Meet a member: Verna Gates

Posted January 17, 2017 by tlehre
Categories: Alabama, NFPW, Uncategorized

Tags: , ,
Verna Gates

Verna Gates

The Alabama team is hard at work finalizing plans for this September’s NFPW conference in Birmingham. Verna Gates is a bundle of energy and is known for being a hard worker. She also has a talent in putting great professional tours together. She is using that talent to plan the NFPW pre and post tour in Alabama. She’s a character and participants should have a great time exploring Alabama. Meet this outstanding member and then register for the conference tours. 


Name:
Verna Gates

City and State: Birmingham, Alabama

Affiliate and any leadership positions: Alabama Media Professionals, COA 2009, Alabama, and  runner up National COA

Years a member of NFPW: 19

Tell us a little about you.

I was born with too much energy. My interests range from journalism to storytelling to ethnobotany (cultural study of plants).

My career started when I called a new cable news service every day until they let me answer the phones for two days. I left four years later. That’s how I landed on the start-up crew of CNN. My career has been a fabulous adventure. I was a stringer for TIME Magazine, Reuters, The Guardian, and still work for an NPR station as a commentator and special correspondent. When Reuters closed its Southeast bureau, I lucked out when I popped into the Alabama Department of Tourism to visit a friend. I found myself inviting my journalist friends on press trips to my beloved home state. It is a blast! And it is a lot more fun taking people to eat haute cuisine, drink fine wine and spin around in Space Camp than it is to cover tornadoes and felony trials.

The science part of my brain founded a non-profit in 2006, Fresh Air Family, that teaches outdoor environmental biology to kids and families. We cover the state, but are based at the second largest urban park in the nation with 1045 acres. In 2016, my tiny staff of three, plus as-needed naturalists, served 1,164 kids in our award-winning Gross Out Camp (it’s science but please don’t tell the kids) and 1,328 kids in our school field trip program, and 8,000 people on weekend field trips. In our camp program, nearly 60 percent of the kids come on scholarships. We work hard to change the world!

I am also a storyteller, having won the Biggest Liar in Alabama contest, twice. It is a tall-tale competition, but in the South, we call it what it is, lying. It is something I do just for fun. With my ethnobotany, I also speak quite frequently on plants and botany.

As I said, too much energy!

verna-bermuda-at-the-white-party

Verna Gates in Bermuda.

Any career advice you would give?

Always, always give it your best. When you always do your best, people notice. And they call you. TIME, Reuters, The Guardian and NPR – all called me.  So did Alabama Tourism. And keep re-inventing yourself. I must be on the 10th upgrade by now!

Which talent would you most like to have?

I would love to be able to sing well.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

I choose to live in the heart of American culture — the Deep South. Where we don’t hold back on the butter in the batter, we still hold doors open, and the kids say “yes, ma’am.” Alabama is also number 5 in biodiversity in the nation and for a nature nerd, it is nirvana!

What book are you reading?

I have a review copy of Hairy, Scary and Mostly Merry Fairies — a nature book for kids.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

I played first bass in the all-state orchestra in North Carolina when I was a sophomore in high school. And I have won the lottery three times. I have the $16 to prove it!

Why is your affiliate and NFPW important to you?

I get great leads, great info and have made lifelong friends. As a single person, my affiliate has been so supportive. When I had major surgery, they organized a dinner caravan that was a life-saver.

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

http://www.vernagates.com and Verna Gates on Facebook.

Meet a member: Marilyn Saltzman

Posted January 9, 2017 by tlehre
Categories: Colorado, Uncategorized

Tags: , , , ,

Unfortunately, there continues to be shootings at schools across the country. One that really hit home for me happened in Littleton, Colorado in 1999. I knew people living in the Littleton area and an NFPW friend was the public relations manager for the school district. Marilyn Saltzman handled this difficult situation in a professional manner with the eyes of the world on her school district. It was not an easy task, but she handled it like the professional she is. Lessons learned from this experience have helped many others prepare for something no one wants to have to handle. She is another outstanding NFPW member I am honored to call a friend.

Name: Marilyn Saltzman

City and State: Conifer, Colorado

Marilyn Saltzman

Marilyn Saltzman

Affiliate and any leadership positions: currently newsletter editor and program committee member for Colorado Press Women.

Years a member of NFPW: 40 years in 2017!

Tell us a little about you.

