Meet a Member: Wilma Moore-Black

Posted August 25, 2016 by tlehre
Categories: Kansas, NFPW, Uncategorized

Tags: , ,

One of the Kansas members ready to welcome NFPW members to Wichita is Wilma Moore-Black. Wilma was national co-membership director while I was NFPW president. She has spent the last year helping with preparations for this year’s national conference in her hometown of Wichita. Meet another unique and unbelievable NFPW member I am honored to call a friend.

Wilma Moore-Black is a hat lady. You will see her in all types of hats, especially a red one and cowboy hats. I was wearing my Jerusalem hat on "hat day" at my church Unity of Wichita. She purchased the hat in Jerusalem during a 2014 trip to Israel and Jerusalem with church members and friends of LOV Ministries of Dallas.

Wilma Moore-Black is a hat lady. You will see her in all types of hats, especially a red one and cowboy hats. She purchased this hat in Jerusalem during a 2014 trip to Israel and Jerusalem with church members and friends of LOV Ministries of Dallas.

Name:  Wilma Moore-Black

City and State: Wichita, Kansas

Affiliate and any leadership positions: Kansas

Years a member of NFPW: 10 according to NFPW, but my records for membership while in Norfolk, Virginia from 1973 to 1980 with a byline of Wilma Tillis at The Ledger Star cannot be located. I think it’s more like about 17 years.

Tell us a little about you.

My name is special. You’ll remember when you think of the beautiful, intelligent woman who is married to Fred Flintsone? (Wilma). Why settle for less in life when you can get more? (Moore-my maiden name) and the beautiful color I possess is? (Black-my spouse’s surname). You’ve now met Wilma Moore-Black. I’m unique. I know that I make a difference in this lifetime and with anyone I meet. It’s my job to make sure that you realize, accept and learn to promote the best about yourself after you’ve met me. I’m a trailblazer and a change agent in my own right.

Wilma Moore-Black met Mr. Louis Gossett Jr., before she presented a speech at a luncheon sponsored by the National Association of Black Journalist last year in Minneapolis. Her speech won a national award in this year's communications contest. Her speech was titled "Mr. Gordon Parks: A Genius Whose Legacy Lives On in Kansas and Worldwide."

Wilma Moore-Black met Mr. Louis Gossett Jr., before she presented a speech at a luncheon sponsored by the National Association of Black Journalist last year in Minneapolis. Her speech won a national award in this year’s communications contest. Her speech was titled “Mr. Gordon Parks: A Genius Whose Legacy Lives On in Kansas and Worldwide.”

Journalism, photography and mass communications have been three means to connect with people and help make this world better. The media is very powerful. It’s important that people not abuse and misuse it because people can be encouraged, informed, improved, and even hurt by what the media does.  Freezing life’s memories in a snapshot just thrills my heart. I am now loving retirement and sharing time with my grandchildren.

Any career advice you would give?    

~ Try the triple-H threat. Be honest to yourself and others, be happy and stay healthy.

~ Use this formula often: H1B1 – Help one, bring one along the way. Shared with me by my friend Cindy in Phoenix.

Which talent would you most like to have?

Besides playing the flute for eight years, I would love to have had drum and piano lessons.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be? 

Wichita, Kansas, my hometown because it is a good place to raise a family.

Wilma is telling Sanata her wish is for a great NFPW conference in her hometown of Wichita. She said the conference is going to be a rocking good time and she looks forward to seeing everyone soon.

Wilma is telling Sanata her wish is for a great NFPW conference in her hometown of Wichita. She said the conference is going to be a rocking good time and she looks forward to seeing everyone soon.

What book(s) are you reading?           

“United” by Corey Booker, “The Relevance of Religion: How Faithful People Can Change Politics,” by John Danforth, “The Butler: A Witness To History,” by Wil Haygood and “365 Read-Aloud Bedtime Bible Stories” to my grandchildren.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

  1. That I was the 1973 Homecoming Queen at Kansas State University.
  2. Also, I graduated in three years with my first bachelor’s degree in 1973; I earned a 4.0 GPA while carrying 24 hours.
  3. That I have retired from Wichita State University as the associate director of Communication Upward Bound, and I’m working for a non-profit organization Maple Grove Heritage Association as the executive director and marketing coordinator.

Why is your affiliate and NFPW important to you?

