Meet a Member: Ellen Crawford

Posted March 24, 2015 by tlehre
Categories: Uncategorized

Tags: , , ,

One of the true jewels of our organization is Ellen Crawford. She is a hard worker, outstanding communicator and always willing to help with tasks. She keeps track of our spending and does her best to keep our organization in the black and finding ways to cut costs. I look forward to conferences and meetings to be able to spend time with her. Meet this unique and unbelievable NFPW member.

Ellen Crawford

Ellen Crawford

Name: Ellen Crawford

City and State: Fargo, N.D.

Affiliate and any leadership positions:

North Dakota Professional Communicators. I am the treasurer and have been since 1999. Prior to that, I held various positions: college contest chair, membership directory editor, second vice president/contest chair, first vice president/membership chair and president.

At the national level, I have been treasurer since 2011. Prior to that, I served on the President’s Advisory Board, was the Nominating Committee chair and served as northwest quadrant director on the Education Fund Board.

Years a member of NFPW: I’m starting my 30th year.

Tell us a little about you.

I was born and grew up in Minot, N.D. My parents died when I was in grade school, so I lived with my grandmother and later my aunt and uncle. My aunt and uncle owned a furniture moving and storage company.  I learned to do everything (providing customers with cost estimates, packing, loading and unloading trucks, secretarial duties, preparing tax returns) except drive the trucks. After obtaining two college degrees (B.A. in English and B.S. in mass communication, with minors in Spanish and geology), I spent 26½ years working at The Forum, the newspaper in Fargo. I was a reporter for the first 25 years and a copy editor/page designer for the other 1½  years.

For the last 10 years, I have been a writer/editor for the North Dakota State University Agriculture Communication Department.

In my spare time, I love to read mystery and spy novels, go antiquing, knit afghans for veterans at the VA Medical Center and veterans home, and do yard work.

Ellenboat

Enjoying a post NFPW conference boat ride are from left, Rebecca West, Meg Hunt, Ellen Crawford and Karen Stensrud.

Any career advice you would give? 

My best advice is to develop as many skills as possible, make yourself as indispensable, do the best job you can, and volunteer to serve on committees or take on extra projects. Your boss will have a hard time firing you if he or she has to hire two or more people to replace you.

Which talent would you most like to have?

Speak Spanish like a native

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

Somewhere near Glacier National Park. I’ve visited the park seven times. It’s my favorite place.

What book are you reading? 

The Escape by David Baldacci

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

My mother was born in Latvia. She came to the U.S. after World War II, when a church sponsored her to come to Minot.

Why is your affiliate and NFPW important to you?

I joined for the networking and recognition through the communications contest. Those still are important to me. I like being able to talk to others in the same field who face the same problems, and perhaps have found some solutions. The communications contest validates that I am doing a good job and helps me improve my skills. I also really appreciate the friends I have made through the years and all of the opportunities to learn at conferences.

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

I’m afraid I’m not into social media personally.

Meet a Member: Lana Christian

Posted March 18, 2015 by tlehre
Categories: Uncategorized

Tags: , ,

Their are many types of professional communicators. Some write for newspapers and magazines. Others write for blogs and for technical publications. NFPW member Lana Christian shares her writing talent writing about healthcare and life sciences. Many times she is writing for peer-reviewed publications. Just like other communicators, her talent is in telling a story so her audience can understand. Meet another one of the unique and unbelievable NFPW members, Lana Christian.

Name: Lana Christian

City and State:  I currently live in Fairview, Oregon, and previously lived in Indiana.

Affiliate and any leadership positions:

Indiana and Oregon affiliates; no leadership positions

Years a member of NFPW: 7+

Lana Christian

Lana Christian

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

I write for the healthcare and life science industries, dba CreateWrite® Inc. Much of my writing is full-length articles for peer-reviewed medical journals; but I also write newsletter articles for hospitals, patient education materials, continuing medical education programs, training materials for pharmaceutical reps, and DVD scripts (e.g., “here’s how a stent works”).  Seasonally, I also write grant applications for researchers and medical textbook chapters.

