Award winning communicator focuses efforts on Arkansas and national responsibilities

She is a talented and award winning communicator who has captured sweepstakes honors in the National Federation of Press Women’s annual communications contest. She currently leads Arkansas Press Women, an affiliate I hope to visit later this year, and volunteers on the national level as well. I always look forward to seeing her smiling face at the national meetings. When she faces a challenge, she overcomes it with determination and hard work. Meet unique and unbelievable NFPW member Debbie Miller. 

Name: Debbie Miller

DebbieMiller

Debbie Miller

City and State: Bentonville, Arkansas

Affiliate and any leadership positions: Arkansas Press Women, current president. Previously served as vice president and contest director.  Currently serving as parliamentarian for NFPW.

Years a member of NFPW:  28

Tell us a little about you.

I am an Arkansas native who first tested those creative writing muscles in elementary school. When I was a junior in high school, my local weekly newspaper sold and the new owner asked high school students to provide copy for his newspaper. Eventually, I was paid to write feature stories for the publication, and I was hooked.

I worked more than 25 years in print journalism as a reporter and editor before going to the “gray” side — higher education public relations at NorthWest Arkansas Community College in 2011. This has been a wonderful opportunity for me, and it has been some fellow Press Women members who have helped me transition successfully to a different career.

My husband also is a former newspaper reporter and photographer who now works in higher ed communications. We live in a unique community of 35,000 people that’s also home to the world’s largest retailer. I am a breast cancer survivor.  I learned some valuable life lessons from that experience, including trying to recognize what’s important in life.

Any career advice you would give?

DebbieMillerHawaii

Debbie Miller and her husband celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary in Hawaii earlier this year.

Take every opportunity that you can to acquire new skills and learn from others.

Which talent would you most like to have?

My siblings were very musically talented, and I don’t think I ever was. When I was in my pre-teen years, I played the ukulele. (My mom later put flowers inside the center hole and hung it on the wall, so I’m uncertain how truly gifted I was at this.) However, I recently bought a ukulele on an anniversary trip to Hawaii, and now I would really, really like to play this thing.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

I would probably choose my native Arkansas, but Colorado would be a close second.

What book are you reading?

Scarpetta

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

I am incredibly shy and fearful of public speaking, but when our SPJ chapter presents a Gridiron show each fall, I absolutely turn into a ham.

Why is your affiliate and NFPW important to you?

Arkansas Press Women and National Federation of Press Women are important to me because my fellow members have inspired me to be a better communicator and a better person. They also provided the support I needed to take my reporting and editing skills to a different venue and flourish.

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

I am on Facebook, but I use it for personal rather than professional communications. My Twitter handle is @NWACCMiller, and I also am on LinkedIn as one of many Debbie Millers.

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