Varied career allows Meg Hunt to excel both as a journalist and NFPW leader

Posted July 21, 2014 by tlehre
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She is a great friend who always goes out of her way to do something for others. On my first trip to South Carolina, she drove many miles to Columbia to meet me and have dinner, show me the town and catch up with great conversation. This year she has put in hundreds of hours helping to organize a fabulous NFPW conference in South Carolina. She is one of the reasons this year’s conference will be outstanding. Meg and her team will show us Southern hospitality at its finest.  Read all about this unique and unbelievable woman and you will know why you don’t want to miss this year’s conference.

Name: Meg Hunt

Meg Hunt on a camel in Morocco.

Meg Hunt on a camel in Morocco.

City and State: Taylors, S.C.

Affiliate and any leadership positions: Member of NFPW for 25 years

Media Women of South Carolina (MWSC): President, Vice President, Secretary

NFPW: President (2005-2007), First Vice President, Second Vice President, Hospitality Director, and Director of Publications

Tell us a little about you:

I’m Meg Hunt, and, yes, I told my high school newspaper advisor that the last job I ever wanted was one in journalism. Thirty-four years later, I can’t imagine having lived my life doing anything else!

From the 21-year newspaper career with the New York Times Company to establishing my own company, C2 Solutions, to now also serving as special projects liaison in University Communications at the University of South Carolina Upstate, the skills and lessons learned as a journalist have made it possible and opened doors to experiences and adventures too numerous to count.

In addition to the professional elements, I’ve been blessed to use these talents in work around the globe with Teleios Ministry. Teleios is a Greek word that means “to bring to completion” or “to bridge a gap.” That’s really what Teleios is all about…we help turn God-given visions into present-day realities. Whether it’s working with nearly 300 children in a space for 30 during Vacation Bible School in Kenya, finding resources to build an orphanage and secondary school and drilling a water well in Tanzania, replacing a sewer system in Romania, or coordinating the many partners and various projects in all three countries, being able to tell the story of how lives have been changed has been more than rewarding; it’s been life changing.

 Any career advice I’d give:

Never say, “That’s not my job.” Be willing to listen; don’t think you know it all. Respect your co-workers and their experience. Be considerate of what you say and how you say it.

Which talent would I most like to have:

While I can play the piano, I’ve always wanted to play the guitar. I’m confident that enough spare time’s in my future to learn…conference planning can’t last forever, can it? J

Where else would I live?

I have been tremendously blessed to visit most of the United States and much of the world, yet I’m always content to return to my “neck of the woods.”

Books I’m reading:

Reading for me is like eating Lay’s potato chips…I can’t have just one. Currently I’m reading “The Iguana Tree” by Michel Stone (upcoming NFPW conference speaker), “Sum It Up” by legendary University of Tennessee basketball coach emeritus Pat Summitt, and “The Light in the Ruins” by Chris Bohjalian.

Meg_at_WoCo_Fball_game

Meg Hunt

What people would be surprised to learn about me:

As difficult as it may seem, I’m actually rather shy. My comfort zone is somewhat narrow when it comes my extrovert side. It doesn’t mean that I can’t “rise to the occasion” (my Mama taught me well), but given a choice, I can be just as happy in my known world.

Also, I was the first female athlete to receive an athletic scholarship at Wofford College, and the first woman inducted into the Wofford College Athletic Hall of Fame. (women’s basketball)

 Why MWSC and NFPW are important to me:

They say the friendships you make in college are the ones that last a lifetime, and I believe that’s true. However, I can honestly say that some of my most endearing friendships have come from my 25 years of involvement in MWSC and NFPW.

Certainly the professional development/networking connections have been invaluable – after all, there’s something to be said for having direct contacts across the country. But for me, it’s the sincere willingness of fellow members to help, regardless of whether it’s a professional question or the “I’m in town, would you like to get together?” or even “I’m stranded at the airport, can I trouble you for a lift or a place to stay?” kinds of questions.

