Nancy Wright Beasley shares passion for learning while writing career continues to expand

Posted October 1, 2014 by tlehre
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Nancy Wright Beasley

She is an award-winning writer. I enjoyed reading her books and her long-time column in Richmond Magazine. It is always great catching up with her at NPFW conferences and the pre and post tours. Meet my wonderful friend, Nancy Wright Beasley.

Name: Nancy Wright Beasley

City and State: Richmond, Virginia

Affiliate and any leadership positions: Virginia Press Women (now known as Virginia Professional Communicators) previously served as secretary. I am currently a board member and have served for several years. COA Nominee for VPW – 2006, recipient of multiple communication contest awards.

Years as member of NFPW: 32

Tell us a little about you.

My father was illiterate and my mother only had a 6th education, but they instilled such a love for education that I initially entered college at 17. I married the third boy I dated at Chowan Junior College the following year and took a break to raise two wonderful boys. At 39, I completed a bachelor’s degree and at 46 I became a widow, however, at 60 I completed a graduate degree at the School of Mass Communications, Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. At the time, the late George Crutchfield, one of five men who originally joined VPW, was the director of the school and was instrumental in encouraging me to pursue my degree.  His widow, Francine, and daughter, Lisa, are members of VPW and dear friends of mine. At 66, I received a Master of Fine Arts in Children’s Literature from Hollins University in 2011. At 69, I think I’ve finally finished formal schooling, unless you count summer school at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and at the University of Pittsburgh, where I studied Lithuanian. And, oh yes, I have three perfect grandchildren.

Any career advice you would give?

Never give up and don’t let age limit or affect your dreams. My stalwart parents were the best example of simply putting one foot in front of the other and never looking back. In his lifetime, I don’t recall my late father ever missing work but three days, when he had the flu. Also, my dear late mother’s advice always rings in my ears when I get weary: “Nothing beats a failure but a try.” Another one of her sage pieces of advice: “Sleep on it. Things always look better in the morning.”

Which talent would you most like to have?

I’ve always wanted to paint and play the piano.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

Beside the ocean so I could hear the surf.

What book are you reading?

“The Purpose Driven Life” by Rick Warren

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

Most people consider me an extrovert. While I immensely enjoy interacting with folks, especially at NFPW conferences, I prefer to live and work alone and need lots of quiet time.


Nancy and her prized VPW sign

Why is your affiliate and NFPW important to you?

I joined Virginia Press Women in 1982, at the invitation of Katherine Calos, who remains a good friend, as well as a current member. At the time I was a state correspondent for The Richmond News Leader and Katherine was a travel writer. Over the last 30+ years, I have branched out to economic development, public relations, newspapers and various publications of all sizes, each time meeting new VPW members and gaining from those associations. Some of my closest and dearest friends are members of VPW. My longest tenure, 16 years and three months as a personal columnist and contributing editor for Richmond magazine, has just drawn to a close. VPW members have been there to support me through that in a very significant way. Also, I have lost count of the wonderful friends I’ve made through NFPW, many of whom I’ve visited in their homes in other states.

In 2005, I published “Izzy’s Fire: Finding Humanity in the Holocaust,” a story of how a Catholic farm family risked their lives to save 13 Jews from certain death during the Holocaust in Lithuania. It won a 1st place in VPW and NFPW competition and is now being used in schools and universities in many states, as well as in Lithuania. A second book, “Reflections of a Purple Zebra,” a compilation of my columns was published in 2007. “The Little Lion,” a young adult historical novel about a Jewish teenage boy who gave his life to save other Jews in Lithuania is being shopped at this time.

How can we keep in touch with you?

I have an active personal Facebook page and also welcome visits to my book website:

Special note: VPW recently change its name to Virginia Professional Communicators. I didn’t want to change the name, so I was gifted with the VPW logo at our spring conference, which is now proudly displayed in my office. It was the end of a 56-year era. We might have changed our name, but our devotion to each other and to our craft hasn’t wavered.

Potter shares writing and photography talents, wins NFPW sweepstakes honor for third time

Posted September 22, 2014 by tlehre
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Mary Pat Finn-Hoag takes a picture of Lori Potter and Potter’s NFPW contest sweepstakes award at the NFPW conference in South Carolina.