Much of that may sound far afield from what many NFPW participants write each day, but the common ground is that a medical writer still has to be good at “telling the story.” Science standing on its own does not garner grant funding or a journal editor’s green-lighting a manuscript. So the work I do is a combination of science and art. Although scouring medical databases to find appropriate references and interviewing MDs or PhDs are usually part of my work, I always need to write compelling content that tells readers why they should take notice of a researcher’s findings or a doctor’s cutting-edge procedure.

Any career advice you would give?

(1) Never stop honing your craft.

(2) If you admire a writer or an article, ask yourself why. Deconstruct it and learn from it.

(3) Be conscious of how you write what you write, even if it’s “just” a personal blog. Strive to make it something you can be just as proud of as a headliner article in the publication of your dreams.

(4) Learn how to be an ace at asking the right questions during interviews. If you excel at that, then the article will almost write itself.

(5) Everyone can be a better writer next year than they are this year if they keep actively practicing the art of writing.

Which talent would you most like to have?

True entrepreneurship. I have great ideas for several companies but am not sure how to put feet to them.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

In the mountains, away from big cities. I do live in a mountainous area right now, and I’m in a fairly small town; but I’d like to move out of town if I could afford to buy acreage in the country.

What book are you reading?

I just finished Hattie Kauffman’s Falling Into Place: A Memoir of Overcoming.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

I wrote my first book when I was 11. (It chronicled my first summer at church camp.) In more recent years, I’ve coauthored or authored numerous healthcare books, as well as a business book, Proofread Like a Pro. One of my biggest accomplishments when I was still working in the hospital environment was to create a career development program for employees who wanted to move up within the system. Called Career Quest®, it became an integral part of that organization’s culture. After I left the hospital setting, Career Quest® was renamed, repackaged and marketed externally. When I’m not writing, I devote time to my passions of hiking, cooking, working with the homeless and international missions.

Why is your affiliate and NFPW important to you?

NFPW helps me stay connected to a side of journalism that keeps my skills honed for newspaper articles and hospital newsletters. That type of journalism requires a bit different mindset and some degree of different writing skills than the research-heavy writing I often do. I get great satisfaction from both kinds of writing.

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

Website (includes a Contact page) http://createwriteinc.com. I also have LinkedIn profile for my business.

Meet a Member: Gay Porter DeNileon

Posted March 11, 2015 by tlehre
Categories: Uncategorized

Tags: , , ,

Gay Porter DeNileon is a leader for both NFPW and the Colorado affiliate. She is a hard worker who comes up with great ideas on ways to do things better. It has been a pleasure having her as NFPW secretary. She is dependable and is willing to work behind the scenes and give others credit in an effort to make improvements. She is a respected communications professional.She is a leader and a great asset to NFPW. It is a pleasure to introduce my unique and unbelievable friend Gay.

Gay Porter DeNileon pauses at American Falls, Idaho following the NFPW conference in Idaho in 2008.

Gay Porter DeNileon pauses near American Falls, Idaho following the NFPW conference in Idaho in 2008.

Name: Gay Porter DeNileon

City and State: Wheat Ridge, Colorado

Affiliate and any leadership positions:

Currently president of Colorado Press Women (also was president 2007 – 2009); former chair of the CPW Program Committee. Current Secretary of NFPW

Years a member of NFPW: 11. I really got involved in 2005 when CPW started planning the 2006 national convention in Denver, that was so much fun and I really learned to appreciate the CPW members, especially the two conference co-chairs Marilyn Saltzman and Ann Lockhart, and then president Judi Buehrer.

Tell us a little about you.

I’m one of those lucky J-School grads (University of Colorado) who has always had a communications job. My college internship with the CU Athletic Department led to a stint covering World Cup skiing and the Winter Olympics with a niche publication called Ski Racing, which led to numerous freelance articles for different publications, including Sports Illustrated and Frontier Inflight. I continued to work in the ski business as the public relations manager for Crested Butte Mountain Resort and as the press liaison for national championships and the Aspen Winternational. Then I was a reporter and editor for a Crested Butte weekly for several years — covering everything from the town council to the local sports to the society news. When I moved to Denver area in the early 90s, I like to say that “my snow melted” and I began to work for the water industry. I’ve worked for American Water Works for 22 years now, first as managing editor and reporter of the association newsletter, then on two other periodicals and more recently as senior manager of editorial development and production of books. Books are a different challenge than writing and editing articles, and I’ve learned a lot along the way.