Beyond those tangibles, being a member of MWSC and NFPW has surrounded me with peers and dear friends who truly understand the communications realm in which we’ve chosen to devote ourselves to and the trials and tribulations that come with the job, as well as the joys and rewards that can only be appreciated and understood by those who’ve experienced this crazy world of deadlines, breaking news, technology advancements, presses and printers, the people’s right to know, and trying to maintain a code of ethics and integrity in an environment that has seen adherence to those traits dwindle.

Despite the attitude of many today toward joining organizations, being a member of NFPW reinforces my belief in the need we all have to belong; to be able to connect because of shared experiences without necessarily having to always explain the in’s and out’s of the business.

Inasmuch as I can’t imagine my life not having been a journalist, likewise, I can’t imagine my life had I not been a member of NFPW and MWSC.

Ways to follow me:

While I can appreciate all the ways to “stay in touch” today, I’m not really one to be too connected. You can reach me through e-mail, Facebook, and, yes, I will even answer an old-fashioned phone call!

 

Jill Schramm shares writing talent with others, enjoys state and national conferences

Posted July 14, 2014 by tlehre
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One of the wonderful bonuses with NFPW pre and post conference tours is the chance to get to know members better in smaller groups. Three days touring near Moab, Utah after last year’s NFPW conference allowed me to meet many members I didn’t know very well before the conference. One was an outstanding member from North Dakota who joined us for the tour. She is a talented writer who loves her home state and is a dedicated professional who shares her talents with others. Meet unique and unbelievable member Jill Schramm.

Name:  Jill Schramm

Jill Schramm

Jill Schramm

City and State: Des Lacs, North Dakota

Affiliate and leadership: 30-year member of North Dakota Professional Communicators. Currently serve as northwest regional director on the board, a position I have held a number of years off and on. In the past, I served as college contest director and president.

Tell us a little about you.

I am a staff writer at the Minot Daily News in Minot, N.D., where I have worked since December 1986. I started as government reporter, then switched to health reporter in 1996 after my second daughter was born and worked part-time for eight years. I returned to full-time and later went back to the government beat. I currently cover mostly city and county government and also some state and federal, as well as general assignment reporting.

I am a native North Dakotan and graduate of the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks. I worked several years for a weekly newspaper group in North Dakota. My husband, Craig, is a grain farmer and we have two daughters, ages 21 and 18, and four cats. In my spare time, I enjoy reading, playing piano and walking. I do some volunteer work with the Red Cross when I have time and am involved in my church.

Any career advice you would give?

Jill Schramm onth Utah post conference tour.

Jill Schramm on the Utah post conference tour.

I would encourage anyone to always keep learning. Take advantage of opportunities to become better at what you do and pick up new skills.

Which talent would you most like to have?

I would like to be more musical. I would love to have the natural ability to play by ear and sing.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

If I could live anywhere, I probably would stay in North Dakota because there are strong job opportunities and I like the more rural lifestyle. Also, I haven’t spent enough time in other states or traveled overseas to know if I would like to live there, but I suspect that I would be content in any of a variety of communities.

What book are you reading?

Recently finished The Secret Holocaust Dairies by Nonna Bannister.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?  

I am not a very surprising person. It does surprise some people, though, to know that I once karate-chopped a board in half. It was an activity in a self-defense class.

Why is your affiliate and NFPW important to you?

NDPC and NFPW provide networking and a chance to get to know talented professionals working across the state and nation. The events that I have been able to attend have inspired and encouraged me in my profession. I have benefitted from the educational opportunities at state and national conferences.

Way to follow you: Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jillschramm.5

Award winning communicator focuses efforts on Arkansas and national responsibilities

Posted July 7, 2014 by tlehre
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She is a talented and award winning communicator who has captured sweepstakes honors in the National Federation of Press Women’s annual communications contest. She currently leads Arkansas Press Women, an affiliate I hope to visit later this year, and volunteers on the national level as well. I always look forward to seeing her smiling face at the national meetings. When she faces a challenge, she overcomes it with determination and hard work. Meet unique and unbelievable NFPW member Debbie Miller. 

