international diplomacy, grace and leadership, Ms. Ortiz took on the challenge with enthusiasm and skill, and the Broward International Women’s Club was born with 6 founding members and Ms. Ortiz as the founding president.  As part of the planning and staffing for the events, the newly formed team called upon female student volunteers from Broward Community College, which subsequently led to the idea of the Broward International Women’s Club scholarship fund.

After the bicentennial festivities and events concluded, the BIWC continued organizing cultural exchanges and fundraising activities to support the education of eligible international college students.  Eventually partnering with Nova Southeastern University and its International Students Program, BIWC–a non-profit organization–encourages and assists international students living and studying in South Florida.  

Today, the BIWC membership is composed of an interesting amalgam of accomplished women from over 40 countries.