Gay having dinner with her husband, Mike, and daughter, Hilary, on the beach in Punta Vista, Uruguay

Gay having dinner with her husband, Mike, and daughter, Hilary, on the beach in Punta Vista, Uruguay

Outside of work, I’ve been happily married to Mike DeNileon for 19 years; we have two granddaughters from his two sons and another grandchild on the way. My daughter, Hilary, is a graduate student at Cornell. (I went back to school a few years ago so I could get my master’s before she did and received my Masters in Public Administration in 2009 from the University of Colorado – Denver.) I love to ski, ride my road bike, garden (although Mike is the real farmer; we had a great harvest the last couple of years), water sports, cook, read, bead, travel, spend time with friends. After we go to Alaska for this year’s NFPW conference, I will have visited every state except four — and I’ll get to those within the next decade.

Any career advice you would give?

Ask questions. That’s what reporters do and why we are important. If you don’t understand something, chances are your readers won’t either, so ask for fuller explanations, do more research, and tell the whole story.

Also, everybody needs an editor, and being an editor can improve your own writing.

Which talent would you most like to have?

I’d love to be able to do improv comedy — and to be able to break dance. I’ll probably take tap dancing lessons when I retire.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

Gay sailing in Charleston Harbor on the NFPW post tour last year.

Gay sailing in Charleston Harbor on the NFPW post tour last year.

Well I grew up in Michigan, so I love the lakes, and I love the mountains of Colorado, so Lake Tahoe might be the perfect combination of both — if my family and friends were close!

What book are you reading?

I just finished The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd (loved it!) and am buzzing through The Children Act by Ian McEwan. And I’m listening to The Wishing Trees by John Shors in my car.  I belong to two book clubs and organize the community reading event for the Wheat Ridge Cultural Commission (I’m a second-term commissioner) so I’m always on the lookout for a good read.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

I was the water industry go-to person on counterterrorism right after 9/11. My involvement in the issue began in 1999 when I became the AWWA staff liaison to a group of water utility executives addressing the industry’s response to Presidential Decision Directive 63, which addressed security and critical industry. In that role, I attended training at Argonne and Sandia National Laboratories and was part of a research advisory group developing a risk assessment methodology for water (and later taught the RAM-W method to water utilities). In May 2001 a peer-reviewed article I wrote on the water community’s counterterrorism efforts and the potential to be attacked was published in Journal AWWA. So four months later, I was the only person in our office tracking the issue when terrorist-driven planes took down the World Trade Center. As the national source for water information, AWWA was inundated with phone calls about how secure the drinking water supply was against terrorist attacks, and I fielded a lot of the calls, set up a web resource center for our members, and my article was widely cited in the media.

Another surprising fact is I directed five plays for the community theater in Crested Butte (and acted in an equal number) and if I had known it could be a career, I might have become a movie director. I’ve got a couple plays in me that I’m hoping to write when I retire.

Why is your affiliate and NFPW important to you?

The active members of my affiliate and the people I’ve met through NFPW are all extremely bright women with interesting ideas and experiences that bring a lot to a conversation or an event. They and the events they plan stimulate me and expand my horizons.

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

LinkedIn, Goodreads, and Pintrest

Meet a Member: Marsha Hoffman

Posted March 5, 2015 by tlehre
Categories: NFPW

Tags: , ,

Marsha Hoffman and her sister, Julie, co-lead the Iowa affiliate as they teamed with Nebraska to host the 2011  NFPW conference in Council Bluffs-Omaha. She is a NASCAR fan, so I is appropriate that I feature her just before the NASCAR weekend in Vegas. She cheers for team Dale Earnhardt Jr. in NASCAR and team NFPW the rest of the year. Meet another good friend, the unique and unbelievable Marsha Hoffman.