Name: Debbie Miller

DebbieMiller

Debbie Miller

City and State: Bentonville, Arkansas

Affiliate and any leadership positions: Arkansas Press Women, current president. Previously served as vice president and contest director.  Currently serving as parliamentarian for NFPW.

Years a member of NFPW:  28

Tell us a little about you.

I am an Arkansas native who first tested those creative writing muscles in elementary school. When I was a junior in high school, my local weekly newspaper sold and the new owner asked high school students to provide copy for his newspaper. Eventually, I was paid to write feature stories for the publication, and I was hooked.

I worked more than 25 years in print journalism as a reporter and editor before going to the “gray” side — higher education public relations at NorthWest Arkansas Community College in 2011. This has been a wonderful opportunity for me, and it has been some fellow Press Women members who have helped me transition successfully to a different career.

My husband also is a former newspaper reporter and photographer who now works in higher ed communications. We live in a unique community of 35,000 people that’s also home to the world’s largest retailer. I am a breast cancer survivor.  I learned some valuable life lessons from that experience, including trying to recognize what’s important in life.

Any career advice you would give?

DebbieMillerHawaii

Debbie Miller and her husband celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary in Hawaii earlier this year.

Take every opportunity that you can to acquire new skills and learn from others.

Which talent would you most like to have?

My siblings were very musically talented, and I don’t think I ever was. When I was in my pre-teen years, I played the ukulele. (My mom later put flowers inside the center hole and hung it on the wall, so I’m uncertain how truly gifted I was at this.) However, I recently bought a ukulele on an anniversary trip to Hawaii, and now I would really, really like to play this thing.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

I would probably choose my native Arkansas, but Colorado would be a close second.

What book are you reading?

Scarpetta

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

I am incredibly shy and fearful of public speaking, but when our SPJ chapter presents a Gridiron show each fall, I absolutely turn into a ham.

Why is your affiliate and NFPW important to you?

Arkansas Press Women and National Federation of Press Women are important to me because my fellow members have inspired me to be a better communicator and a better person. They also provided the support I needed to take my reporting and editing skills to a different venue and flourish.

Way to follow you on a website, twitter, Facebook, etc.

I am on Facebook, but I use it for personal rather than professional communications. My Twitter handle is @NWACCMiller, and I also am on LinkedIn as one of many Debbie Millers.

Warneka continues to lead, learn and share writing talents with others

Posted June 30, 2014 by tlehre
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Warneka_photo

Brenda Kimsey Warneka

When I think about the NFPW conference in 2012 in Arizona, one of the first people I think of is Brenda Kimsey Warneka and the hard work she put into the conference. This classy and devoted NFPW member was one of the first to offer to share her talents as a speaker at last year’s conference in Salt Lake City. She is smart, talented and is another outstanding example of the unique and unbelievable members of NFPW

Name: Brenda Kimsey Warneka, JD, CPA

City and State: Laughlin, Nev.; Scottsdale, Ariz.

Affiliate and any leadership positions: I am a dual member of Arizona Press Women and Nevada Press Women, but I am active in Arizona as I am the only member of NPW in the Laughlin area. I have been president of Arizona Press Women twice. I was the project leader, co-editor, and co-writer of APW’s official Arizona Centennial Legacy Project anthology, Skirting Traditions: Arizona Women Writers and Journalists 1912-2012; I led the effort to have the 2012 NFPW national conference in Scottsdale, and I am the 2014 Arizona Communicator of Achievement.

Years a member of NFPW: I joined in 1995, so going on 20 years.

Tell us a little about you.

