River Oaks Business Women's Exchange Club
Houston's First Networking Business Club for Women

When businesswomen were growing professionally, but were not allowed to participate in the major networking organizations, Marilyn Elam decided to start her own. On February 12, 1976, fewer than ten business and professional women (including current member Mary McKerall) met at the Travelodge on Waugh Drive to organize what was to become the River Oaks Business Women’s Exchange Club.


Marilyn, who came to Houston to take a federal district court law clerkship, sought the help of Gertrude Barnstone, well known artist and activist, in recruiting prospective members for ROBWEC. The small group continued to meet informally until July 1976, when member Jeanne Atherton moved it to its current home, the River Oaks Country Club. Since 1976, the first women’s business club in Houston Texas, has been meeting there. A feature article on the Houston Post in early 1977 brought enough inquiries that membership had to be capped at 100 and a more formal procedure for membership established.

Today, ROBWEC has morphed into RClub, but still keeps its pledge to provide an association of women established in their professions who promote the businesses, services, and financial advancement of members.

Presidents of the River Oaks Business Women’s Exchange Club 1976-2024

Are you a professional woman with a minimum of three years in your profession and interested in membership?