Kansas Professional Communicators –  A statewide effort to promote the highest ethical standards in the communications field. Being involved offers the chance to really see and respect what the state offers by hosting annual conferences throughout the state. You can be as involved and step forward to share, learn and grow through KPC. I have enjoyed serving as a state president and other positions and working to promote the 2016 national conference.

NFPW – networking, traveling and maintaining professional development; presence for diversity as a person of color in the media. This national group offers an excellent opportunity for national recognition and from your peers of one’s work through the communications contest.

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

Facebook, email, LinkedIn or just call me—at work is fine. 316.682.4821; leave a message if I don’t answer.

 

Meet a Member: Ruth Anna

Posted August 10, 2016 by tlehre
Categories: Colorado, NFPW, Uncategorized

Tags: , ,

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.

Ruth Neil Hein Anna

Ruth Neil Hein 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.

Ruth Anna and husband Larry will celebrate 45 years of marriage later this year.

Ruth Anna and husband, Larry, will celebrate 45 years of marriage this year.

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.

Ruth Anna, right, with current NFPW President Marsha Hoffman, center and Teri Ehresman, left.

Ruth Anna, right, with current NFPW President Marsha Hoffman, center and Teri Ehresman, immediate past president, left.

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.

Meet a Member: Jessie Fernandes

Posted August 2, 2016 by tlehre
Categories: NFPW, Uncategorized

Tags: , ,
She might be one of our oldest NPFW members. At 95 years young, Jessie Irene Fernandes still has a passion for writing and she is still entering the NFPW communications contest. She is writing a book she hopes to have published in time for next year’s contest. She is still having fun and is greatful for all her experiences. Meet this unique and unbelievable NFPW member.
Jessie Fernandes in India with Taj Mahal in the background.

Jessie Fernandes in India with Taj Mahal in the background.

Name: Jessie Irene Fernandes

City and State: Bellevue, WA

Affiliate and any leadership positions: Member NFPW member since 2007. Washington Press Association is no long active, so I am an at-large member.

Tell us a little about you.

All my life I have told stories and by the third grade, a short research paper on local trees. garnered me a red ribbon. By high school, I was writing stories about cowboys and Master Fu Manchu to fit the portraits drawn by my friend.

My college years were blessed with an English teacher who mentored a group of aspiring journalists. We did a lot of writing and I won a prize for poetry in a state wide contest and edited the college literary journal. Those days, I dreamed of being another Martha Gellhorn.

My senior year began in 1941, the year of Pearl Harbor. World War II was the seminal experience for most of my generation. Instead of becoming a foreign correspondent, I worked as secretary in the Public Relations Office at Cochran Army Air Base, Macon, Ga. My journalism dreams vanished when I fell in love with a charming British Royal Air Force pilot and I joined him in an England at war. It was not until 2015 that I fictionalized our marriage in Long Time Passing, the novel that I submitted to this year’s NFPW contest. After World War II, as a young widow with a son to support, I found a career as director of the medical records department in a hospital on Long Island, New York. Not what I had planned for my life, but it fed and clothed my son and me and, once my son fled the nest, I was free to travel. Commercial airlines opened the door to world wide travel and I took advantage of that. To file drawers full of poetry, story ideas and character profiles, I added travel journals.

It was not until 1986, when I retired, that retirement allowed the time and opportunity for me to work at writing. Over the years, I had submitted poetry and articles, with moderate success at publication, but in the back of my mind, my college voice said, “Go ahead. Write the Great American Novel.” That never came to fruition, but six or several manuscripts later, I published The Wild Child, which, to my surprise, won first place in the Washington Press Association contest and honorable mention in the NFPW contest. There is no thrill to compare with holding a trade paperback book with your name on the cover.

Now, a grateful nonagenarian, I look back at my life: a tapestry of wonderful colors, characters from a variety of cultures, experiences of pure joy and total despair, music by Beethoven to Paul Simon and beyond — rich beyond gold and jewels.

Long Time Passing was supposed to be my last novel. Every morning felt empty, however, so I dug up a discarded murder mystery from File 13 and am happily revising it, exploring new writing techniques and plan to enter it in next year’s NFPW contest.

Any career advice you would give?

To young writers I say: eat your veggies like mother said, exercise and keep writing whenever you can. You can learn even from drudge work just for pay. The day will come when you can create to your heart’s content. I wish you as happy an old age as I am having.

Jessie Fernandes with llamas in Machu Pichu.

