Patricia E. (Pat) Cornish, a longtime resident of Potomac, Maryland, now residing in St. Michael’s, Maryland, is one of these Unsung Heroines. While well-known among Business and Professional Women (BPW) members in Maryland, as well as nationwide, and known in other spheres for her many contributions, she remains “unsung” in most of our state.

Pat Cornish began her career as a as a legislative aide on Capitol Hill with the House of Representatives. After more than 30 years employed by major accounting firms, she began her own business, PEC Financial Consulting, in 2004. As founder, president and CEO of PEC Financial Consulting, she offers accounting and tax services, software installation and training, and consulting services. Her clients include personal service companies, doctors, dentists, law firms, nonprofit organizations, and retail stores.

Her interest in women’s issues and legislation led her to become involved in Business and Professional Women (BPW), an organization that works to empower women to achieve their full potential and partners with employers to build successful workplaces. She became involved locally with BPW before being elected national president of Business and Professional Women USA in 2000 – 2001.

Under her leadership, she developed a strategy to reposition corporate assets, created an investment policy, and initiated partnerships with Wyndham Hotels, Edward Jones and SBC Communications, resulting in a successful Social Security Summit that took place in Washington, D.C.

Pat also organized WOMENomics, a nationwide grassroots program designed to bring together local businesses, government, educational institutions, and civic organizations, to identify, act on, and resolve the everyday issues that challenge working women.

She was elected chair of the BPW Foundation Board of Trustees after a governance restructure, serving from 2003 – 2005. She spearheaded a major national survey and report titled “Workingwomen Speak Out.” The survey provided clear information on the interests and needs of working American women from various income levels and demographics. Questions dealt with workplace, security and quality of life concerns. Results were analyzed by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR) and found that domestic issues were far more important to working women, providing clear information on the interests and needs of working women for both employers and policy makers.

Pat Cornish served for six years as a Commissioner with the Montgomery County Commission for Women. She was vice president, president for a two-year term, chair of the Women’s Legislative Briefing, and chair of the Status of Women in Montgomery County Committee producing the “2007 Status of Women Report,” which provided a compilation of objective data about the status of Montgomery County women.

Pat represented the National Association of Commissions for Women (NACW) on the board of the National Committee on Pay Equity and was appointed as a Commissioner to the Maryland Commission for Women, where she is currently vice president, legislation chair, and co-chair of the Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame Selection Committee in 2010 in 2011. In addition, she serves on the board of the Fairfax Education Foundation is a member of the Board of Directors of the Maryland Women’s Heritage Center.

Pat Cornish is a mentor and inspiring role model for innumerable women — in Maryland and throughout the country.

Submitted by: Jill Moss Greenberg