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Montgomery County Women's History Archive:

40 Women of Historical Significance in Montgomery County

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Patricia Cornish


Patricia Cornish



Pat Cornish has over 30 years of leadership experience as a Senior Executive with experience in business, management, finance and communications. In addition to the demands of owning her own
business, Cornish has a long history of citizen advocacy, especially in women’s rights. As a long active member and leader in local and state Business and Professional Women (BPW), Cornish was elected National President of BPW/USA in 2000-2001, an organization of 50,000 members in 52 state federations with 2,000 local organizations. As BPW/USA President, she developed a strategy to reposition corporate assets, created an investment policy, and initiated partnerships that resulted in a successful Social Security Summit in Washington, DC. Under her leadership, BPW/ USA formed partnerships with Wyndham Hotels, Edward Jones and SBC Communications, created a Corporate Advisory Board, initiated and marketed a program to revitalize local and state organizations called WOMENOMICS, led an operating turnaround,
instituted six member-benefi t programs, re-branded the organization resulting in a 60% dues increase (the fi rst in more than a decade), rebuilt and staff ed fi nancial and data base functions dramatically improving timeliness and accuracy, increased revenue 25% over trend line, achieved the best performance in member retention and recruitment in over two decades, and implemented long-term strategic repositioning of the organization.

Cornish was elected as Chair of the BPW Foundation in 2003, 2004, and 2005, engineering a major change in governance, structuring a strategic plan and spearheading a major national survey and report entitled, “Working Women Speak Out”. Cornish was appointed to the Montgomery County Commission for Women in 2002 and served two consecutive terms over six years. She was elected President twice, and also served as Vice President, Chair of the Women’s Legislative Briefi ng, and Chair of the Status of Women in Montgomery County Committee, whose two-year research report was released on June 7, 2007. Cornish represents the National Association of Commissions for Women as a member of the Board of the National Commi􀆩 ee on Pay Equity. She also serves as a Commissioner on the Maryland Commission for Women, where she where she was elected Chair in June 2012. On this Commission, she has also served as Chair of the Legislative & Public Policy Committee, and Co-Chair of the Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame. She is also on the Board of the Maryland Women’s Heritage Center.

A recipient of numerous awards, Cornish was named one of the Daily Record’s Top 100 Maryland Women in 2006, 2008 and 2011 and was inducted into the Circle of Excellence. She was honored as one of 25 Outstanding Montgomery County Women in 2005, The Woman of Achievement Award presented by Southern Prince George’s BPW and the BPW Woman of the Year Award on two occasions. Cornish owns an accounting and consulting business and holds a part-time position as the Executive Director of the International Consortium on Governmental Financial Management. She began her career on Capitol Hill and worked in public accounting for twenty-five years.