I have been a journalist, school district public relations manager and college adjunct professor, and most recently own Saltzman Communications,  a public relations consulting business. An avid volunteer and community activist, I am on the board of Mountain Resource Center, a community-based nonprofit offering health and human services. I am the adult education chair of Congregation Beth Evergreen and serve on several other synagogue committees. My two grandchildren are a constant source of joy and learning. Irv and I have been married for 48 years.

I am former president of Colorado Press Women and the Colorado Chapter, National School Public Relations Association. I co-chaired the 2006 NFPW Conference in Denver with Ann Lockhart and have been CPW’s Communicator of Achievement three times.

I worked in the Communications Services Department for Jefferson County Public Schools, Colorado, for 20 years. In 1999, I experienced the most emotionally difficult and challenging time of my career as public relations manager during the Columbine tragedy where 12 students and teacher Dave Sanders lost their lives. I was in charge of both media and internal relations. We had media from around the world on site and on the phone, and we worked hard to take care of our community and our local media first. We also coordinated a visit with students and staff from then President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Clinton…from working with White House staff and the Secret Service to asking Walmart to donate an umbrella because rain was in the forecast, and Air Force One didn’t have one on board.  It was a grueling 24-7 job for several weeks, and I couldn’t have made it without the support of CPW, NFPW and National School Public Relations Association colleagues

I have co-authored four books, “Building School Communities, Strategies for Leaders,” “Dave Sanders, Columbine Teacher, Coach, Hero,” Reflections, Learning by Doing,” and “Maybe Tomorrow: A Hidden Child of the Holocaust.”

Marilyn Saltzman, photo by Linda Kirkpatrick

Marilyn Saltzman, photo by Linda Kirkpatrick

Any career advice you would give?

Make the most of the amazing women in NFPW as mentors, colleagues and networkers.

Which talent would you most like to have?

Not so much a talent, but I am working on the Jewish soul traits of patience, gratitude and honor.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

I love living right here in Colorado, and I love traveling the world – most recently a safari in South Africa, Zambia and Malawi.

What book are you reading?

I like to read both fiction and nonfiction, often at the same time. I just  finished “A Little History  of Religion,” a nonfiction book I loved,  and “The Yellow Eyes of the Crocodile,”  a bit too much of a soap opera for me.  Next up, “For All the Tea in China,” for my book club.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

I co-authored a romance novel, “Love’s Eternal Flame,” with 11 other women. It began with a weekend mountain retreat and lots of wine.

Why is your affiliate and NFPW important to you?

CPW and NFPW have been part of my life through most of my career. Many of my dearest friends are press women.  They have been a source of inspiration, motivation and support. And we know how to have fun together!

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

I don’t have a website but am on Facebook.

Meet: Ann Heinrichs

Posted December 29, 2016 by tlehre
Categories: Uncategorized

Tags: ,

When I think of people I have met through NFPW, one interesting person who comes to mind is Ann Heinrichs of Chicago. Ann is not only bright and interesting, she is also a warm, gracious, and an all-around nice person. She is a talented writer who is taking a break from writing after leaving a legacy of 240 plus published books. I hope you will take the time to learn a little about her.

Name: Ann Heinrichs

City and State: Chicago, Illinois

Ann Heinrichs at the Tuareg camel races in Agadez, Niger. The Tuareg are known as the “blue men of the desert” because the indigo dye in their turbans soaks into their skin.

Ann Heinrichs at the Tuareg camel races in Agadez, Niger. The Tuareg are known as the “blue men of the desert” because the indigo dye in their turbans soaks into their skin.

Affiliate and any leadership positions: Illinois Woman’s Press Association: Communicator of Achievement (2006); Board Member (2007–2009); Communications Contest Chair (2008–2009); Illinois’s FAN (First Amendment Network) Representative

Years a member of NFPW: I was a member from 1998 through 2014. If I ever again write anything besides emails and meeting minutes, I will happily join again!

Tell us a little about you.

I never meant to be a writer. I became one only when I was living in a $25-a-week hotel and needed some way, however wacky, to make checks come in the mail. First I was a music critic, then an advertising copywriter, then I began writing juvenile nonfiction books. In 2001 I finally quit my day job to write books full time. Then came the recession, and my book-writing career hit the wall. So I went back to school and got a library degree. Now I’m a cataloging librarian, though I still think of myself as a writer … masquerading. Happily, I have left a “legacy” of 240+ published books.

Ann in her element: On the Erg Chebbi, a massive dune in the Moroccan Sahara.

Ann in her element: On the Erg Chebbi, a massive dune in the Moroccan Sahara.

