Barbara Kasoff, Co-Founder of WIPP
NAWBO remembers and celebrates the life and impact of Barbara Kasoff, co-founder of Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP), who passed away late last month.
Barbara was a true visionary and leader on behalf of women entrepreneurs. Her ownership of several successful businesses, advocacy work with NAWBO and participation in the 1986 White House Conference on Small Business led to her co-found WIPP in 2001. “If you help another company or another business owner become successful, you help build jobs and you help make a better community and a better country for everybody,” she often said.
Barbara served as WIPP’s president for nine years, building the organization into an advocacy powerhouse. In addition, she served on the National Women’s Business Council, representing WIPP and its partner organizations.
Building a national advocacy organization brought Barbara great joy because she knew women all over the country and internationally who benefitted from her work and engagement. Her message to business owners was simple: “If you don’t like the way government regulations affect your business, get involved.”
Here, NAWBO member and past National president Patty DeDominic remembers her friend and NAWBO sister:
Oh, rest in peace dear Barbara…passionate NAWBO leader, past president of the Detroit chapter and committed National leader and adviser.
Before moving to California, Barbara owned VoiceTel and enabled NAWBO to have voice chats around the world. This was a time before everyone had e-mail! It seems she propelled NAWBO into better communication modes practically before they were even invented.
During my National presidency, I used her program, as did all chapter presidents, to communicate with the board. Members across the country enjoyed special access and when they signed up for VoiceTel through Barbara’s Detroit-based company, we could all talk so easily. We used it extensively to train for the White House Conference on Small Business and the United Nations Conference on Women. When we announced the $1 billion loan program with Wells Fargo, all chapter presidents got a personal voice message from us to share with their members and together, we shared in real time the history-making news.
Barbara was a leader of great integrity. She helped us in forming the Women Business Owners Certification Program and as you all know, was active in aggregating all women’s organizations when she cofounded WIPP with Terry Neese. She and Terry made history while maintaining a happy and healthy marriage and raising kids and grandkids. As a mother and grandmother, she went above and beyond and turned to her expert advocacy skills in helping her special needs grandchild. She was a friend to many, a humble servant leader and a role model who truly propelled powerful women into spheres of influence as well as buoyed those who needed help the most.
It is fitting that she would leave us while enjoying life on a Russian cruise. She was a woman of international significance and a deep love for humanity. I pray that she did not suffer during her last days on earth and that she helps heaven make sense out of life here on earth now.