The Professional & Business Women of Polonia, also known as PBW, was created to enhance the status

and image of Polish-American professional  and business women, to network, and to become a force in the community.



Christine Kibler

Vice President
JoAnn Lewandowski


Theresa Tucholski

President Ex Officio
Renee Harzewski

Executive Board
Mary Domanski

Diana Marciniak
Pat Greiner


& Business

Women of Polonia’s

Current Officers

Barbara Wetzel


Theresa Tucholski

Executive Board
Mary Domanski

Pat Greiner

Dawn Myszka

President Ex Officio
Renee Harzewski


Meeting Notice!

Presenter Chris Campbell with photo of her grandmother who was a Larkinite.

by Dawn M. Myszka,

PBW Historian

The name "Larkin" is familiar to many WNYers. Located near downtown Buffalo, Larkin Square was once an industrial neighborhood. Today it is known as being an entertainment district with food trucks, concerts and events.

 On March 22, 2023 at Curly's Grille & Banquet Center, Chris Campbell, an attorney by trade and a huge history buff, gave a presentation to Professional and Business Women of Polonia members and guests on the original Larkinville.

Sr. Mary Johnice Rzadkiewicz started out the meeting with a prayer for Spring. It's been a long cold winter this year and all are looking forward to having sunshine and warmer weather.

PBW member Barbara Strzepka donated several Easter themed porcelain pieces she painted for the dinner raffle which benefits our scholarship. The pieces included pisanki and an Easter plate.

Then, it was on to Campbell’s presentation:

In 1875, The Larkin Soap Company was founded by John D. Larkin in Buffalo. It was a very successful mail-order manufacturing business. The Larkin Soap Company made more than just soap. It also made food, spices, beauty products, perfume, furs, rugs, and women's clothing. In any given month, 57,000 tons of product were loaded and unloaded on 1,000 railroad cars, she said.

The company was important and different from other companies back then. For starters, Larkin valued his workers. He believed that if workers were happy it added value to a company. Workers in other factories worked in deplorable conditions. There was no proper air circulation or lighting and work areas were over crowded. Workers worked 6 days, 60-72 hours a week.

The average Larkin office worker worked 44 hours a week; factory workers worked 48 hours a week.  Campbell told us her grandmother, Helen Keating Campbell, worked at The Larkin Soap Company from 1915 until 1920. Employees were known as "Larkinites."

In 1906, Architect Frank Lloyd Wright was commissioned to design the Larkin Administration Building. It was called "The Temple of Labor," and had inspirational messages as you walked into the building. It had a central courtyard, fresh circulating air, natural light, and an open floor plan for workers. Larkin and three other top management personnel were the only ones who had private offices. Everyone else worked in the open floor space. In March 1907 the company employed 2,022 workers. By 1919 it had almost 4,500 workers.

Larkin was known for his generous corporate culture toward his workers. The cafeteria employed expert dieticians. For only $1 a week workers would get six meals so that they would have at least one good meal each day. This helped workers stay healthy.

The Larkin company had a very low worker turn-over rate. Programs were instituted to help workers – a financial program called "The Larkin Benefit Association," an "Office of Factory Benefit Funds," on-site educational programs, and job training. Life insurance, a credit union, hospital insurance, paid vacations, reimbursement for outside educational expenses, an on-site library, full time medical staff and a dentist office were offered to workers. There were staff dedicated to helping troubled workers. Lounges, restrooms, and showers were also available.

The Larkin Soap Company went out of business in the 1940s. Why did the company fail if it was so successful? After World War I, there was a decline in mail-order businesses. The Great Depression and rapid urbanization also were factors. No one was interested in buying the Larkin Administration Building. It sat vacant for years and fell into ruin.

The building was eventually sold to the Western Trading Company in 1950 for $5,000 and replaced with a parking lot. Some of the building's remnants were used to fill in the old Ohio Basin, the present-day Father Conway Park on Louisiana Street in the Old First Ward.

 As we look back, we can only imagine what an architectural treasure that building was and what it must have been like to work there.