Jessie Fernandes with llamas in Machu Pichu.

Where would I live other than Bellevue?

I am comfortable living right where I am. I have traveled six continents and could not possible identify a favorite country or city.

What talent do you wish you had?

Ballet dancer? Musician? I love writing and work at that. Mostly, I am grateful for the variety of experiences I have had – successful and unsuccessful. A long life provides many dishes to taste – that’s an old Chinese saying that I just made up!

What are you reading? 

My choice of books to read is eclectic; murder mysteries, general literature.  I just finished Mr and Mrs Disraeli: a strange romance, by Daisy Hay and H. is for Hawk, by Helen Macdonald, both worth reading.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

People who know me now might be surprised to learn that I spent Saturdays for several years digging with an archeological group. Good exercise and fun.

Why is NFPW important to you?

NFPW is important to me, because it acknowledges women’s place in journalism; it gives us a forum to express our views on the world today and a way to impact that world, one hopes for good. I’m sorry that I didn’t discover NFPW earlier in my life. I would have enjoyed joining you all. The members of the organization inspire me to keep working to improve what I write, to achieve the best of which I am capable.

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

I do not have a website or Facebook – not even a cell phone. I can be contacted at my e-mail address: sammijif@gmail.com and My books are available on Amazon.

Meet a Member: Tammy Keith

Posted July 19, 2016 by tlehre
Categories: Uncategorized

Tags: , ,

When I think of communications professionals, one of the first names I think of is Tammy Keith of Arkansas. Tammy consistently wins honors in the Arkansas and NFPW communications contest. Last year in Alaska she tied for second place in the overall sweepstakes competition. She was honored as the national sweepstakes winner in 2011. Take a few minutes to get to know this unique and unbelievable NFPW member.

Tammy Keith

Tammy Keith

Name: Tammy Keith

City and State: Conway, Arkansas

Affiliate and any leadership positions: Arkansas Press Women, and I am a past high school contest chairwoman.

Years a member of NFPW: Nine

Tell us a little about you.

I got my first reporter’s job at The Jonesboro Sun the summer before I graduated from Arkansas State University (Go, Red Wolves!). A tall, skinny guy sat at the desk behind me, and he was not my type, but he made me laugh. We’ve been married 28 years, and we have two sons, 26 and 23, and one wonderful daughter-in-law. He still makes me laugh. I am senior writer and columnist for the zoned editions of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, the state’s largest newspaper.

Any career advice you would give?

Don’t be afraid to ask any question or make any phone call. You never know what someone will tell you. Write every kind of story – from obituaries to sports. Experience matters.

Tammy Keith, right, accepts the 2015 Arkansas Press Women sweepstakes award from APW President Debbie Miller. Keith won the NFPW communications sweepstakes award in 2011 and Miller won the honor in 2010.

Tammy Keith, right, accepts the 2015 Arkansas Press Women sweepstakes award from APW President Debbie Miller. Keith won the NFPW communications sweepstakes award in 2011 and Miller won the honor in 2010.

Which talent would you most like to have?

Having math skills above a third-grade level would be handy. I’d like to be a mind-reader, if by talent, you mean super power.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

Somewhere tropical, but only if my entire family could live there, too.

What book are you reading?

I’d love to say a Pulitzer-Prize winning novel, but I grabbed The Style Strategy by Nina Garcia out of my mom’s garage-sale books to read. Before that, I read Younger Next Year for Women — Live Strong, Fit and Sexy Until You’re 80 and Beyond. At 52, I’m looking for all the help I can get.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

People who haven’t read my column would be surprised to know I gave birth to my second son in the front seat of my car on the Fourth of July. I soon got a new car.

Why is your affiliate and NFPW important to you?

I enjoy being a part of a group of people who love the journalism profession as much as I do and work to make it better. I’ve learned a lot at NFPW conferences, and I’ve met people I’ll never forget.

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

The River Valley and Ozark Edition, for which I primarily write, is available online at http://www.arkansasonline.com/rivervalley. We have a Facebook page, too.

Meet a Member: Lynda Exley

Posted July 7, 2016 by tlehre
Categories: Arizona, NFPW, Uncategorized

Tags: , ,

When you get a chance, check out the outstanding Arizona Professional Writers newsletter. The publication is the effort of member Lynda Exley. She also shared her talents when Arizona hosted the NFPW conference in 2012. She is a professional communicator who volunteers her time to share her talents with others. Take a minute to learn more about this unique and unbelievable NFPW member.

