Ruth Anna spent two years serving as NFPW president (1995-1997) and this year is celebrating 40 years as a member. She is passionate about First Amendment and Freedom of Information issues. She is willing to fight for what she believes in. It was great seeing her again this spring at a dinner with Colorado Press Women. The dinner was organized as part of the NFPW spring board meeting in Denver. She is another example of a unique and unbelievable NFPW member. Meet my friend, Ruth Anna.
Name: Ruth Neil Hein Anna
City and State: Littleton, Colorado
Affiliate and any leadership positions: Joined in North Dakota in 1976. Affiliated with Colorado in 1978 or 79 and have been here since. Worked on many committees and have been the representative to the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition since 1988 and its Treasurer since 1994. Past President (3 years) and Vice President (1 year) of Colorado Press Women. Past CPW Communicator of Achievement.
Years a member of NFPW: 40 years. Past NFPW President 1995-97. Appointed NFPW Representative to the National First Amendment Congress-3 years.
Tell us a little about you.
Raised on a family farm near Otis, Colorado that my grandparents homesteaded. Fourth generation Coloradan and University of Colorado School of Journalism-Radio/TV graduate. Have over 40 years of diversified experience in private and public arenas. Started as the Radio Traffic Manager in Casper, Wyoming, doing news work sporadically. Next was Rapid City, South Dakota, where I hosted a TV talk show “Two Bits with Ruth Anna”. Bismarck, North Dakota, followed where I was the Alumni Director for Mary College (now Mary University) and then the Public Information Officer for the Attorney General and North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation.
Six months after our daughter was born I realized how much I was missing and quit to open my own Public Relations consulting business. Since 1977 I’ve been the CEO of Anna Public Relations Consultants. Services include: promotional publications, targeted community outreach programs, nonprofit fundraising/event planning, specialized workshop presentations, campaign management, and conference planning. Clients include: professional associations, scientific firms, human service agencies, nonprofit organizations, and political candidates.
Recent community service includes: Trustee for our public library (13 years), elected to the national Executive Board of the Urban Libraries Council (6 years); and served on several community organizations’ Board of Directors. When I kids were in K-12, I was very involved and an elected district and state leader in PTA, School Accountability efforts, etc.
Any career advice you would give?
Follow your passion. And, whatever your career choice, stay true to your beliefs and do not ‘prostitute’ yourself. As a PR practitioner I must believe in what I promote, or I’m raising money for, whether an organization or an individual. If I don’t, I have enough confidence and respect for my professional and personal ethics to decline or leave the situation or client.
From sixth grade on I’ve been passionate about FOI and 1st Amendment issues. I remain actively involved in open meetings/public records/First Amendment issues in Colorado, and often on national issues.
Which talent would you most like to have?
Many times I’ve thought it would be great to be a stand-up comedian like Bob Hope. I once thought writing the great American novel would be super, but for many years I now think writing a great screenplay would be splended!
An attribute I do need more of is patience.
If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
I would have loved moving to a small or medium sized college town once my husband, a geologist, retired. (I haven’t retired yet, but know my consulting career could move with me.) We both enjoyed living in North Dakota and appreciated the friendliness of the entire state. But, our daughter and family live only a ten minute walk from our home, and having grandchildren that close is something I would never want to change. In fact, being a grandmother is the best thing in the world!
What book are you reading?
I’m hooked on audio books. I spend a lot of time in my car and they are wonderful. And, they are free from your public library in so many accessible formats. Some of my favorite authors are Agatha Christi, Clive Cussler, John Grisham, Tom Clancy, James Mitchner, Sue Grafton, and many others. Except for Christi I’ve met and chatted with all those I listed and more. Currently listening to Cussler’s latest book.
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
Maybe, that I’m actually shy. However, I learned at an early age that I have an insatiable curiosity and drive to change things I object to, and to support things I genuinely like. Additionally, I find people fascinating. Discovering things about people I meet makes life so much more interesting.
Why is your affiliate and NFPW important to you?
In the beginning it may have been for the professional networking and support. Now it’s for the friendships and experiences we have shared.
Way to follow you on a website, twitter, Facebook, etc.
Sorry, my only use of social media is for client work. It’s simply not my thing. Besides, you never know how it will be used or where or how it might impact your life. Sharing personal type stuff on the internet is crazy. I prefer, and enjoy, letters, phone calls, get-togethers, etc.