Please join us for our annual scholarship award dinner on Thursday, May 18 at Kloc's Banquet Facility where we will be entertained by vocalist, Mark Swarts, who will be performing “Sinatra and Other Crooners.”

 Life in the original Larkinville

by Dawn Myszka,

PBW Historian

The Professional & Business Women of Polonia (PBW) wrapped up the year with its annual scholarship award and dinner meeting at Kloc's Banquet Facility on May 18.  This year's basket raffle included beautiful hanging flower baskets from Seneca Greenhouse and smaller table-top flower baskets from Woyshners Flower Shop.

The annual scholarship fundraiser, Scholar-Rama, was a huge success.  Without the support of  PBW members, we would not be able to have a scholarship award.  

This year's scholarship recipient was Emma Marzec. She was joined by her proud parents, Christopher and Kathryn Marzec.  

Emma is completing her dual major studies in psychology and Spanish at Canisius College where she is also on the Dean's List.  Emma is a research assistant and lab manager at Canisius' Memory and Cognitive Lab.  Outside of school she is a pool supervisor and lifeguard instructor at the Town of Tonawanda Aquatic & Fitness Center.  If that isn't enough, she will be attending law school in the fall.   

Every year, the scholarship committee carefully reviews the applications of scholarship applicants and conducts in-person interviews. The scholarship committee consists of  PBW board members Barbara Wetzel and Mary Zuk-Domanski, PBW members Ann Szczesny, Christine Palczewski and Dolores Palczewski.  Their time and dedication on the committee is very much appreciated.

PBW board members were also recognized: Vice President JoAnne Lewandowski, Treasurer Terry Tucholski, Secretary Barbara Wetzel, executive board members Patricia Greiner, Mary Zuk-Domanski, Dawn Myszka and president ex-officio, Renee Harzewski.

A special thank you went to Andy Golebiowski, host of the Polish American Radio Program on WEBR Radio, 1440 AM / 105.3 FM for promoting the PBW on his show. You can listen to Andy's show live Saturday mornings at 11:00 am or anytime online at

PBW member Michelle Kisluk announced that the Am-Pol Eagle Polish Cultural Enhancement Series program is planning a trip to Doylestown, PA for the Polish American Festival on September 8 through September 11 to see the American Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa.  For more information call (716) 983-5084.

Before giving the dinner prayer, PBW's own Sister Mary Johnice Rzadkiewicz  acknowledged that she will be receiving the Honoree of the Year Award on Aug. 15 during Polish Night at the Buffalo Bisons baseball game. Certainly a well-deserved honor.

After dinner, PBW members and guests were entertained by vocalist Mark Swarts.  You may be familiar with his voice.  He is the morning radio host of WNED-94.5 FM's  Classical Radio Program every weekday morning from 6 to 11 a.m.   He was formerly with The Sugar & Jazz Orchestra.

He is hands down a seasoned vocalist singing the songs of  beloved past crooners such as Sinatra, Martin, Perry Como and Andy Williams and  contemporary crooner, Michael Buble.  He did not shy away from a request to sing an Elvis song.  He sang "Teddy Bear" and nailed it!   

PBW board member Patricia Greiner got in the dancing spirit to Engelbert Humperdinck's "Blue Spanish Eyes."  I was thrilled when he sang a song by The Osmonds - "Love Me For A Reason." For those who don't remember, The Osmonds were a family musical group in the mid-1970s.  The better known members are Marie Osmond and her brother Donny (sigh).

"Sailing" by Christopher Cross got people swaying in their seats.   A sing-a-along started when Mark sang "That's Amore" to close his show. Mark was incredible!  It was truly a very entertaining evening.

The next dinner  meeting is scheduled for Sept. 13 at the Polish Falcons in Depew. The speaker will be Author Sophie Hodorowicz Knab who will talk about her book "Spirit of Place: The Roadside Shrines of Poland."  Come join us.

Sinatra, scholarship and more

Emma Marzec.

Vocalist Mark Swarts.