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History of IAAP
During World War II, the U.S. government issued frantic calls for secretaries, clerks, and others who could assist in the war effort. Secretaries "manned" the home front and the office front as many women entered factories, war plants, and various jobs formerly held by men. In 1942, to provide a network for secretarial staff, the National Secretaries Association (now known as the International Association of Administrative Professionals) was established.
The president of the National Secretaries Association's first chapter (Kaw Chapter in Topeka, Kansas) was Florence Overbey, who enlisted in the Women's Army Corp. Another founding member, Anita Harwick of Topeka, joined the US Navy’s Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service. Numerous other National Secretaries Association members enlisted in the women's branches of the US military. Others volunteered services for local branches of the Red Cross, or selling war bonds, handling correspondence, and other volunteer activities (putting their skills to work AFTER being at their regular jobs all day -- or night, if they were on the swing shift with Rosie the Riveter).
In May 1942, Articles of Incorporation were filed under the laws of the State of Missouri. Autonomous Chapters sprouted all over the Midwest in the mid-40s, and soon spread across the country.
The first issues of the association's magazine, The National Secretary (now OfficePro), were published in 1943. In 1944, efforts began to unify the chapters into one centrally-governed association, similar to its structure today.
The first inter-chapter meeting of the association was held at Omaha, Nebraska, in April 1944, with members from Kansas City, Des Moines, Lincoln, and Omaha in attendance. At this meeting, a plan was drafted for establishment of a district comprising chapters in that area.
After the war years, the first nationwide convention was held at Kansas City, Missouri, in February 1946. From the attendance there it was possible, for the first time, to gauge the progress of the association on a national scale. The convention register included names of approximately 200 members, 49 of whom were voting delegates. There were 115 chapters at that time.
In July 1946, Amended Articles of Incorporation were filed in the State of Missouri, which vested the control of the association in the membership, established a democratic form of government, with equal rights of every chapter to a voice in association affairs, and gave the members the right to elect their own officers.
The first Certified Professional Secretary examination was administered in August 1951. There were 281 candidates at 15 examination centers (today there are more than 250 exam centers worldwide).
National Secretaries Week (in the year 2000, renamed Administrative Professionals Week) was originated in 1952 and is sponsored annually by IAAP. It is observed the last full week in April with Wednesday now designated as Administrative Professionals Day.
The Articles of Incorporation were amended to establish an international status, and the first chapter outside the continental United States or its territories was installed at Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, in 1954. Chapters were formed in Mexico City, 1959, and Helsinki, Finland, 1960, prior to the Bylaw Amendment in 1962 providing for affiliate status worldwide.
Members voted by mail referendum to change the name of the association in February 1981 to Professional Secretaries International, clarifying identity of the membership in a new decade for the professional secretary.
In July 1989 the Bylaws and Standing Rules were amended to provide full membership status to members located outside the United States, its territories, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands of the United States, or Canada. In 1992, these units became known as chapters at large.
In 1994, PSI purchased the building and site of our present world headquarters offices in Ambassador Park, a business subdivision in Kansas City, Missouri. A building dedication ceremony was held on April 8, 1995.
At the 1995 International Convention in Seattle, Washington, delegates voted to approve a bylaws amendment that added "The Association for Office Professionals " as a tagline to the name of the association.
In August 1998, PSI member delegates at the 54th annual Convention and Education Forum in Atlanta, GA, voted to change PSI's name to the International Association of Administrative Professionals, to reflect more of the various job titles used by administrative support staff in today’s workplace.
In the year 2000, IAAP changed the name of Professional Secretaries Week and Professional Secretaries Day to Administrative Professionals Week and Administrative Professionals Day
In 2001, IAAP introduced the Certified Administrative Professional program, an additional advanced certification.
IAAP continues to provide education and training and set standards of excellence recognized by the business community on a global perspective. Our present and future vision is "to inspire and equip all administrative professionals to attain excellence."