JC Newman

June 06, 2024

The Women of PCA Light Up Washington, D.C.

The Women of PCA, a new resource group within the Premium Cigar Association (PCA), hosted its inaugural policy conference in Washington D.C. on June 5, 2024. This groundbreaking event brought together industry leaders, legal minds, and policy experts in the nation's capital for an engaging program that addressed key policy issues while celebrating and acknowledging the important role of women in the premium tobacco industry. PDR Cigars, Micallef Cigars, Villiger Cigars, and Rabbit Air generously sponsored the event.

The conference started with a private tour of the U.S. Capitol, led by the Congressional Cigar Caucus staff. This behind-the-scenes opportunity gave attendees a deeper understanding of the legislative landscape. It also allowed them to connect directly with champions for the cigar industry in the nation's capital.

The centerpiece of the event was a dynamic policy forum featuring a powerhouse panel. PCA Board Member Kathleen Kelly, a respected entrepreneur and owner of Queensbury Cigar & Pipe, shared industry perspectives on issues before Congress. Joining her were Erin Scanlon, an Army veteran now working with Congressman Sam Graves (MO), and Alex Smith, Legislative Director to Congressman Byron Donalds (FL), a lead sponsor of pro-cigar legislation. The forum delved into critical topics such as FDA oversight, the potential impact of elections, and strategies for combating misinformation.

"As women become more involved in the industry, it's critical for us to lend our talents and perspectives to keep pipe and cigar retail alive for the next generation,” commented Kathleen Kelly, a co-chair of the Women of PCA.

"Representing the fastest growing demographic for both new businesses and consumers, the Women of PCA is building an incredible community of support," added Teresa Wessling of Georgetown Tobacco, co-chair of the Women of PCA.

The forum also highlighted the shared experiences of women leaders, both in the cigar industry and on Capitol Hill. The panelists discussed navigating traditionally male-dominated fields, advocating for their perspectives, and building successful careers. This resonated with the audience, as over 60 women from the pipe and cigar business community were present, showcasing the growing female presence in this sector.

The conference concluded with a dynamic networking reception, drawing over 200 attendees from the Washington D.C. policy and legal community. This provided a platform for attendees to connect, build relationships, and foster dialogue around the future of the cigar industry.

To learn more about the Women of PCA or to join its mailing list, email womenofpca@premiumcigars.org.

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