Meet a Member: Julie Slaymaker

I have been a fan of Julie Slaymaker for many years. This little bundle of energy is fun to be around and is always looking for ways to solve problems. She is such an inspiration for all her many accomplishments. I am honored to be able to call her a friend.

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Julie Slaymaker

Name: Julie Slaymaker

Hometown: Indianapolis, Indiana

Affiliate: Woman’s Press Club of Indiana. Joined in 1973. A member for 43 years.

Leadership Positions: Bulletin Editor; Acting President in 1988. Elected President in 1989. Served until 1990. Elected President again in 2009-2011; (The only member to serve as president three times in WPCI’s 103-year history.) Fulfilled Treasurer and husband Gene Slaymaker’s term when he died in 2012. She has served as treasurer ever since. She is a longtime head of the WPCI Education Fund, a (501) (c) (3) and former board member of NFPW Education Fund.

A little about Julie:

She is a national award-winning freelance writer and was president of the Indiana Professional Chapter of The Society of Professional Journalists from 2001-2002. In 2009, the Indiana Pro Chapter created the Gene and Julie “Indiana Service to Journalism Award” to honor their almost three decades as statewide SPJ contest directors.

While president of Woman’s Press Club of Indiana in 1988-1990, Slaymaker founded the WPCI Prison Writing Contest in conjunction with Women’s Prison of Indiana. While serving as Communications Director for the Office of the Indiana Attorney General, she convinced the Indiana Department of Correction to expand the contest to all incarcerated inmates, male and female. It is the achievement for which she is most proud. She was named WPCI’s Communicator of Achievement in 1998 and is a two-time Kate Milner Rabb winner of the organization’s highest award given for dedication and service to the organization. From 2009-2011, Slaymaker again served as President of Woman’s Press Club of Indiana. The Julie and Gene Slaymaker scholarship was established in 2012.

She was only 19-years-old when she got her start in journalism as a summer intern at The Indianapolis Times. While still in college, she served as a correspondent for the Indianapolis office of Fairchild Publications. Her first byline story appeared in Women’s Wear Daily. Her sister found that funny, claiming she knows bag ladies who dress better.

The former WIFE-AM/FM radio public service director was a member of The National Broadcast Promoters Association and Women in Radio and Television. Years later, she became a freelance trial reporter for WTLC Radio. She won UPI’s “Best Reporter” award for her trial coverage of one of the biggest drug rings in the history of Indiana. That same series garnered her shared National Headliners Club Award for Investigative Reporting. She also won a UPI Regional Broadcast award for her radio coverage of the Mike Tyson rape trial.

As a freelance magazine writer, Slaymaker’s work has appeared in magazines including Indianapolis Woman, Indianapolis Pet Quarterly, Indiana Super Lawyers, Indianapolis Monthly, Dartmouth Alumni Magazine, Indiana State Alumni Magazine, Indiana University Alumni Magazine, Dog Fancy, and AAA’s Home & Away – to name a few.

She is a member of the Indiana Broadcast Pioneers and a board member of the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame.

An amateur actress and one of few female presidents in the over 100-year history of The Players, Slaymaker appeared in Dan Wakefield’s Hollywood movie, “Going All the Way,” starring Ben Affleck.

Any career advice you would give:

“Do what you love and the money will follow!” Unless you go into journalism!

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Julie Slaymaker

 

Talent I would like to have:

“I would love to be comfortable speaking in public. Though, I’ve been told I’m good at it, I would rather endure root canal or Pap smear than speak in public!”

What are you reading? 

I just finished reading Alice Munro’s Family Furnishings! I’m a speed reader but not with this book. I read at a snail’s pace while savoring her magnificent writing. No wonder she won the 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature! Alice Hoffman’s The Marriage of Opposites is beckoning me to grab an afghan and curl up on a snowy day.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

People would probably be surprised to learn that I was pre-teen, runway model for the biggest department store in Peoria, Illinois. Which doesn’t say much. Because my “budding” career came to an abrupt end when I grew boobs, giving new meaning to “If it will play in Peoria!”

Why is your affiliate and NFPW important to you?

I didn’t become active in Woman’s Press Club until I turned 40 and received my first NFPW first place award in Vail, Colorado. While there as an unknown, I replaced an ailing WPCI delegate and was immediately adopted by mentors like journalism power houses Hortense Myers, Naomi Whitesell, Dottie Steinmeier, and Joan Bey. For the awards ceremony, I wore an elegant, toga-style gown that matched my Sappho fantasy.   I was on top of the world that night, surrounded by wonderful new NFPW friends. Before going to an after-party, Gene and I went back to our room so I could quickly use the commode. Somehow, the one shoulder drape of my toga swooped into the toilet and when I flushed, I was headed downstream for Denver!

“Fame is fleeting!” But that set a record! One minute I was on top of the world. And the next minute, I was in the proverbial toilet! It’s a Peoria thing!

When I became active in WPCI, I was nurtured and mentored by an organization of journalism mothers who always wanted to know what I was working on so they could guide me to excellence with their professionalism.   Their belief in me gave me confidence to write personality profiles on some of Indiana’s best and brightest.

My NFPW membership gave me inside access to the entire country when Gene and I investigated Indiana’s biggest drug ring that had international and nationwide tentacles. Using my NFPW Directory, I called members who filled me in on their local ringleaders.   Gene and I won a Headliner’s Award for Investigative Radio Reporting. That wouldn’t have happened without the help of NFPW members’ leads who strengthened our reporting. When my Mr. Microphone died, I was surrounded by my WPCI family – many of whom I’ve mentored. They call me “Journo Mom.” They are my adored “Journo Daughters.” It’s an NFPW thing!

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One Comment on “Meet a Member: Julie Slaymaker”


  1. Wonderful piece! It is soooo Julie Slaymaker. Loved it. thanks for sharing.


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