|LLGF Founder and CEO – Betty Bauman|
|National Awards: “Woman of the Year” in Sportfishing, “Top 21 Most Influential Marine Industry Leaders in the 21st Century,” & one of “The Top Women in American Boating.”
When Betty Bauman, Founder and CEO of “Ladies, Let’s Go Fishing!®,” started fishing as a child with only a tree branch as a fishing pole, little did she know this was the beginning of a career. The knowledge and skills she has acquired over the years, together with her passion for the sport and for conservation, have empowered her to bring the sport of fishing to more than 5,000 women all over the world through her award-winning seminars.
Both Bauman and her seminar series — often dubbed “The No-Yelling School of Fishing” — are renowned nationally. Her accolades encompass the sportfishing, boating and marine industries. Most recently, BoatU.S. Magazine named Bauman one of “The Top Women in American Boating.” She was prominently featured in the May 2009 issue which celebrated eleven of the most impressive and inspiring women who are setting the trend for female boaters. Other awards include being named Woman of the Year in the nation’s sportfishing industry by the American Sportfishing Association. This award was presented to her in Washington, DC, at a reception held for industry leaders and Congressional representatives. Recognizing her foresight in addressing the women’s market for the marine industry, Bauman was named among the Top 21 Most Influential Marine Industry Leaders in the 21st Century by Boating Industry magazine. As a result of her “Ladies Let’s Go Fishing!” Adventure Trips, The Cove Lodge in Elfin Cove, Alaska named her “Sportsperson of the Year.”
The program which brought Bauman to national attention is “Ladies, Let’s Go Fishing!,” a series of fishing seminars held in conjunction with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). Bauman established a partnership with the state department in 1997 when she offered the state a solution to the lack of opportunity for women to learn fishing and conservation skills. Support was provided by the FWC through the Sportfish Restoration Program of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services. Corporate sponsors also realized the value of this marketing opportunity as well as the chance to promote conservation ethics.
“Ladies, Let’s Go Fishing!” is a weekend seminar series offering a complete fishing experience presented in a non-intimidating environment. Leading sportfishing and marine industry professionals teach classes and provide hands-on training in inshore, offshore, bottom and fly fishing techniques. Skill stations are offered and a fishing excursion is available, complete with fish fillet instructions. The first event held in Fort Lauderdale, FL in June 1997 was a huge success. One hundred and twenty women from 21 to 78 years of age interested in fishing came from all walks of life, ranging from sales clerks to homemakers to business owners.
“I knew there was a market of women who would go fishing if they could learn how,” Bauman commented, “I just didn’t realize how large it was.” Bauman says her main objective was to make fishing enjoyable for the participants, with an emphasis on conservation. She added, “There are millions of women who enjoy the outdoors. “When brought into the sport properly, these women are prime candidates for the fishing industry.” As the state encouraged Bauman, she developed programs in St. Augustine, St. Petersburg, Ft. Myers, Islamorada and Panama City, FL. Other programs have been conducted in the British Virgin Islands; St. Michaels, MD; Ocean Reef, FL; and Denver, CO (freshwater). LLGF Fishing Adventure Trips have also been held in Alaska and Costa Rica. Future plans call for events to be held in other areas of the U.S. and for the development of a national organization for networking.
Born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA, Bauman started fishing as a child, using a tree branch as a pole. After earning her B.S. in Communications from Ohio University, Bauman’s marketing career began in the boating industry in Florida. She became hooked on saltwater fishing and established her own promotions company, MetroMedia Marketing, Inc., which conducted publicity campaigns for marine businesses and large fishing tournaments in South Florida and the Bahamas. In 1993, she earned the Women of Enterprise Award by the U.S. Small Business Administration and Avon Products.
The idea for the “Ladies Let’s Go Fishing!” seminars evolved as Bauman listened to a speech made by Mike Hayden, President of the American Sportfishing Association, about the lack of women participating in the sport of fishing. Today, “Ladies, Let’s Go Fishing!” earns rave reviews from national print and electronic media including “Inside Edition,” CBS’ “The Early Show,” NBC’s “Nightly News with Tom Brokaw,” “Good Morning America,” “Outdoor Life Network,” USA Today, the Wall Street Journal, Southern Living and more. LLGF now has over 5,000 graduates and is the largest organization in the world whose objective is to introduce women to fishing. Participants have come as far as Germany to attend Bauman’s seminars. She constantly surveys her audience to develop ideas to further improve the school, resulting in opportunities for participants to back a truck and trailer, drive a boat, practice gaffing with grapefruits and more.
“We get letters from our participants who thank us for changing their lives,” Bauman commented. “That’s enough reward to keep us going.”