Marsha Hoffman at Snowbird Resort in Utah.

Marsha Hoffman at Snowbird Resort in Utah.

Name: Marsha Hoffman

City and State: Council Bluffs, Iowa

Affiliate and any leadership positions:

Iowa Press Women: Current treasurer, Communications Contest director and Communicator of Achievement director; past president and vice president.

NFPW: Current 1st Vice President; past 2nd Vice President, Public Relations Director and Web Coordinator, Hospitality Director, 2011 Conference Co-Chair for Iowa-Nebraska “Plains Speaking” Conference, 2004 Iowa Press Women COA nominee.

Years a member of NFPW: 20

Tell us a little about you.

I am an Iowa girl.  I was born in Council Bluffs, and left for four years of college at Northwest Missouri State and for 18 months for my first job as a reporter at the Marshall Democrat-News in Marshall, Mo.  I was known to many of my contacts as “Marsha from Marshall.”

I accepted an assistant editor’s position at my hometown newspaper, The Daily Nonpareil, in 1994.  I was promoted to news editor, then new media editor when NonpareilOnline.com was created in 1995, and then became the news and new media editor thanks to budget cuts.  I later became just the new media editor again and was Internet Coordinator when I was laid off three years ago.

I am now enjoying a second career in Document Control and Quality Assurance at Omaha-based American Laboratories Inc., which is in the manufacturing industry.  I still use my writing and especially editing skills every day, writing and re-writing and redlining documents.  I am also a systems administrator for ALI’s online document system. The host for the system, MasterControl, is located in Salt Lake City.

For hobbies, I play one night of indoor volleyball during the school year and one or two nights of sand volleyball in the summer. Sadly, this session is probably my last in the competitive indoor league I’ve played in for 15 years (comprised of mostly former college players). I’ve found the heart and mind may want to keep up with all of the twenty- and thirty-somethings in the league, but the ol’ body just can’t do it anymore.

Any career advice you would give?

If an opportunity presents itself, take the bull by the horns. I was a newspaper editor when management decided to try this new thing called the “World Wide Web” in 1995. Helping create and develop the newspaper’s website over the years has helped me in my second career as an online systems administrator.

Which talent would you most like to have?

I can’t take a selfie to save my life! I cut my head off almost every time! If I’m trying to take a photo with someone else, usually my sister (fellow NFPW member) Julie, I cut off both of our heads!

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

If I could live anywhere, it would probably be a warm-weather climate such as Florida or California. As I’m getting older, I find that I hate when I have to shovel snow.

What book are you reading?

Marsha Hoffman, center, with her sister, Julie on the left and their Mother, Loverta "Bert", at the 2004 NFPW conference in Kentucky.

Marsha Hoffman, center, with her sister, Julie, on the left and their Mother, Loverta “Bert,” at the 2004 NFPW conference in Kentucky.

I have been reading two David Baldacci series - King and Maxwell, and Wil Robie.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

I doubt many people know that I collect bells. I have nearly 50, and am seeking a better way to display them – I’m open to suggestion!  My NFPW travels have helped this collection grow exponentially.

I am a big NASCAR fan and penned a NASCAR column for more than a decade while at the newspaper. For the record, Dale Earnhardt Jr. is my favorite driver.

Also, I am also a fan of “Game of Thrones.”  For those in the know, I am a fan of both George R.R. Martin’s excellent “A Song of Ice and Fire” book series as well as HBO’s television adaptation.

Why is your affiliate and NFPW important to you?

The love and support my sister and I received from members when our mother passed away from Alzheimer’s during the holiday season of 2012 is just one example of why I love IPW and NFPW.  We first discovered the memory issues our mother, Loverta “Bert” was experiencing during the 2005 Seattle conference.  It was the last conference mom was able to attend, but every year after and in-between, our NFPW friends asked how she was doing, and also how our father Mike was getting along. We were truly touched when mom was included in the memorial service at the Salt Lake City conference.