Lori Potter is a talented writer and photographer who has captured sweepstakes honors three times in the NFPW Communications Contest including 2014 in South Carolina. She is the immediate past president of NFPW and now leads the NFPW Education Fund. She spends countless hours supporting NFPW. This spring I was able to spend time with her in her hometown of Kearney, Nebraska, visiting the newspaper where Lori and fellow NFPW member Mary Jane Skala work. One of the best parts of being an NFPW member is the friendships we form all over the country. Meet my friend, Lori Potter.

Name: Lori Potter

City and State: Kearney, Neb.

Affiliate and any leadership positions:

I’m currently the Nebraska Press Women legislative/First Amendment director and serve on the finance committee, but I’m the only candidate for treasurer in our Oct. 4 fall convention election. That will be my third term. I’ve also served two terms as president in the early 1990s and have been contest director numerous times, COA director, conference co-host several times, planned the 2011 NFPW Conference pre-tour, and helped judge state high school contests and select scholarship winners.

NFPW: I’m NFPW’s immediate past president and Education Fund director, having come up the ranks from second vice-president. In past years, I also chaired or served on several contest review committees, was an Education Fund board member and was a president’s adviser a time or two.

Years a member of NFPW:

I received my 35-year-certificate the 2014 NFPW Conference in Greenville, S.C. I joined in the fall of 1978, but was credited for those few months as part of my membership starting in January 1979. I don’t think I’ve ever missed an NPW convention and I’ve attended 25 NFPW conferences, starting with the 50th anniversary celebration in Williamsburg, Va., in 1987. Since then, I missed only 1988 and 2001, when the 9/11 terrorist attacks grounded flights for several days.

Tell us a little about you.

I grew up on a Franklin County farm in south-central Nebraska, 11 miles south of Wilcox, population 350. I graduated from Wilcox High School in 1974 in a class of 17, including my fraternal twin sister, Lisa, and received a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Kearney State College in December 1977.

My higher education has come on the job, at NPW and NFPW conferences, and as a member of the 2000-2002 LEAD XX class. LEAD is a two year leadership and learning program for Nebraskans in agriculture and related fields that includes monthly seminars at college campuses across the state and a second-year overseas travel seminar. My class went to Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.

I’ve been a Nebraska daily newspaper writer, photographer and columnist (Potter’s Wheel) my entire career, first in the Panhandle at the Alliance Times-Herald for one year, the York News-Times for nearly eight years and the Kearney Hub for 28 years, with a focus on agriculture and natural resources.

Any career advice you would give?

Understand who you work for. We all have bosses, but my goal is to inform and entertain readers, especially rural Nebraskans whose lives and livelihoods as food producers depend on news about agriculture and our natural resources.

Also, getting better at something may be as simple as practice, practice, practice. If you are a writer, write and also read work by talented writers. If you’re a photographer, take lots of photos and practice using different angles and points of view to tell stories visually in more interesting ways. Take pride in your work, but consider ways to do it better the next time.

Count your blessings if you look forward to doing your job on most days and can’t imagine doing anything else.


Lori Potter, top right, joined other NFPW board members in a trip to Yellowstone National Park following a spring board meeting in Idaho Falls. Participating in the trip are from left: Cathy Koon, Barb Micek, Teri Ehresman, Katherine Keniston, Potter and Cynthia Price.

Which talent would you most like to have?

That’s a long list. I often say my knowledge and talents are like the Platte River of pioneer days, a mile wide and an inch deep. I would like to be handy in a MacGyver sort of way. I cannot fix anything that is broken, torn, worn, leaking, dripping, hanging down or that makes a funny noise. The range of my fix-it skills is limited pretty much to sewing on buttons and restarting locked-up electronic devices. It also would be nice to have a great memory with a retrievable archive for people, faces, names and events.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

For me, like most NFPW members who have responded to this question, home is home. I’m a rural Nebraska girl who loves country roads and the people who live and work along them. I need a 360-degree view of the sky, enjoy the changing seasons if they aren’t too severe and get excited when I hear the first call from one of the hundreds of thousands of sandhill cranes that stop in the Central Platte Valley each March. I enjoy visiting places with mountains, forests, coastlines and other natural beauty. So the best answer might be to have my permanent home in south-central Nebraska and somehow find the financial means to travel as much as I want and/or own a vacation home in each of the other 49 states.