Lynda Exley

Lynda Exley

Name:  Lynda Exley

City and State: Sedona, Arizona

Affiliate and any leadership positions: Arizona Professional Writers Newsletter Chairperson

Years a member of NFPW: 19

Tell us a little about you.

Lynda Exley was recent awarded APW’s 2106 Communicator of Achievement, by Arizona Professional Writers, a.k.a. Arizona Press Women. Her writing career began when she left a successful career as an association executive for the Arizona Hotel and Motel Association to have her son. She decided it was her chance to answer the writing siren, and hasn’t looked back since. She is a former author, editor and publicity agent at Five Star Publications, and editor/writer for the SanTan Sun News, Arizona Parenting, Houston Parent, LA Parent, Ahwatukee Monthly, SWEAT magazine and many other publications.

Exley earned more than 50 national and state awards for editing and writing, and co-authored Arizona Way Out West & Wacky, Arizona Color Me Wacky and Arizona Way Out West & Witty: Library Edition, which won 2012 ONEBOOKAZ for kids. She is the recipient of Arizona Newspaper Association’s Best Entry Outstanding Writing award, a three-time National Federation of Press Women Communications Contest winner for writing and editing, and garnered more than a dozen first-place wins in the APW Communications Contests. She is also a Speakers In The Schools presenter for Arizona Humanities.

Lynda Exley shown at the Chandler Chuckwagon Cookoff with her traveling companion, Johnny Ringo, a puppet representing Arizona's State Mammal.

Lynda Exley shown at the Chandler Chuckwagon Cookoff with her traveling companion, Johnny Ringo, a puppet representing Arizona’s State Mammal.

Any career advice you would give?

If your writing career is just beginning, network with colleagues in organizations like NFPW, never say no to an assignment and never miss a deadline! AND, become the expert in AP style. In addition, don’t be afraid to expand from newspaper writing to PR, or visa-versa. The more you know about both sides of the fence, the more successful you will be. Read a lot of the type of writing you want to do yourself. Learn every type of technology you can get your hands on and wrap your head around. Technology is the future.

If you have enjoyed a writing career for some years like myself, give a hand up to deserving young writers. This is the time in your life when you should be paying forward for the mentoring you received or becoming the mentor you wish you had when you were just starting out — even if you never had a mentor yourself.

Which talent would you most like to have?

Ha! I wish I could carry a tune! I love to sing, but hate to offend others with it!

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

In Sedona, Arizona where I already live.

When a fellow author fell ill at the last minute and couldn't make her storytelling and book signing at the Children's Museum in Phoenix, Arizona, Lynda Exley filled in by reading the other author's book and playing Old MacDonald Had a Farm with visitors.

When a fellow author fell ill at the last minute and couldn’t make her storytelling and book signing at the Children’s Museum in Phoenix, Arizona, Lynda Exley filled in by reading the other author’s book and playing Old MacDonald Had a Farm with visitors.

What book are you reading?

I am in the process of plowing through all of Joel Goldsmith’s books. So far, The Infinite Way is my favorite, but they are all excellent. I like fiction as well, and am getting ready to start All the Rage by Courtney Summers. I’m reading a lot of YA fiction because I am working on a YA novel myself.  I’ve never written fiction before, so I am stretching myself.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

That I completed the Tour de Tucson years back — a 110-mile bicycle race. People look at our older exteriors, and never guess at the young person lost inside.

Why is your affiliate and NFPW important to you?

Networking, the annual communications contest and the prestige of belonging to such a respected organization.

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

www.AZWOWW.com

www.HelpingHandsWebsites.com

www.LyndaExleyBooks.com

http://www.Facebook/LyndaExley

http://www.Facebook/LyndaExleyBooks.

 

Meet a Member: Sandy Michel Nance

Posted June 23, 2016 by tlehre
Categories: Colorado, NFPW, Uncategorized

Tags: , , ,

Affiliate presidents are valued leaders in our organization. One of our outstanding affiliate presidents is Sandy Michel Nance of Colorado. She is a long-time leader in her affiliate and another outstanding NFPW member. She is a dedicated professional and a fun person to be around. Meet another unique and unbelievable NFPW member.

Name:  Sandy Michel Nance

City and State:  Wheat Ridge, Colorado

Sandy Michel Nance

Sandy Michel Nance

Affiliate and any leadership positions: Colorado Press Women, currently president. Was also president of CPW in 2004. Have also run contest and arranged programs.