Among my other favorite NFPW memories were all of the meetings with Nebraska co-chairs Sherry Thompson and Stephanie Geery-Zenk as Julie and I helped plan the 2011 NFPW conference, which was held jointly by both affiliates in Council Bluffs-Omaha.  We had fun from our initial meetings and for the next two years or so until our “closing meeting” at the bar at the end of the Saturday evening banquet.

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

You can follow me at:

@Marshatres on Twitter

Marsha Hoffman on Facebook

Marshatres on Instragram

Marsha Hoffman on LinkedIn

Meet a Member: Deb Umberger

Posted February 26, 2015 by tlehre
Categories: NFPW, Uncategorized

Tags: , ,
Deb Umberger

Deb Umberger on NFPW conference post-tour schooner excursion of Charleston Harbor in Charleston, S.C.

One of the advantages of NFPW pre and post tours is a chance to get to know members in a smaller group. I got to know Deb Umberger better on the Utah conference post-tour to the Moab, Utah area. It was a fun trip with a great group of people. I found she is a fun, talented and hard working member. She is another unique and unbelievable member I am glad to be able to call a friend.

Name: Deb Umberger

City and state: Wichita, Kansas

Affiliate and any leadership positions:

Wichita Professional Communicators:  scholarship chairwoman and president. I currently serve on the WPC board as past-president.

Kansas Professional Communicators: scholarship chairwoman. I have served as an appointed officer on the KPC board.

Years a member of NFPW: I’ve been a member for a while but am not sure how long. I may have started out as a local-only member of Wichita Professional Communicators.

WPC is the only local affiliate of Kansas Professional Communicators in the state of Kansas. WPC has more than 60 members and is a vibrant NFPW affiliate group. Local membership is a great way for potential members to join and get their feet wet. Local members are encouraged to consider full membership in KPC and NFPW so that they may enter contest and attend our state and national conferences at a reduced fee. WPC hosts monthly luncheon meetings at a lovely restaurant with guest speaker presentations on topics of interest to communicators. We also sponsor an annual wine and hors d’oeuvres mixer to raise funds for scholarships. We offer a scholarship competition for students majoring in communications at one of three local universities and a community college.

Deb Umberger, left, and Karen Jesse of Delaware Press Assn. in downtown Greenville, S.C., at the 2014 NFPW conference. Deb and Karen met in 2013 when they took “pot luck” for roommates for the NFPW conference post tour in Moab, Utah. They became good friends and roomed together again at the 2014 conference in Greenville, S.C.

Deb Umberger, left, and Karen Jesse of Delaware Press Assn. in downtown Greenville, S.C., at the 2014 NFPW conference. Deb and Karen met in 2013 when they took “pot luck” for roommates for the NFPW conference post tour in Moab, Utah. They became good friends and roomed together again at the 2014 conference in Greenville, S.C.

Tell us a little about you:

I came to the communications field through the back door. I’ve always liked to write and took as many English classes as I could in high school and college. My initial career goal was to be a counselor so I earned a degree in psychology from the University of Nebraska.  After college, I worked as a probation officer with the state district court. After getting married, I moved and began working for a hospital as an addictions counselor and program coordinator, and later a health promotions program coordinator. I did a lot of writing in both positions and ended up working for the Public Affairs and Marketing Department at the hospital.

I took about a 15-year hiatus from paid employment to raise my three children. My husband died suddenly when they were very young, so “soccer mom” became my full-time job title. We were living in Wichita by the time I returned to work when they were old enough to be at home alone after school without burning the house down. I worked for a succession of three nonprofits where I did communications and public relations. Due to budget cuts at my last employer brought on by an out-of-control governor, I was laid off two years ago. Since then I have enjoyed being retired. I’ve had requests to do some freelance writing — and plenty of requests to do it for free — but for the most part I’ve remained happily deadline free. 

Career advice:

Don’t waste too much time working in a toxic environment. You may have to stick it out for a while for financial reasons, but if you’re talented and have a good work ethic there are places to work where you will be appreciated.

Talent I’d most like to have:

I would love to be a dancer. Every time I attend a musical or dance performance, I wish I could be onstage with the dancers.

Where would I most like to live?