What book are you reading?

I don’t read many books, but I always have a newspaper or magazine with me, including TIME, National Geographic, Smithsonian, Nebraska History Quarterly (which my oldest brother edits) and Nebraska Life.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

Although speaking in public doesn’t bother me, I’m an introvert who avoids social events that require small talk with people I don’t know well. I have a fourth-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do that took me 10 years to complete, from ages 46 to 56. It was a bucket list thing, or more like a do-it-or-forget-it thing. I can whistle really loud hands-free, which is a skill my late farmer brother taught me, and like many NFPW members, I’m mentored at home by two shelter-adopted cats, Thai and Tas.

Why is your affiliate and NFPW important to you?

I honestly don’t know if I would have stayed in journalism without the support I felt from Nebraska members from the moment I joined. I was amazed as a 22-year-old rookie journalist that a professional organization wanted me as a member. I love what I do, but the pressure of deadlines and a lack of appreciation (monetarily and otherwise) at work sometimes can seem overwhelming. No one understands those issues better than people in the same or similar professions. Many of the best friends I’ll ever have are NPW and NFPW members. I see a few regularly, but I wish I could be with all the others more often than our twice-a-year state and annual NFPW conferences that are like family reunions.

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

I am not social media literate, mostly because that’s not the way I need to or prefer to communicate on the job or personally. I look at Facebook from time to time to see what NFPW members post, especially during and after conferences. Email ( or is my friend, and I write a blog for which there is a link on the website. My Hub stories, photos, columns and occasional videos are posted at

Successful writer and editor Sandy Graham says good writing remains an essential skill

Posted September 15, 2014 by tlehre
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She has worked for several prominent publications during her career as a reporter and editor. She credits NFPW for helping her land a job with the Wall Street Journal. She is an outstanding writer, a talent that helped her transform to an extremely successful grants writing career. She was one of the outstanding affiliate Communicators of Achievement honored at the recent National Federation of Press Women conference. Meet another of our outstanding members, Sandy Graham.

Sandy Graham and her husband, Blair Johnson, earlier this year.

Name: Sandy Graham
Hometown: Columbine Valley, Colorado (Denver burb)
Affiliate: Colorado Press Women, currently serving as Communicator of Achievement Chair
Years in NFPW:
I joined New Mexico Press Women in the mid 1970’s. My first convention was San Antonio in 1978.
Tell us a little about you:
During the first half of my career, I worked for publications that one colleague recently told me have become known as “legacy media:” Albuquerque Tribune, Wall Street Journal, Rocky Mountain News, Gannett News Service, USA TODAY and USA WEEKEND. The second half, beginning in 1993, revolved around my own writing/editing business and gradually incorporated more electronic and social media. I’ve freelanced for or contracted with a wide range of entities including the National Safety Council, Coors Brewing Co. (managing the employee publication Silver Bulletin), Colorado Biz magazine, National Jewish Health and Good Housekeeping. In that work, I am most proud of helping found and managing Health Elevations, an award-winning quarterly journal of the Colorado Health Foundation, one of the state’s largest and most influential foundations.
When the Great Recession decimated my freelance business, I took a part-time staff job as grants specialist for the Children’s Museum of Denver, raising roughly $2 million in 5 years. I just learned today that one of my last grant applications received $150,000 in funding for the museum’s capital campaign. I retired June 11, 2014.
I’ve been married since 1986 to the wonderful Blair Johnson, also a recovering newspaper reporter who retired a few years ago after a successful public relations career for communications, cable, financial services and environmental organizations. We have two children, Jaime Graham Johnson, a K-8 music teacher, and Reed Murphy Johnson, a sales analyst for an international beverage company, both in the Denver area. Emmy the golden retriever, rounds out the family. I enjoy hiking, bicycling, traveling, yoga, reading and just hangin’ out with Blair. I am chair of our town’s Planning & Zoning Commission, which is almost a full-time job in itself these days since we expect to receive a proposal to develop 105 acres of farmland in the next few months.