Years a member of NFPW:  38 years

Tell us a little about you.

Journalism is where my heart is, but I only used my journalism degree for four wild years in Wyoming — at UPI and the Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune — before going to work in the corporate public relations office of Mountain Bell. I spent 25 years with that company (aka, US West when I left), working in employee communications, media relations, community/education relations and marketing before beginning a string of assignments as PR counsel on the staff of several vice presidents and one subsidiary president. I preached ethics and earning the trust of employees and communities. I also was the first elected president of Women in Management, a feminist networking organization recognized as a MB employee resource group that rapidly spread from Colorado to form chapters in all seven states — which some thought was why I didn’t get any more promotions.

After an involuntary early retirement, I earned a master’s degree and began teaching PR classes for adult students at Regis University for 10 years and for a short time at Metro State College. (Adjunct pay sucks!) Thanks to Press Women contacts, I got a part time job at American Water Works Association that eventually became full time as a managing editor-publications to members. I loved learning about the water industry, writing features and regulatory-legislative news.  I retired from there in 2011 to have brain surgery on a small benign tumor. I am pleased to have made a terrific recovery and am delighted to active in Press Women again.

My husband John and I enjoy keeping up with the kids and grandkids and took our first trip overseas last fall.

Any career advice you would give?

Ask for what you want. And don’t jump at the first salary offered. I learned that by accident when I switched to PR from journalism. The initial salary offered was 30% higher than I had been making and I was speechless. The guy took that as hesitancy and immediately hiked the offer another 6%.

Sandy Michel Nance

Sandy Michel Nance

Which talent would you most like to have?

I’d love to be a blues & jazz singer. I mean, I can sing but not scat and am lousy at memorizing lyrics.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

I’m a native of this little western suburb of Denver and am quite happy here. However, I wouldn’t mind having a second home in the mountains. Telluride is my favorite.

What book are you reading?

Broad Influence: How Women Are Changing the Way America Works  by Jay Newton-Small  and Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft and the Golden Age of Journalism by Doris Kearns Goodwin

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

You can also call me Commissioner because I’m on the Wheat Ridge Cultural Commission (along with Gay Porter DeNileon).

Why is your affiliate and NFPW important to you?

These are my peeps — my Press Women friends are the women who are most like me, and every new person I meet at an NFPW conference turns out to be the same.

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

Facebook — Sandy Michel Nance. I also post occasionally on Colorado Press Women’s Facebook page.  I’m hoping to post more often on Twitter — @smnance  CPW just got a Twitter account:  @COPressWomen

Meet a Member: Diana Hirsch

Posted June 16, 2016 by tlehre
Categories: NFPW, Uncategorized

Tags: , , ,

I met Diana Hirsch at last fall’s NFPW conference in Alaska. She was attending her first NFPW conference after recieving a First-Timer Grant from the Education Fund. She is a great addition to the organization and by the end of the conference she agreed to be the assistant director of the NFPW Education Fund’s High School Communications Contest. She is fun to be around and a great asset to our organization. Meet another unique and unbelievable NFPW member.

Diana (D.W.) Hirsch

Diana (D.W.) Hirsch

Name: Diana (D.W.) Hirsch

City and State: Canton, MI

Affiliate and any leadership positions: At-Large, living in Michigan, NFPW Assistant High School Contest Director

Years a member of NFPW: About 13 years

Tell us a little about you.

I’m an author, blogger and journalist who adores coffee shops, YA and science fiction books, haiku and birds, especially parakeets.

I’m a Pennsylvania girl by birth, proudly graduating Penn State University as a Film/Video Major with a Creative Writing Minor.  I’ve been fortunate enough to use both degrees in my formative post-college years.  I bounced around the East Coast working as a Production Assistant on television commercials and feature films, but New Jersey is where I found my writing groove.

There was an active writing community at the Barnes & Noble on Route 1 run by Rachel Simon, author of Riding the Bus with my Sister.  Through her and other in-store activities, I discovered the voyeuristic joy of memoirs.  I wanted to write my parents’ memoir, but I wasn’t sure their lives were worthy of a book others would want to read.  Rachel said, “Everyone has a story to tell. Everyone is important.”