I practiced law in Arizona for almost 25 years, which involved litigation and a lot of research and writing, just not the kind of writing most people would want to read! During that time, I wrote a legal column for a few years, and joined APW at the suggestion of the teacher of a writing class I took at the community college. I also co-edited and co-wrote two anthologies with a friend I met on the Internet, Arlene Uslander, which is where I got the idea for an anthology, the future Skirting Traditions, when, in 2009, APW asked me to come up with a project in honor of the upcoming Arizona Centennial. By then, I was working for a company my husband, Dick, and I owned in the computer field. My job included managing the legal department, the financial department, and administration, which included publications. We sold to ADP, the payroll company, in 2010 and retired, although we retain a small computer consulting business. I am concentrating on my writing now. Dick drives a 45’ Prevost motor coach for travel around the country, so writing works well for me because it is something I can do on the road.

Any career advice you would give?

Become a specialist in an area of expertise in your field, so people think of you as the “go to” person when someone with that particular knowledge is needed.

BrendaWarneka

Brenda Kimsey Warneka

Which talent would you most like to have?

In my next life I want to come back as an opera singer. I was going to say Maria Callas, but that really dates me. I have never quite recovered from being asked to leave the church choir when I was a teenager because I couldn’t stay on key for Rock of Ages.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

My husband and I can live anywhere, so the answer has to be where we are–in the Southwestern desert. We do spend summers by the sea in Coronado, Calif., when we aren’t on the road in the motor coach. We did a lot of foreign travel for about 20 years before foreign travel became so difficult and dangerous, and we’re now enjoying the U.S.

What book are you reading?

Looking Up: A Memoir of Sisters, Survivors and Skokie by Linda Pressman, the 2013 Grand Award Winner in the Writer’s Digest Self-Publishing Contest. I read the book quickly last fall before I interviewed Linda for an article. Recently she spoke at an APW conference on the subject “From Writer’s Journal to Memoir,” and now I am reading the book again, keeping in mind how she described constructing it using her writing journals that go back to when she was a teenager. I’m particularly interested because one of the things I am working on is a memoir.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

How inept I am using computers. Before I went to law school, I was a customer service rep at SBC, a subsidiary of IBM, after which I did some technical writing in the computer field, and my husband and I have been involved in the computer field for many years—in fact, that is how we met–but my teenage grandchildren seem to be getting ahead of me in a lot of ways with computer technology.

Why is your affiliate and NFPW important to you?

I am in awe of the accomplishments of the women in APW and NFPW, and I love being associated with and learning from them. So many of them have done what I expected to do. I started writing in the 5th grade and thought my profession would be in the writing field when I grew up but my natural proclivity for multi-tasking took over.

Way to follow you on a website, twitter, Facebook, etc.

I am on Facebook under my own name and also as administrator for Skirting Traditions (thanks for Liking us), and twitter, which I haven’t had time for. I am in the process of setting up a website for Writing and the Law, an area in which I write and speak and for which I just won awards in the “Columns, Informational” and “Audiovisual” categories in the 2014 NFPW Communications Contest.

Idaho native Cathy Koon shares talents, dedication with state and national members

Posted June 23, 2014 by tlehre
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I recruited her to join NFPW many years ago and I have enjoyed our time together at state and national conferences ever since. Many of you lovingly dubbed her the “bag lady” after she used her creative talents to hand design the NFPW conference bags for last year’s conference in Salt Lake City.  She is loyal and the best friend you could ever ask for. She loves NFPW and it shows by all the ways she gives of her time and talents. Our organization is better because of this unique and unbelievable member. Meet my awesome friend, Cathy Koon.

Cathy Koon

Cathy Koon

Name: Cathy Koon

City and State: St. Anthony, Idaho, born and raised

Affiliate and any leadership positions: Media Network Idaho, currently serving as president; treasurer of the NFPW Education Fund; editor of NFPW AGENDA magazine.

Years a member of NFPW: Since 1980

Tell us a little about you:

I am a small-town girl at heart, but I love traveling to all the places we hold NFPW conferences. I have seen a lot of this wonderful country through my membership, places I would never have seen otherwise.