The family at son Reed’s 2012 graduation at Cornell University. They are (left to right) Blair Johnson, Sandy Graham, Jaime Johnson and Reed Johnson.

What career advice would you share:
Regardless of whether one tweets or posts or blogs these days, good writing remains an essential skill. If you can write well, your potential is unlimited. I’m an example: My journalistic skills of knowing how to research a topic, understand my audience and write clearly and concisely for that audience allowed me to transition easily to grant-writing in 2009. Hone your writing skills whatever you do!
What talent would you like to have:
I want to fly like Superman! Or tap-dance …
Where would you live if you could live anywhere?
If I could live anywhere, I might move back to the Land of Enchantment and have a little adobe casita somewhere in northern New Mexico, but I’ll probably stay right here. Colorado is a great place.
What are you currently reading?
For the book club I’ve been in since 1993, I just finished The Goldfinch (marvelous!) and started Stars Go Blue. For me, I’m on Book 5 of A Song of Ice and Fire, better known as the Game of Thrones series.
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
I got my job at the Wall Street Journal because of NFPW. WSJ reporter Meg Cox, a speaker to NFPW’s Indianapolis convention in 1979, announced the Chicago bureau had a job opening for a reporter and I was the only person from an entire roomful of communicators who applied.
Why is your affiliate important to you?
CPW provides great professional growth opportunities – and great friendships.
Ways to follow you:
I really don’t have a “following” so let’s skip FB, Twitter and all that. FB is just for friends and I’ve never used my Twitter account.

Kansas journalist honored for career of dedicated efforts to support affiliate and NFPW

Posted September 8, 2014 by tlehre
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She is a long-time NFPW member who has served her Kansas affiliate in many capacities. At the NFPW conference in South Carolina this month, she was honored as 2014 Communicator of Achievement, the highest honor awarded annually to a NFPW member. The honor is based on service to NFPW and her affiliate, service in the communication field and for her volunteer work to her community. Meet outstanding NFPW member Becky Funke.

Name:  Becky FunkebeckyFunke

City and State:  Goddard, Kansas

Affiliate and any leadership positions:  Kansas, second vice president for by-laws right now, held nearly every other elected and/or appointed office.  Conference co-chair for the 2016 NFPW conference in Kansas.

Years a member of NFPW:  31

In a couple of paragraphs, tell us a little about you.

Oh, what a challenge

I guess the place to start is with my life-changing last year. I just recently returned to work after a 9-month leave while I was treated for leukemia.  I was diagnosed with Acute Myleod Leukemia on October 1 — my 57th birthday; did two rounds of chemo in Wichita, then went to the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City in December for a third round of chemotherapy and on December 20, 2013 received a double cord blood (stem cell) transplant.  I spent the next three and a half months (with my husband) at the American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge in Kansas City, Mo (nearly 300 miles from home) for treatment and recovery from the transplant.  I’m in remission, all of my numbers are good, but with essentially no immune system, I stay pretty much in my routine of going to work and going home.

I’m a Kansas girl through and through. While I was in elementary school, my family moved from Kansas to Delaware, back to Kansas, then to Louisiana and Florida (my father worked in aviation and aerospace and followed contracts). We moved back to Kansas and stayed put when I was in sixth grade.  I like to say I started my career in high school. I was on the staff my high school newspaper, which was a page of the community’s weekly newspaper, for two years; editor my senior year.  The teacher, who was also publisher of the community newspaper, set high standards for us.  I’ve never looked back and with the exception of my first semester of college, have worked on a newspaper ever since.

I have a degree in communications and have worked for 36 years at small publications: weekly newspapers, a small five-day a week daily and for the past 24 years at Active Aging, a monthly publication for the 55+ market in the Wichita area.

Any career advice you would give?

Never stop learning, never stop honing your skills. You can always improve and in today’s digital world,  you have to keep up with technology.  And network, network, network!


Which talent would you most like to have?

I can’t carry a tune in a bucket, as the old saying goes…and I love music.  So I would wish for some musical talent.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

Kansas is really a great place to live (except for the politics, but hope springs eternal every election) and I really can’t imagine living anywhere else.

What book are you reading? 