World travel is my pleasure. I’ve been … well … all over. The Middle East was my favorite destination until it became too dangerous. Now Africa is my favorite; I’ve been there eight times. Several places I visited, I was able to parlay into book contracts. Here at home, my current creative outlet is ebru, the Turkish art of paper marbling.

Any career advice you would give?

This will probably not appear on any Best Practices list, but my real-world-tested advice is: Push, hound, beg, grab, leap at openings, keep calling and emailing, until they cave and give you an assignment. That’s what I did at a time when I was low on experience but desperate for income. Pretty soon I was a seasoned, in-demand professional.

Which talent would you most like to have?

Fearlessness. Sure, I’m macro-fearless—scaling Kilimanjaro, trekking out into the Sahara, bouncing across the South China Sea in a rickety motorboat, climbing Mt. Sinai at 3 a.m. on a camel plodding along a narrow path with a sheer drop-off, and so on. But what I need is micro-fearlessness—to not be afraid of my own shadow, sounds in the night, cold weather, big black dogs …

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

Morocco—in either Marrakech, with its fragrant souks full of fresh breads, veggies, mint, olives, and dates; or Merzouga, on the edge of the Sahara, where you can procure a camel and a Berber guide and just take off.

What book are you reading?

The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu and Their Race to Save the World’s Most Precious Manuscripts, by Joshua Hammer; and The Seven Storey Mountain, by Thomas Merton.

 

“Ebru Starry Night with Comet”— one of four of Ann’s ebru paintings selected by the Illinois Board of Higher Education to be displayed throughout 2017 in their Springfield offices.

“Ebru Starry Night with Comet”— one of four of Ann’s ebru paintings selected by the Illinois Board of Higher Education to be displayed throughout 2017 in their Springfield offices.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

(1) I have a bachelor’s and master’s in piano performance. (2) I am a desert freak (probably pretty obvious already!). Not the kind of desert that’s “teeming with wildlife,” but rather the empty, desolate type, the epitome of nothingness.

Why is your affiliate and NFPW important to you?

Although I’m not an active member at the moment, the people I’ve met through IWPA/NFPW remain very precious to me. They continue to inspire me, delight me, and provide support for whatever I’m going through.

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

You can find me on Facebook.

Meet a Member: Kathryn Cόrdova

Posted November 30, 2016 by tlehre
Categories: New Mexico, NFPW, Uncategorized

Tags: ,

Another dedicated, long-time NFPW member is Kathryn (Kathy) Cόrdova of New Mexico. She is always willing to help out and also one of the first to express appreciation for the hard work of others. I remember the  nice thank you note and gift she sent me after the NFPW conference in Idaho in 2008. I was impressed with her thoughtfulness. She is also a talented writer and teacher. She is also willing to share her talents with others. I am proud to call this unique and unbelievable member a friend.

Name:  Kathryn (Kathy) Cόrdova

City/State: El Prado (Taos County), New Mexico

Kathryn (Kathy) Cόrdova

Kathryn (Kathy) Cόrdova

Affiliate and Leadership Positions:

New Mexico– Past positions: President, Vice President, Secretary, and Communicator Of  Achievement Chair.

NFPW– Communicator Of Achievement Chair; Membership Chair; Student Membership Chair; POPPS Vice President/ Treasurer and President; NFPW Treasurer; and NFPW Second Vice President.

Years in NFPW: 27

Tell Us a Little About You:

I prepared for dual careers in Journalism and Education, as these were the times when women did not receive many opportunities in the newsroom.  Fortunately, I was able to work at both careers as a teacher and a freelance writer.  I have also served in editorial positions on community publications and professional newspapers and magazines.  Throughout the years, I have written four different columns, and continue to write one, “Know Your Neighbor” on a weekly basis for our community’s newspaper.  I have also contributed to and written books, mainly biographies.  Family is very important to me.

Kathryn (Kathy) Cόrdova

Kathryn (Kathy) Cόrdova

Career Advice: 

People should work at what they enjoy and about what they feel passionate.  Doing so brings joy to the worker and those around him or her.  When one is happy, it is contagious and obvious in the finished product.  We are all lifelong learners, and as such, must embrace learning something new as much as possible.

Which talent would you most like to have?  Art.  The best I can achieve in regard to completing an art piece is to draw a stick doll.

If I could live anywhere, where would it be?

I love where I live right now.  I enjoy traveling, but it’s always a joy to return home.

 What book are you reading?

