When planning the 2008 NFPW conference in Idaho, I had a chance to get to know Pamela Stallsmith and Cynthia Price who were organizing the 2007 conference in Virginia. These two planned an awesome conference and we became great friends as a result of our efforts to support NFPW. Pam is an extremely talented communicator and excels in all she does. She leads the POPPS program for NFPW and she has done a great job in making the program even more important to NFPW. She is another outstanding member and I am honored to call her a friend.
Name: Pamela Stallsmith
City and State: Richmond, Va.
Affiliate and any leadership positions: Virginia Professional Communicators.
On the national level, I’m the current president of POPPS, Parley of Past Presidents State, and have been an NFPW board member since 2004.
In Virginia, I’m president of the Virginia Press Women Foundation, which raises money and awards scholarships to college students who wish to pursue a career in communications. I’m also a past president of VPC and was co-chair of the 2007 NFPW Conference in Richmond with Cynthia Price.
Years a member of NFPW: 27
Tell us a little about you.
I’ve been in communications for 30 years, the first two-thirds in journalism. I started my newspaper career at the daily newspaper in Lynchburg, Va., covering education, local politics and the Rev. Jerry Falwell. Then I joined the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Virginia’s flagship paper, as a bureau reporter in Clarksville — along the North Carolina border — covering Southside Virginia. The town’s population was about the same as my public high school in suburban Maryland! It was a fabulous experience — I covered a little bit of everything, from tobacco to rural housing to power plants. I eventually moved to Richmond and covered state politics and government, with a specialty in campaign finance. After 22 years as a newspaper reporter, in 2007 I made the transition to corporate communications and joined the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. In June I landed a new job as the director of communications and external relations for the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University. It’s a great fit for me as it combines my knowledge of government and communications. And VCU, the state’s largest public research university in the heart of Richmond, pulsates with energy.
My husband, Tom Hohing, and I have two wonderful dogs, Molly and Stanley, who are English Springer Spaniels. We enjoy traveling, art and the outdoors. I’m a voracious reader and other favorite activities include bird watching and gardening.
Any career advice you would give?
Be patient. You don’t have to do everything at once. Never burn bridges. Network — keep in touch with people. You never know when bumping into someone unexpectedly may lead to an opportunity. And keep current professionally.
Which talent would you most like to have?
I’d like to be able to play the piano.
If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
Ernest Hemingway’s house in Key West (with all the six-toed cats!)
What book are you reading?
M Train by Patti Smith.
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
I was involved in community theater when I lived in Clarksville.
Why is your affiliate and NFPW important to you?
VPC and NFPW have been a constant source of support throughout my career. Besides the tremendous opportunities for professional development, I’ve forged lifelong friendships. And the travel — I’ve been to places I doubt I ever would have visited on my own through conferences and meetings. Presswomen has taken me from the glaciers of Alaska across the plains of Nebraska to the sandy shores of North Carolina. I’ve met so many extraordinary people through this organization, women and men who have taught me so much.
Way to follow you on a website, twitter, Facebook, etc.:
I’m on Facebook and LinkedIn.