The Girls of August by Anne Rivers Siddons.  I love southern fiction, I suppose from the almost five years I lived in the deep south as a child.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

My favorite story: my husband proposed to me via an ad he bought in the newspaper where I was editor.  The publisher and production staff managed to hide the ad from me, sent me out of the printing plant before the paper came off the press and I didn’t see the ad until I picked up the office copies of the papers from the post office (the printing plant was in a town 40+ miles from where I worked). That yellowed ad is a part of my pile of things to be included in scrapbooks someday.

Why is your affiliate and NFPW important to you?

First, the many friends I have made through press women; I had some wonderful mentors in Kansas Press Women back when I first joined and I continue to meet and make new friends.

Second, I have always worked at small publications where I was often the only communications professional on the staff. I joined what was then Kansas Press Women and NFPW for the educational opportunities.  The state organization conferences always offer top-notch speakers and even after 30 years of attending I always come away with new ideas, new perspective. I started entering the contest, got hooked with a few certificates and the comments from judges.   I’ve been to several NFPW conferences (wish I was able to attend this year, but my immune system isn’t ready for air travel and being around a lot of people) and always come home re-charged and with new ideas.

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

I’m on Facebook as Becky Funke

Former NFPW president and COA helps organization find ways to keep growing

Posted August 25, 2014 by tlehre
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Cynthia Price

Cynthia Price

She is a past president of the National Federation of Press Women and former NFPW Communicator of Achievement. She is an overachiever who keeps challenging herself to continue to excel in all she does. She is one of the reasons I enjoy attending NFPW conferences — to see her and learn about some of the innovative ideas she has. NFPW attendees this year will benefit from the conference app she crafted. Meet my good friend, Cynthia Price.

Name: Cynthia Price

City and State: Glen Allen, VA

Affiliate and any leadership positions:

Virginia Professional Communicators. Past president NFPW, Virginia Press Women. NFPW Conference Co-Chair 2007. NFPW COA Director. Numerous other state roles.

Years a member of NFPW: 25

Tell us a little about you.

I believe in living life on the edge, exploring and sometimes being lazy.

Professionally, I was the youngest editor of my college newspaper, went on to work as a newspaper reporter, and then transitioned into PR. I launched a business magazine for the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, spent almost 11 years as the spokesperson of an urban police department and then explored the world helping vulnerable children through an international child development organization. Now I’m director of media and PR for the University of Richmond.

Any career advice you would give?

Follow your passions. What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail? If you aren’t living on the edge, you’re taking up too much room. In other words, “Just Do It!”

Which talent would you most like to have?

To be able to sing.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

I have a great life where I am but if I could afford a flat in London, a condo in Chicago and a cottage on the beach, that would be terrific!

What book are you reading?

Cynthia Price with Gene Simmons

Cynthia Price with Gene Simmons

By the time someone reads this, I’ll have moved on to the next one. I read between 5 and 10 books a month. I’m in a book club, which keeps me on a more literary bent. I’m a voracious reader of mysteries. I also consumer leadership and coaching books.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

I am an introvert. On that note, I encourage everyone to read the book, Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain.

Why is your affiliate and NFPW important to you? Both organizations have provided me with fantastic learning opportunities (through conferences and hands-on experience), leadership opportunities and networking opportunities. Where both organizations go beyond what most other professional organizations provide is in the lifelong friendships that one makes over time.

Another plus has been the travel to all the great states in the U.S. I started this thing called “50 by 50,” and it originated because I was discovering I was visiting so many of the states because of NFPW. I set a goal to visit all 50 states before I turn 50. The NFPW conference is in Alaska in my 50th year and it’s the last state I need. Yea!

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


Twitter: @PriceCynthia


From newspapers to bank communications, Stensrud excels in all she sets out to accomplish

Posted August 14, 2014 by tlehre
Categories: Uncategorized


She excels in everything she does. She was the sweepstakes winner in the 2013 NFPW Communications Contest. In 2010 she was named Communicator of Achievement, the top honor given to a NFPW member. Give her a task and it is done on time and with style and class. She is always looking for ways to do things better and willing to help in any way she can. Meet an outstanding writer and communicator who shares her talents with the state and national organization. Meet my good friend Karen Stensrud.