I could be happy living in a lot of places. Locations with beaches, warm weather, interesting culture, mountains, or traditional architecture all appeal to me. Last fall when I went on the NFPW post tour to Charleston, South Carolina, I totally fell in love with the city. It was tempting to just cash in my return airline ticket and stay there. Wherever I live, it’s most important to me to live within a day’s drive of my kids.

Deb Umberger and friend in downtown Greenville, SC, at the 2014 NFPW conference.

Deb Umberger and friend in downtown Greenville, SC, at the 2014 NFPW conference.

What book are you reading?

One of the joys of being retired is that I can stay up late reading novels. I recently finished “The Light Between Oceans” by M.L. Stedman and “Ordinary Grace” by William Kent Kruger. I just started reading John Grisham’s “Gray Mountain.”

At our WPC meetings we have drawings for gently used books donated by our members, to help raise money for our scholarship program. I get some good books there for the price of a couple of one dollar raffle tickets. Recently I won a book called “Attachments” by Rainbow Rowell. Rowell is an author from Omaha, where I used to live. The book was funny and fun to read since it was set in Omaha.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

I’m related to Greta Garbo.

Also, I was locked in a jail cell once but, honestly, I was not the inmate. When I was a probation officer I went to visit a kid who was being held in a single cell because he was a juvenile. The jailer admitted me to the cell, said to knock on the door when I was finished, and slammed it shut. I’m quite sure this was not approved procedure. The kid was skinny and hung over and shorter than I was, so I figured I could beat him in a fist fight if it became necessary.

Why is your affiliate and NFPW important to you?

Writing can be a rather solitary occupation and I’ve always been a one-person communications department. Being able to associate with others who do the same kind of work has been so helpful. Being a member of NFPW and its local affiliates puts me in the company of experienced, smart, supportive, savvy people from whom I’ve learned a great deal. Membership has also given me opportunities to serve in leadership positions. I’ve made many friends through my association with NFPW and its Kansas affiliate group. Best of all, I’ve had a lot of fun attending WPC’s luncheons and fundraising mixers, and KPC’s and NFPW’s conferences. Despite being retired, I look forward to continuing to participate in all three groups.

Way to follow me? I’m on Facebook, using the name Deb Leffler Umberger

Meet a Member: Marianne Wolf-Astrauskas

Posted February 17, 2015 by tlehre
Categories: NFPW

Tags: , , , , ,

When I need a helping hand, Marianne Wolf-Astrauskas is always willing to help out, even with her busy schedule and time devoted to taking care of family members. She was honored in Salt Lake City as our Communicator of Achievement, the top award given to a member. She works hard in causes she believes in and I appreciate her efforts. I am glad to call this unique and unbelievable member a friend. Meet Marianne Wolf-Astrauskas.

Name: Marianne Wolf-Astrauskas

Marianne Wolf-Astrauskas with her husband, Jonas.

Marianne Wolf-Astrauskas with her husband, Jonas.

City and State: Chicago, Illinois

Affiliate and any leadership positions:

National Federation of Press Women: Executive 2nd Vice President (2013- present); Executive Board Secretary (2011-2013); Membership Chair (2009-2011).

Illinois Woman’s Press Association: Immediate Past-President, Historian & Archivist (2013-present); President (2009-2013); High School Communications Competition Chair (2010-2012); Vice President/Membership Chair (2005-2009).

Years a member of NFPW: since 2005

Tell us a little about you.

Throughout my career and volunteer work, if there has been a way I can connect people with one another, or if there’s an opportunity to make an introduction, link talent with a cause, help people find solutions and help each other, I’m all in. I truly feel this way and in 2014 went to work for Weight Watchers North America, Inc. The company is very positive and the people I’ve met are truly inspiring. They helped me get in shape and now I’m taking what I learned to encourage others on their weight loss journey.

I’ve always been a huge supporter of my alma mater, Illinois Wesleyan University. I’m interested in reconnecting alums with the campus and finding opportunities to promote activities bringing students and alums together. I serve as President of the IWU Chicago Alumni Board and on the IWU Executive Alumni Board. One of my most memorable projects was “Saturday in the City” pairing international students far away from the comfort and support of home and family, with IWU alums in Chicago for a day of Midwestern hospitality. I’m still not sure who had more fun, students or adults? It’s always a win, win!!