I’m an avid reader.  I just started the book Laci, about Laci Peterson, by Michael Fleeman.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

As a Doctor of Education, I teach courses such as Children’s Literature and deep-thought texts.  As a former high school teacher, I taught American Literature. Therefore, it may surprise some to learn that I love to read and write (unpublished) what my dad used to call “trashy books.”

Why your affiliate and NFPW are important to you. 

An organization is only as good as its members.  I would never trade the friendships I have made, the people I have met, things I have learned and the places I have visited as a result of attending conferences, meetings, etc.  The networking is available to all the members, and it’s refreshing to note that the Press Women organization does not confine itself to only one small facet of the careers and interests of the members.  The broad base is very appealing.

What is the best way to follow you- website, Twitter, Facebook, etc.?  Much to the chagrin of my children, I do not follow social media.

 

 

Meet a Member: Cecilia Green

Posted November 21, 2016 by tlehre
Categories: Illinois, Kansas, NFPW, Uncategorized

Tags: , , ,

Some members make a conference more fun and one of those people is Cecilia Green of Illinois. She is a dedicated professional who is always ready to help others succeed. She is a dependable member and an injured foot didn’t even slow her down for the pre-tour and conference in Alaska. She is a unique and unbelievably talented member I am honored to call a friend.

Cecilia Green

Cecilia Green

Name: Cecilia Green

City and State: Bartlett, Illinois

Affiliate and any leadership positions: Illinois Woman’s Press Association, past president of IWPA. When I lived in Wichita, I served as president of Wichita Press Women, now Wichita Professional Communicators. I was privileged to serve on the NFPW board as public relations chair during Vivian Sadowski’s term as president.

Years a member of NFPW: 31 years

Tell us a little about you

I “rewired” in 2009 from 25 years of doing PR and marketing for nonprofit associations in Chicago to being director of an Arts Center in Bartlett with a gallery and studios for teaching artists and musicians. It is a volunteer position that keeps me very busy at least 4 days a week. I’m also on the Economic Development Commission for the Village of Bartlett and do PR for Bartlett Heritage Days. When I’m not working, my rescue toy fox terrier Tanner and I hang out or I travel to see my  kids.

My husband Darrell’s work at the Art Institute of Chicago takes him around the world and I’ve been fortunate to tag along in the past few year to Scotland, Ireland, India, Norway and Russia.  Jill Miller, my daughter, is an NFPW member, has her own consulting business and the Finishing School for Modern Women in Wichita. Jennifer Miller lives in Treasure Island, Florida and is a professional French horn player. Michael Miller and his wife Carla live in Lakewood, Colorado with my two grandchildren Sophia, 5 and Desmond, 7.

 

NFPW members Cecilia Green, right and daughter, Jill Miller.

NFPW members Cecilia Green, right and daughter, Jill Miller.

Any career advice you would give?

If you are a good writer, the world is open to you; so many opportunities in so just about any field if you know how to communicate. I always told students to  look at associations for professionals and trade associations if they want to be in the nonprofit world. It’s good pay for a fascinating career meeting business people from all over the world.

Which talent would you most like to have? 

I wish I was a better public speaker.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

Closer to my family; we’re considering going back to Wichita when my husband retires in 5 years.

What book are you reading?

Just finished “The Girl on the Train” and am starting on Virginia Professional Communicators member Nancy Beasley’s “Little Lion.”

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

That some people think I’m standoffish but I’m really very shy and don’t easily approach people I don’t know well.

Why is your affiliate and NFPW important to you?

IWPA and its mothership are steadfast in holding to its values and mission. It’s one of the most supportive organizations I belong to. I look forward to its conferences every year.

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

Personal Facebook account and Arts in Bartlett Facebook

Meet a Member: Cora Weisenberger

Posted November 7, 2016 by tlehre
Categories: Illinois, NFPW, Uncategorized

Tags: , ,

A love for writing has helped shape a career for Cora Weisenberger. She has always loved to write. These days she is sharing her talents with Illinois Woman’s Press Association where she is president-elect and chairing the high school communications contest. She is dedicated and dependable and NFPW is lucky to have her as a member. Meet this unique and unbelievable member.

Cora Weisenberg

Cora Weisenberger

Name: Cora Weisenberger

City and State: Chicago Heights, Illinois

Affiliate and any leadership positions: Illinois Woman’s Press Association – Social Media Coordinator (2013-2015); High School Contest Chair (2015-2017; President-Elect (2016)

Years a member of NFPW:

I was a member from 1996 to 2004. After taking time off for graduate school and rebuilding my career, I rejoined in 2013.

Tell us a little about you.