My skills as writer took off when I was offered the Singles beat of New Jersey’s weekly newspaper, U.S. 1.  That gig morphed into articles for other specialty sections of the paper.  My Arts editor, Barbara Figge Fox, walked me through my first article sentence by sentence, pointing out my strong creative parts along with my deadly passive voice.  That one hour phone call was the best, most practical writing lesson I had in my life.  My five years as a freelance contributor included articles about flying a Cessna plane, collecting smashed pennies, the effects of alcohol and drunk driving and my second favorite article of all time, Marshmallow Peeps.

Diana Hirsch at her first NFPW Conference in Alaska with two of her inspirational office writing Guys.

Diana Hirsch at her first NFPW Conference in Alaska with two of her inspirational office writing Guys.

With a portfolio of confidence, I joined NFPW when my husband and I moved across the river to Delaware.  Through connections in Delaware Press Association, I earned more writing opportunities with local newspapers and magazines.  Winning my first NFPW contests with those articles validated me to myself as A Real Writer.

Moving to Michigan exposed me to new writing opportunities and experiences, including most importantly my treasured, ruthlessly honest Deadwood Writers critique group.  The members’ perspectives and input strengthened my writing to a level where I felt comfortable exploring publishing options.

I finally wrote my parents’ memoirs and self-published those two short story novellas.  They both won NFPW At-Large and National awards.  I continue to embrace independent publishing as I continue writing my full-length memoir My Father, My Friend and my humorous crime drama series starring Jimmy the Burglar.

Any career advice you would give?

I offer four pieces of advice:

1–Trust yourself.  You need to be your own best friend and strongest cheerleader.  It took me years to accept that I was A Writer because people often look at writing as a hobby since they often read books for fun and to relax.  Since reading is casual, the writing process must be, too.  Repeat a mantra of some sort–“I am a (writer/photographer/insert profession)”–until it becomes natural to say.  You need to believe in yourself before other people will.

2–Research.  Be prepared with relevant questions and information, whether you’re gathering company background for a job interview, prepping an interview subject or seeking a website domain hosting service.

3–Business cards: Have them and hand them out.

4–Perhaps the most practical advice given to me: Get a receipt, always, for everything.

Diana Hirsch at the glaciers of Port William Sound during the 2015 NFPW Conference post tour in Alaska.

Diana Hirsch at the glaciers of Port William Sound during the 2015 NFPW Conference post tour in Alaska.

Which talent would you most like to have?

I already have a useful Talent: finding parking spaces.  Whether I’m in a parking garage or seeking a sweet streetside spot, cars pull out ahead of me – open spot

If there’s already an empty space, it is usually close to the front door.  The talent follows me, not any particular car or location.  Sometimes I leave residual behind and a friend or family member gets a primo parking spot without me.  Don’t believe me?  Take me Christmas shopping in December at your local mall.

Of course, being a ninja would be pretty cool.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

Pittsburgh, PA. It’s my hometown.  My childhood memories and life-changing events are there.  I never want to give up evergreens for palm trees or mountain breeze for a hot sandy beach.  The change of seasons is too captivating, from the rainbow of flowers blooming in spring to the explosion of autumn trees.  My husband fell in love with the city through me, so there’s no arm-twisting to convince him to move there.

What book are you reading?

Ninth Grade Slays by Heather Brewer.  I’m rereading her vampire YA series, The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod, because it makes me happy.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

I’m a bellydancer.  A woman came up to me after my first and only public performance to date and said, “It was so expressive I had to catch my breath.”

Why is your affiliate and NFPW important to you?

As an At-Large member, I miss the interaction, networking and the supportive environment of a local chapter.  NFPW as an organization has given me contacts and friends.  Entering and winning the contest made me feel professional.  That strength is invaluable.

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

Website: dwhirsch.com                  http://dwhirsch.com/

Instagram: dwhirsch                        https://www.instagram.com/dwhirsch/

Twitter: @dianahirsch                     https://twitter.com/dianahirsch

Facebook: D.W.Hirsch, Author  @DWHirschAuthor

https://www.facebook.com/DW-Hirsch-Author-306298169535318/                                            OR  http://tinyurl.com/DWHirschFB

https://www.facebook.com/DWHirschAuthor/

Amazon Author Page:         http://www.amazon.com/D.W.-Hirsch/e/B00GWWYETS

OR  http://tinyurl.com/DWAmazonAuthorPg

 

Goodreads:               http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8005909.D_W_Hirsch


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