Marianne Wolf-Astrauskas enjoying time with her parents.

Marianne Wolf-Astrauskas enjoys spending time with her parents, Joseph and Cecilia Wolf.

There have been such varied career opportunities I’ve personally enjoyed. Working for the United States Senate was especially meaningful in so many ways. I so enjoy helping people. At the end of my term working with former Illinois United States Senator Roland W. Burris, my personal life would require making career altering decisions. My mother was diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and my father with colon cancer. Extremely close to both parents, I’m a loyal and determined daughter, and chose to be their caregiver easing the stress, fear and challenges my parents faced. As anyone familiar with COPD and cancer knows, the unknown is the enemy. Then, seemingly out of the blue, my husband learned he had a life threatening cancerous brain tumor. I’m here to tell you miracles do happen. As a family, with plenty of adjustments made in our everyday lives, we’ve managed to pull through. We count our blessing each and every day.

Any career advice you would give?

1.) Give yourself more credit. 2.) Follow your head, not necessarily your heart. 3.) Don’t beat yourself up over the little things. 4.) Give a helping hand and a kind word to the women you meet along your journey because chances are no one else is. 5.) At the end of the day, when you look into your mirror, remember to smile at the image staring back at you.

Which talent would you most like to have?

The ability to sing and sound exactly like Linda Ronstadt in “Blue Bayou.”

Marianne Wolf-Astrauskas

Marianne Wolf-Astrauskas

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

Somewhere safe and warm. I’m still searching…

What book are you reading?

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. I’m looking forward to reading Erik Larsen’s Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania. Larson will be at the Union League Club of Chicago in April and I’ve already made my reservation to hear him and purchase a copy of the book.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

As a child, I was shy.

Why is your affiliate and NFPW important to you?

I so enjoy meeting such talented women (and some men) from all across the country. I’ve made some tremendous friends along the way. Some have even been important mentors in my journey as a writer. I’m passionate about the history of both organizations and enjoy writing about the women who were our trailblazers. Such a rich diverse group of women, they remain inspiring for me. Currently, I’m involved in a variety of writing projects about many of them and my research is never done. Some are easier to find than others and I’ve learned no two women are alike. One thing I know for sure, our generation should never let them be forgotten. Their commitments and struggles as women; as writers, as journalists and communicators in a world where women were often ignored and underpaid paved the way for us.

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

My website is mariannewolf.com. I can be found on Facebook as Marianne Wolf-Astrauskas, LinkedIn as Marianne Wolf.

Meet a Member: Barb Bierman Batie

Posted February 11, 2015 by tlehre
Categories: NFPW

Tags: , , , , ,

The Nebraska governor is a smart man who recently appointed Barb Batie to the Nebraska Sesquicentennial Commission to oversee the planning for and carry out activities and celebrations to be associated with the 150th anniversary of statehood.  She is also an avid Nebraska football fan. When my Idaho State University Bengals played the Nebraska Cornhuskers during the NFPW Conference in Arizona her team won and the NFPW Education Fund benefitted from wagers supporting both teams. Barb is also a great ambassador for Nebraska and NFPW. She is talented, a hard worker and a fun person to be around. Meet my unique and unbelievable friend, Barb Batie.

Name: Barb Bierman Batie

Photographing the arches in Arches National Park has been on Barb Batie's Bucket List for years. She crossed that item off the morning of Jan. 24 . In the background are the North and South Windows

Photographing the arches in Arches National Park has been on Barb Batie’s Bucket List for years. She crossed that item off earlier this year. In the background are the North and South Windows

City and State: Lexington, Nebraska

Affiliate and any leadership positions: Nebraska Affiliate, currently the Communicator of Achievement program chair, just finished four years as the scholarship chair. I’ve held every elective office on the state level, including serving as state president.

Years a member of NFPW: Member since 1982, so 33 years

Tell us a little about you.