It seems like it was always in the cards that I would be a writer of some sort; even as I kid I pretended to write novels (the subject was usually my long-enduring passion: horses). But it wasn’t until I got to high school that I thought about writing and journalism as a career.  The advisor for the school newspaper said she believed that I could write professional.  That was something that stuck with me.

Eventually, I received my undergraduate degree from Northwestern University in communications and journalism; and a master’s in journalism from the Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism. In my career I have worked at a daily newspaper; a B2B publication, a direct-selling business and am now Communication Manager at The Appraisal Institute, the nation’s largest professional Association for real estate appraisers.

My husband, Greg, and I live in a suburb of Chicago with our sons David and Jonathan, and our two furry “children,” dogs Abby and Moonie.

Any career advice you would give?

Be flexible. The communications profession is unpredictable. No matter your skills set or your years of experience, you might find yourself out of a job or working in a new media that didn’t exist 5 – 10 years ago. No matter the format, good fundamental communications and journalism skills are needed. Be willing to try something new.

Cora Weisenberger in the rain at Niagara Falls with the American Falls behind her.

Cora Weisenberger in the rain at Niagara Falls with the American Falls behind her.

Which talent would you most like to have?

Anything athletic. I would have loved to have been in the Olympics, but I have no athletic ability whatsoever!

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

In the country on enough land where I could have a separate studio for writing and art, and my gearhead husband and sons could have space for their hobby cars.

What book are you reading?

“Eighty Days: Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland’s History-Making Race Around the World,” by Matthew Goodman.  Nellie Bly is a well known, but I had never heard of Bisland. In addition to their exploits, this book reveals how hard it was for 19th-century woman journalists (the same time IWPA was formed, incidentally) to get into the profession and to be taken seriously.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

I own the farm that has been in my family from more than 100 years.

Why is your affiliate and NFPW important to you?

They are both ways we can encourage the communicators of today as well as encourage future generations.

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

You can find both me on Facebook. I have a Twitter account but rarely tweet.

Meet a Member: Monica Springer

Posted October 28, 2016 by tlehre
Categories: Kansas, Uncategorized

Tags: , ,

Monica Springer joined Kansas Professional Communicators and NFPW after moving from the newsroom to the marketing department of Servi-Tech in her hometown of Dodge City. She immediately involved herself in the organization through leadership roles, including planning the 2016 NFPW conference in Wichita, and now serves as president of the affiliate. She is an outstanding NFPW member and one of reasons the conference was such a success. I hope you enjoy getting to know her better. 

Monica Springer

Monica Springer

Name: Monica Springer

City and State: Dodge City, Kansas

Affiliate and any leadership positions: Kansas Professional Communicators. I’ve been president since April.

Years a member of NFPW: Three I think.

Tell us a little about you.

I work at Servi-Tech in Dodge City. Servi-Tech is an agricultural consulting and laboratory testing company. I’ve worked in the communications department for five years.

I have three of the cutest nieces you’ll ever meet, including almost 3-year-old twins and an almost 1-year old. Being an aunt is the coolest job I’ve ever had. I didn’t know it was possible to love someone that much until they were born.

In my spare time when I’m not killing it as an aunt, I enjoy gardening, canning, and fixing my house that was built in 1900. I also have three Pugs: Penny, Raven and Pickles.

Any career advice you would give?

Be willing to change and be open to new ideas. Don’t be one of those people who always say, “But that’s the way we’ve always done it!” Those people are annoying.

Monica Springer with her darling niece Kaylee.

Monica Springer with her darling niece Kaylee, one of the 3-year-old twins.

Which talent would you most like to have?

I want the ability to stop time. That way, if I’m in the middle of a meeting and I want to take a nap, I could just press a button, go home and take a nap.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

I have a soft spot for Oklahoma City. I also like the beach. If I could move OKC to a beach where hurricanes don’t happen, and if my family were willing to move with me, and if I won the lottery and I didn’t have to work, that’d be where I want to live.

What book are you reading?

My latest book club book is Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. I’m about halfway through. The last book we read was The Girl on the Train. If you’re wondering, the book was way better than the movie. Don’t even waste your money on the movie.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

I have different colored eyes. My left eye is blue and my right eye is green.

Why is your affiliate and NFPW important to you?

If I have a question about something, someone is always willing to help. When I’ve asked for help, no one has ever told me no. Plus, it’s good to have friends in different parts of the state!

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

My blog: kansasmusings.blogspot.com/

Facebook: facebook.com/monica.springer.73

Twitter: twitter.com/monicaspringer