CONTRARY TO STEREOTYPICAL view, this town's board of trade is not made up exclusively of stuffy -- or stuffed -- cigar-chompers in blue pin-stripes whose idea of fun is to yuk it up watching a cutie pop out of a cake. Today's members of the Greater Washington Board of Trade come in colors other than white and in two sexes, and they do many constructive things for people from all corners of the region. But what they haven't done yet -- and what has sort of caught up with them and caught them up -- is to recognize officially their own progress and change the crusty name of their top award.

So it is that next week, Flaxie Pinkett -- a dynamite businesswoman in Washington for 49 civically active years -- will be honored by the board as its "1981 Man of the Years." That's right, it says right here, man. Now, we have known and admired Miss Pinkett for some time, and she is certainly a worthy recipient of the board's top honor. But does she really have to live with this title for the rest of her life? Or will the plaque come complete with an engraved asterisk-cum-footnote explaining what the board really meant?

The board's pickle is a little more complicated, it turns out, because when first approached about the award, Miss Pinkett made an interesting point in suggesting that the name not be altered for her. If the honor has been regarded so highly in the community for so long, a sudden change of the name merely to award it to a woman might appear to diminish the award itself. Miss Pinket has made it clear that she would support some future modification of the award title but is prepared to accept with pride the 1981 recognition as is.

So we'll have to wait at least another year to see who might be "Business Leader of the Years" or whatever. In the meantime, hats off -- well, some of you -- to Flaxie Pinkett, a true businessperson's businessman.