I am proud to be the daughter of a U.S. Army veteran who served in Europe during WWII and again in Korea. My ex-husband retired after 25 years with the Army and the Army National Guard, and my daughter Terra served with the Idaho National Guard in Iraq. I am proud to be an American, and that influences many of my decisions in life.

I am also the grandmother of four young boys who keep me on my toes.

Any career advice you would give?

Growing up, most people expected to enter a career field and retire there. Today, they say people will change careers several times in their lives. So I think it is important to find a career that suites your likes and your lifestyle to work at what you love and love your work. Learn to be flexible, keep learning, and always do your best. Don’t become a dinosaur.

Which talent would you most like to have? I want to learn to oil paint.

Cathy Koon on a fly fishin float trip.

Cathy Koon on a fly fishing float trip.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

I live there. But if I couldn’t live in the shadow of the Tetons, I would choose someplace in Montana where I could have a small spread with cows and horses, and run an antiques and collectibles shop on the side.

What book are you reading?

I just finished “The Lost Symbol,” the Dan Brown book. I just started one of Tony Hillerman’s books and one about a guy who is retracing the route of the Pony Express. It is not unusual for me to have one book in the living room, another in the bathroom and one by my bed so I have reading material handy without carting it around with me. I also just starting getting True West magazine that I carry in my purse.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

My goal in life is to one day be a recluse. I want to retire to a cabin with a view of the Tetons, no phone, no computer, a large workshop and tools of every description for making furniture, scrapbooking, creating artworks and quilting. Doesn’t exactly match my answer about where I would like to live, but it is an extension of that lifestyle.

Why is your affiliate and NFPW important to you?

My membership in MNI and NFPW has been an important part of my life for almost 35 years. I have made lifelong friends, kept abreast of trends in journalism and communications, taken advantage of professional development opportunities, and been able to travel throughout the country. Many of the firsts in my life are a direct result of being a member.

Way to follow you on a website, twitter, Facebook, etc.:

I have a Facebook page, plus I administer our Henry’s Fork Foundation page on Facebook, and will soon be the administrator of our new website, scheduled to go live any day now. Someday I may start posting to my blog again.

Award winning journalist Burney shows determination and class in overcoming challenges

Posted June 11, 2014 by tlehre
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She was the NFPW Communicator of Achievement in 1993, the National Mother of the Year in 1991, has won over 250 state and national awards for her columns, articles and books. One of the highlights of the national conference in Iowa/Nebraska in 2011 was the entertaining presentation team of Joan Burney and her daughter Juli Burney. What an entertaining team. I attended the May meeting of Nebraska Press Women and was delighted to see Joan Burney in attendance and making marvelous progress from her recent medical issues. She even led the group in song during the meeting. Her doctors call her a wonder woman and I agree. Meet another unique, unbelievable and amazing NFPW member, Joan Burney.

 Name:  Joan R. Burney, M.S. Ed.

Joan Burney, sitting, and her daughter Juli

Joan Burney, sitting, and her daughter Juli

City and State: Hartington and Lincoln, Nebraska

Affiliate and any leadership positions: Nebraska Press Women, see website www.jburney.com for all the details

Years a member of NFPW: since the late 1960′s

Tell us a little about you.

Joan Burney was a farm wife who became an award winning columnist and feature writer as well as psychological counselor, motivational speaker, author, music director and self described “klutz”.  She has won many national writing awards, been named the Nebraskan of the Year, was the 1991 National Mother of the year, and all while raising 6 kids, 5 boys and a girl.  Now she is a grandmother of 4, 3 girls and a boy. Joan lost her husband in 2005, broke her neck in a car accident in 2006, and in 2007, Joan suffered a traumatic brain injury that caused her aphasia (struggle with finding words to speak) however she retained her writing skills and continued writing her column until a stroke in 2013, which took her reading and writing skills as well, a condition called alexia without agraphia.