 Name: Karen Stensrud

Karen  Stensrud

Karen Stensrud

City and state: Fargo, North Dakota

Affiliate and any leadership positions:

In my state affiliate, North Dakota Professional Communicators (NDPC), I have directed our college communications contest; served as district chair, scholarship chair and nominations chair; and served three consecutive terms as president.

At the national level, I co-chaired NFPW’s high school communications contest for several years, served as an NFPW Education Fund board member, chaired the nominating committee and have been honored to serve on the President’s Advisory Council for both Lori Potter and Teri Ehresman.

Years a member of NFPW: 21

In a couple of paragraphs, tell us a little about you:

I’m a South Dakota native and grew up in a wonderful small town, Madison. I enjoyed the benefits of being the only daughter and middle child, with two brothers. My younger brother died in a car accident when he was 16 (I was 18), and my nephew, Andrew, is named after him. My brother’s death meant that I understood from a young age that life is too short to become caught up in petty things or be negative and unhappy. (End of sermon.)

Karen with her parents Helen and Homer Stensrud of Effie, Minn. The  attended the conference in Chicago when Karen was named NFPW Communicator of Achievement.

Karen with her parents Helen and Homer Stensrud of Effie, Minn. They attended the conference in Chicago when Karen was named NFPW Communicator of Achievement.

I graduated from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minn., and have a master’s degree in creative writing from Minnesota State University– Moorhead. (It means I could write a sonnet about the bank where I work, although I have to say, there has not been a great call for that.) I have worked in journalism, marketing and communications – first as a newspaper reporter, then as a healthcare marketing writer and designer. After that, I owned my own marketing communications business for eight years before joining Bell State Bank & Trust 10 years ago as marketing manager. I’ve had an interesting career with a variety of work! We are undergoing some exciting changes at Bell this year, and I am now transitioning to management of the communications and content side of the company. It’s really fun, because it channels my strategic and writing strengths into helping plan and “give voice” to executives and experts in our company. It makes my work interesting, with lots of new ideas and new things to learn.

I have a little black cat, Minette, who entertains me and has a place of prominence (as she should) at the top of my Facebook page. My parents are retired on a lake in northern Minnesota, and I plan trips and travel with them as often possible; last year, we went to San Clemente and Santa Catalina, in Southern California, and had so much fun we might repeat the trip next spring! My

Karen and her nephew, Andrew Stensrud, on a family sightseeing trip.

Karen and her nephew, Andrew Stensrud, on a family sightseeing trip.

brother and his family live near Rochester, Minn., and I enjoy taking my 16-year-old nephew and 14-year-old niece on trips every few years. We’ve been to Washington, D.C. and New York City, and I have a wild idea about taking them to Paris after their graduations. I like to spend my free time visiting family, hanging out with friends, traveling, cooking and reading.

Any career advice you would give?

I have always told college students to do what they love, not what will necessarily please others. If you want to write well, read lots. Keep learning. Become masterful at what you’re good at. If you need to, motivate yourself one of my favorite Eleanor Roosevelt quotes: “You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” It’s the only way I learned public speaking!

Which talent would you most like to have?

I wish I had a really lovely singing voice – I do not, although I can sing in tune.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

I’d love to have a flat in Paris – who wouldn’t?

What book are you reading?

I’m always trying to read two or three books at once, so my list gets long. The summer read I’ve been recommending is Sue Monk Kidd’s “The Invention of Wings.” I’m going to look for NFPW friend Julie Campbell’s recommendation, Hampton Sides’ “In the Kingdom of Ice,” about a 19th-century attempt to sail to the North Pole. (I love biography and history.) I also have a really odd list of old favorites I reread almost every year, including “David Copperfield,” “The Wind in the Willows,” “1984,” “The Lord of the Rings” and all the “Little House on the Prairie” books.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

I am one of the few people most people know who has actually been to Madagascar. My mom grew up there as the daughter of missionaries, and I made a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Madagascar in 1992 with my mom and her oldest sister, visiting all the places they had lived. It was amazing to see the landscape of my mother’s childhood, when I’d previously had to imagine from her stories and photos!

Why are your affiliate and NFPW important to you?

