Get engaged. Be inspired. Grow your business.


In 1976, refused admittance into business organizations by male leadership, five women met for breakfast and conversation at the Travelodge on Waugh Drive. From that catalyst grew the River Oaks Business Women’s Exchange Club, an organization for women, by women. Our members share their business acumen, resources, insights, and more, to help one another succeed. We are our own heroines. We are a networking club comprised of seasoned professionals and new professionals – and those in-between – in diverse occupations and fields.­­ We work to ensure that women have the information, tools, and support they need to realize their professional goals.

Our Meetings

When: ROBWEC meets on the first Friday of every month.
Where: River Oaks Country Club | 1600 River Oaks Blvd. | Houston, TX 77019

  • 7:00am Coffee
  • 7:15am Breakfast
  • 7:30am Announcements
  • 7:50am Speaker Introduced
  • 8:30am Adjourn
  • January 11 – Mayor Sylvester Turner
  • February 1 – Ellen Efsic, Girls Inc.
  • March 1 – Holly Ridings, NASA
  • April 5 – Susan Bickley, BlankRome
  • May 3 – Julie Farr, Museum District Assoc.
  • June 7 – Lincee Ray, Blogger
  • July 12 – Jesse Thompson, Federal Reserve Bank
  • August 2 – Ana Maria Martinez, Houston Grand Opera
  • September 6 – Kelly Rentzel, Mental Health Advocate
  • October 4 – Closed Meeting
  • November 1 – Annie Rupani, Cacao and Cardamon
  • December 6 – Kairy-tate Barkley, French Boutique
  • January 10, 2020 – Denise Hernandez “What’s in Your Diet?”
  • February 7, 2020 – Faye Caldwell “What the Hemp is Going On?”
  • March 6, 2020 – Alecia Lawyer “Wildcatting in the Arts”
  • June , 2020 – Megan Eddings “Pivoting my business during COVID”
  • July 10, 2020 – Dr. Stephen Klineberg “Houston on the Cusp of a Changing America”
  • August 7, 2020 – Sue DeRoos “Let’s organize”
  • September 11, 2020 – Networking meeting
  • October 2, 2020 – Dr. Richart Murray “Making Sense of Another Chaotic Political Election”
  • November 6, 2020 – The Zsu Sisters “Hometown Heroes”
  • December 4, 2020 – Holiday breakfast
  • January 8, 2021 – Roberta Levy Schwartz, Ph.D., Houston Methodist Hospital
  • February 5, 2021 – Angelina M. Lopez, author
  • March 5, 2021 – Patricia Will, Belmont Village Founder and CEO
  • April 2, 2021 – Jesse Thompson, Senior Business Economist, Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, Houston Branch
  • April 30, 2021 – Networking Meeting
  • June 4, 2021 – Claire Smith & Amy Evens, The Stories Behind the Food
  • July 9, 2021 – LaQuita Cyprian, CBO, Agility Bank
  • August 6, 2021 – Captain Bill Diehl, Greater Houston Port Bureau
  • September 10, 2021 – Claudia Vassar, Houston Botanic Garden
  • October 1, 2021 – Business Meeting
  • November 5, 2021 – Ruth Simmons, Prairie View A&M
  • December 3, 2021 – Lina Hidalgo, Harris County Judge

We are social

Continuing the practice of our pioneering founders we gather monthly for breakfast meetings to nurture our relationships and learn from speakers that are leaders in their fields. Currently there are three roundtables, made up of about 15 women, which focus on business topics or the serious business of getting to know each other. In the business roundtable members focuses on sharing best practices, while the social roundtables gather to talk, relax, and connect. Member interest drives these groups and they are fluid. We open our circles to welcome new members and let established members flow to other groups.

Curious? To learn more about our organization and how it can positively impact your career, send an email to We’re here for you.

ROBWEC Board of Directors

Gayle Ann Gourwitz Board President 2022

Carol Gradziel Membership Director

Ellen Efsic Secretary and Parliamentarian

Marie Schmidt Treasurer

Berg, Elin Programming Director

Mari Briz Communication Director

Pielech, Kathryn Reservation Director

Danielle Booth Socials/ Networking/ Content Director

Aylin Poulton Socials/Networking/Content Director

Seger, Jane President-Elect

Susan Schmaeling Past-President

Houston has a history of making things happen. So it is with the River Oaks Business Exchange Club. Women not just changing with the times, but changing the times. Impacting the 4th largest city in the nation.


  • Teresa Byrne-Dodge

  • Sally Evans

  • Mary McKerall

  • Sharon Henry

    Sharon Henry
  • Kids grow up and leave, careers evolve, and home addresses change. Through it all, ROBWEC has been a constant — a group of savvy and thoughtful women who support one another both personally and professionally.

  • When I become part of this marvelous group, I used member services whenever possible — and thanked them in the meetings and through the newsletter. More importantly, I referred members and referred people TO members whenever I uncovered an opportunity. ROBWEC rocks!

  • ROBWEC connects me with women who were and are friends, mentors and supporters during good times and bad and form a significant part of my past, present and future.

  • ROBWEC has the most amazing speakers each month. I always leave feeling inspired!