Joan has been doing intensive therapy since her stroke and has partially recovered her ability to read, write and mostly to speak. Her condition is so unique that the UNL Barkley Center of Speech-Language and Hearing Clinic conducted a study on therapies with Joan which has lead them to discover new therapies to help others that have the same challenges.  Joan won her most recent award from the Nebraska Speech-Language Hearing Association for her great attitude and determination, inspiring everyone who has a challenge to live life to the fullest.  She does not stop no matter what obstacles life gives her.

Any career advice you would give?

You shouldn’t set out to win awards or make a name for yourself you should just set out to help people.

Joan with NE Governor Dave Heineman, First Lady Sally Ganem and their dog Snickers at the Governor Mansion's annual Easter Egg hunt for the foster care system.

Joan with NE Governor Dave Heineman, First Lady Sally Ganem and their dog Snickers at the Governor Mansion’s annual Easter Egg hunt for the foster care system.

Which talent would you most like to have?

Right now I wish I had my ability to read, write and speak again. I miss writing my columns. I have so much I want to tell people.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

I would love to be living on my farm in Hartington full time. Right now it is just not possible.

What book are you reading?

Dr. Seuss books.  They are helping me regain my reading skills.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

Most people I talk with don’t even realize that I have a problem.  I think they are surprised to find out.

Why is your affiliate and NFPW important to you?

Because I love the women in the group.  They are my friends, my support group, my inspiration.

Way to follow you on a website, twitter, Facebook, etc.  

I am on Facebook and also have a website – www.jburney.com

Indiana journalist Rita Kohn shares passon for books, plays and TV documentaries

Posted June 5, 2014 by tlehre
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RitaKohnIndiana

Journalist Rita Kohn

She is a journalist for all media. She has to her credit 20 books, more than 25 produced plays, five television documentaries, and thousands of articles for print and on-line publications. After I was elected NFPW president last year, she was one of the first to send me a note of congratulations and then was gracious enough to share recent writing samples with me. She is modest (suggesting someone else deserved to be highlighted instead) but as you can see, she is another unique, unbelievable NFPW member. Meet outstanding journalist Rita Kohn.

Name: Rita Kohn

City and State: Indianapolis, IN

Affiliate and any leadership positions: Woman’s Press Club of Indiana and last year’s Indiana Communicator of Achievement

Years a member of NFPW: going on 4

Tell us a little about you.

I’m a full time writer [re-writer--since I tend to 'edit' myself a lot] in diverse fields of journalism, playwrighting, non-fiction, fiction, poetry, picture books, ballet librettos, documentary-making, exhibit-creating; editing, theatre directing. I spent many years as a teacher and writer, before taking the plunge into supporting myself as a writer.

Any career advice you would give? Be an interesting person with an inquisitive nature so you always want to learn something new/fresh so you’ll have lots to write about and never suffer bloc.

Which talent would you most like to have?

Green thumb to have a flourishing foodways and flower gardens.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

Thinking of moving all these books keeps me content to be where I am. I like to travel so it’s nice to be where there’s a hub of highways, flyways, byways

What book are you reading?

The Richmond Group Artists” by Shaun Thomas Dingwerth [Indiana University Press, 2014]; an engaging ‘untold story’ of the overlooked 19th Century Indiana artists whose mark on the art of plein air/landscape and studio painting needs a ‘shout out.’

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

I write a weekly craft beer column and have published two books about  craft beer: ‘True Brew: A Guide to Craft Beer in Indiana” [Indiana University Press, 2010]; and “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Beer Tasting” [Alpha Books, 2013]. I’m working on a third along with books in other fields of interest.

Why is your affiliate and NFPW important to you?

WPCI membership brings with it delightful associations across a wide spectrum; NFPW brings attention to the importance of all points of view in the various fields of journalism–the feminine gender adds depth and breadth to the fifth estate–let’s make that grow.

Way to follow you on a website, twitter, Facebook, etc.

I’m a terribly derelict  social media selfie– but you can find my journalism at nuvo.net and exploredance.com; just google Rita Kohn for titles of books published, plays produced.


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