I have benefited not only from the conferences and professional development presented by both NDPC and NFPW, but also from outstanding professional recognition, thanks to contest and Sweepstakes awards and being named national COA in 2010 – a career highlight for me. Just as importantly, I have made lifelong friendships in both organizations. Because of going to conferences and getting involved at the national level, I have made friends with people from all over the country, and I treasure those relationships.

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

You can friend me on Facebook or connect with me on LinkedIn. I haven’t become a great Tweeter yet!

Del Cohen shares her passion for volunteer work in home state of Nevada and for NFPW

Posted July 28, 2014 by tlehre
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She is like the Energizer bunny. She just keeps going, and going and going to promote the causes near and dear to her heart. She is an amazing woman who jumps into the causes she believes in and gives her time and talents 100 percent. Shayne Del Cohen is a long-time leader for NFPW in Nevada. She believes in our organization and we are better for her dedication to both organizations. We are a better organization because of Shayne. Meet another unique and unbelievable member.

Name: Shayne Del Cohen

Shayne Del Cohen

Shayne Del Cohen

City and State: Reno, Nevada

Affiliate and leadership positions: Seemingly lifetime president of Nevada Press Women

Years a member of NFPW: Joined in the 1970’s

Tell us a little about you.

Absolutely excellent and nurturing high school (journalism) education in Bay Area which facilitated “higher” education at UCDavis, Friends World College (Mexico, Kenya, India, with independent study in Viet Nam/Korea), M.A. at School for International Education (Malaysia) and Ph.D. in International Law from Columbia Pacific.

As a VISTA Volunteer in the early days, was assigned to the Fallon-Paiute Shoshone Reservation through the Inter-Tribal Council of Nevada which not only became home and family, but a foundation for working as the AO to the Reno-Sparks tribal chairman for 10 years as well as serving as a development consultant with tribes all over the country for the last 25 years.

From basic water and electricity systems, housing and community organization to casinos, museums, archives, it has been constant stimulation and exciting projects for almost a half century, to say nothing of interactions with the U.S. Congress and Nevada Legislature. One seldom sees green snot anymore and there is a growing population of well educated, culturally grounded and vision-questing natives, testimony to the possibilities for all indigenous overcoming the ravages of colonialism.

Along the way I hosted/produced a public affairs television show, “We the People,” for 15 years. As the Nevada coordinator for a five-state tribal libraries project, I started a newsletter which evolved into a daily journal which goes out to an email list as well as being carried on the California Indian Education website. (To demonstrate the time warp, one of my first tasks as a VISTA was to zip-code the subscription list for the Native Navadan, a state-wide community newspaper, pre-internet.)

Obviously very blessed.

Any career advice you would give?

Be a radical……radical is a mathematical term meaning root. Thus, go to the root of the story/problem/situation. The old 5 W’s serve us well as does two source reporting. The other thing that has served me well is to always ask, “Where does it say no?”

Shayne Del Cohen

Shayne Del Cohen

Which talent would you most like to have?

To be able to burst into recognizable song. I have a three note range, all off key. Paramour and I were both invited OUT of the sixth grade choir.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

There is a saying, “home is where the heart is.” My heart is between second and fourthe rib, therefore I am always at home.

What book are you reading?

“How Mrs. Claus Saved Christmas,” by Jeff Guinn and “The Anti-Federalist Papers and Constitutional Convention Debates” by Ralph Ketchem, preceded by “Gloss” by Jennifer Oko about the battle between style and substance on morning news shows and “Black Hills” by Dan Simmons, an amazing and beautifully crafted story.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

My Dad was the entertainment for the 1994 NFPW Convention in Las Vegas which proved to be the practice round for his becoming the International Whistling Champion 1995.

Why is your affiliate and NFPW important to you?

For many decades Nevada Press Women was small, but an amazing group of talented, energetic and pace setting women in a small state where everyone knew everyone. Nevada has changed dramatically and this chapter needs to be revitalized and refocused as the publications of our beginnings are quickly disappearing. NFPW grapples with some of the same realities and together we may find ways of facilitating moth organizations to provide meaningful leadership and mentoring within the burgeoning field of communications.

Ways to follow you on website, etc. with many thanks to The Indian Reporter, California Indian Network,



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