Kansas journalist honored for career of dedicated efforts to support affiliate and NFPW

She is a long-time NFPW member who has served her Kansas affiliate in many capacities. At the NFPW conference in South Carolina this month, she was honored as 2014 Communicator of Achievement, the highest honor awarded annually to a NFPW member. The honor is based on service to NFPW and her affiliate, service in the communication field and for her volunteer work to her community. Meet outstanding NFPW member Becky Funke.

Name:  Becky FunkebeckyFunke

City and State:  Goddard, Kansas

Affiliate and any leadership positions:  Kansas, second vice president for by-laws right now, held nearly every other elected and/or appointed office.  Conference co-chair for the 2016 NFPW conference in Kansas.

Years a member of NFPW:  31

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

Oh, what a challenge

I guess the place to start is with my life-changing last year. I just recently returned to work after a 9-month leave while I was treated for leukemia.  I was diagnosed with Acute Myleod Leukemia on October 1 — my 57th birthday; did two rounds of chemo in Wichita, then went to the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City in December for a third round of chemotherapy and on December 20, 2013 received a double cord blood (stem cell) transplant.  I spent the next three and a half months (with my husband) at the American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodge in Kansas City, Mo (nearly 300 miles from home) for treatment and recovery from the transplant.  I’m in remission, all of my numbers are good, but with essentially no immune system, I stay pretty much in my routine of going to work and going home.

I’m a Kansas girl through and through. While I was in elementary school, my family moved from Kansas to Delaware, back to Kansas, then to Louisiana and Florida (my father worked in aviation and aerospace and followed contracts). We moved back to Kansas and stayed put when I was in sixth grade.  I like to say I started my career in high school. I was on the staff my high school newspaper, which was a page of the community’s weekly newspaper, for two years; editor my senior year.  The teacher, who was also publisher of the community newspaper, set high standards for us.  I’ve never looked back and with the exception of my first semester of college, have worked on a newspaper ever since.

I have a degree in communications and have worked for 36 years at small publications: weekly newspapers, a small five-day a week daily and for the past 24 years at Active Aging, a monthly publication for the 55+ market in the Wichita area.

Any career advice you would give?

Never stop learning, never stop honing your skills. You can always improve and in today’s digital world,  you have to keep up with technology.  And network, network, network!


Which talent would you most like to have?

I can’t carry a tune in a bucket, as the old saying goes…and I love music.  So I would wish for some musical talent.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

Kansas is really a great place to live (except for the politics, but hope springs eternal every election) and I really can’t imagine living anywhere else.

What book are you reading? 

The Girls of August by Anne Rivers Siddons.  I love southern fiction, I suppose from the almost five years I lived in the deep south as a child.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

My favorite story: my husband proposed to me via an ad he bought in the newspaper where I was editor.  The publisher and production staff managed to hide the ad from me, sent me out of the printing plant before the paper came off the press and I didn’t see the ad until I picked up the office copies of the papers from the post office (the printing plant was in a town 40+ miles from where I worked). That yellowed ad is a part of my pile of things to be included in scrapbooks someday.

Why is your affiliate and NFPW important to you?

First, the many friends I have made through press women; I had some wonderful mentors in Kansas Press Women back when I first joined and I continue to meet and make new friends.

Second, I have always worked at small publications where I was often the only communications professional on the staff. I joined what was then Kansas Press Women and NFPW for the educational opportunities.  The state organization conferences always offer top-notch speakers and even after 30 years of attending I always come away with new ideas, new perspective. I started entering the contest, got hooked with a few certificates and the comments from judges.   I’ve been to several NFPW conferences (wish I was able to attend this year, but my immune system isn’t ready for air travel and being around a lot of people) and always come home re-charged and with new ideas.

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

I’m on Facebook as Becky Funke

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