My friends call me a “Woman of Many Hats,” and I guess they have that right. I am a farm wife, and have been married to my husband, Don, for 30 years this coming May. We raise corn, soybeans and alfalfa and I keep a flock of about 40-50 hens, selling farm fresh eggs to people in town. We are the parents of two daughters, Juliana and Cicely. Juliana turns 25 in March and was married Oct. 4, 2014, to Douglas Loudon.  They currently live and work in North Dakota, but we are hoping this summer they will be able to move back to Nebraska. Cicely turns 22 in March and is a senior at Nebraska Wesleyan University, where she is completing work on a double major in German and Global Studies. For many years I worked for area weekly and daily newspapers. Two years ago I accepted a position as marketing director of the Nebraska Rural Radio Foundation and in this part-time job I spread the word about the foundation’s scholarships for non-traditional students and organize and conduct their annual fundraiser for 200-300 guests.  I continue to hone my writing and photography skills by doing freelance work for state, regional and national farm magazines.

 Barb and her husband Don toasting  their 30 year anniversary during a wine tasting visit to  Fallbrook Winery in San Diego County, California.

Barb and her husband, Don, toasting their 30 year anniversary during a wine tasting visit to Fallbrook Winery in San Diego County, California.

In addition to my activities in Nebraska Press Women, I am active in our church, one of my specialties is cooking meals for 40-50 people each Wednesday night during the school year for Christian Family Night. I’m on the boards of several community organizations, including our local theater group, county leadership group and so forth. I’m a 4-H leader and my husband and I are active in both our county and state Farm Bureau. On a state level I serve on the executive committee of the University of Nebraska Women’s Leadership Network and the Nebraska Environmental Trust board of directors, which administers grants for environmental purposes that are funded through the Nebraska Lottery. My most recent appointment was to the Nebraska Sesquicentennial Commission, which will oversee the planning for and carry out activities and celebrations to be associated with Nebraska’s 150th anniversary of statehood in 2017.

My husband and I love to travel and for the last 10 years we have been fortunate enough to take one major trip a year, often at least two weeks in length. This year we will celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary and because farmers can’t be away from the farm in May (when our anniversary falls) we usually take those trips in the winter. That is why this year’s trip was longer than most, lasting three full weeks.

Any career advice you would give?

If you are studying print journalism, one of the best places to learn the craft is at a weekly newspaper in a small town. So many  journalism graduates feel they need to start out on large papers, but those jobs are scarce these days. There are still openings to be found across the country in smaller markets. I learned to write, take photos, layout pages, proofread, and occasionally even set ads, all at two different weeklies. When I finally did move to a daily for a 15-month gig, my editor called me his “Jill of All Trades,” because I could handle nearly every slot on the news desk.

Which talent would you most like to have?

The ability to draw/paint. While I’m grateful to be a photographer and capture special moments on camera, I would love to be able to sketch and paint on canvas.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

Barb and her daughter, Cicely, with the Hamburg Harbor and shopping district behind us. We were visiting a former exchange student to Lexington who had lived across the street from me when I first moved to Lexington in 1981.

Barb and her daughter, Cicely, with the Hamburg Harbor and shopping district behind them.

Germany. I was an exchange student in then West Germany for six months right after graduating from college in 1980. Because I became fairly fluent in the language, I have been able to keep in contact with five of the seven host families I had while there and I still have relatives there, as my grandfather immigrated in 1905 and none of his siblings came to the United States. So a piece of my heart has always been there and visits have been far too few.

What book are you reading?

I am not a huge reader, but when I do read it is usually something light. I love cats, so the current one on my nightstand is “Catch as Cat Can,” a Mrs. Murphy mystery by Rita Mae Brown and Sneaky Pie Brown.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

I have done some interesting things promoting events in and around our county and once participated in ostrich races to promote our county fair.

Why is your affiliate and NFPW important to you?

As a cub reporter the support extended by veteran media professionals was invaluable, as the years have gone on the opportunity to network and be able to exchange ideas, battle stories and develop friendships have been equally important. On both a state and national level, annual conventions provide opportunities for professional development so key to keeping abreast of trends and technology in our craft.

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

My social media connection is limited to Facebook and you may find me at Barb Batie.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 458 other followers