Meet a Member: Priscilla Owings-Chansky

Priscilla Owings-Chansky has worn many hats during her outstanding communications career. I first met her many years ago when she was the executive director of NFPW. Today, she champions the Veterans Voices Writing Project, Inc. Many NFPW members met her when she was on a communications panel at the national conference in Kansas. She is another unique and unbelievable NFPW member.

Name: Priscilla Owings-Chansky

Hometown: Olathe, Kansas

Priscilla Owings-Chansky

Priscilla Owings-Chansky

Affiliate and any offices: Kansas Professional Communicators,  currently Vice President

Tell us a little about you:

I am the administrative director of the Veterans Voices Writing Project, Inc., a position I have held for 14 years. VVWP publishes the writing of military veterans from across the United States in a 64-page magazine, Veterans’ Voices, which is published three times a year (spring, summer, fall). The magazine, begun by a group of Kansas City journalists, 66 years ago continues to provide therapy and pride of publication to our nation’s veterans. VVWP has a new website: veteransvoices.org, which includes a digital copy of the current magazine and a portal for veterans to write and submit their prose, poetry, artwork and photos.

We encourage volunteers to start writing groups for veterans, to become volunteer online editors for Veterans’ Voices, and to be writing aide volunteers in VA Medical Centers across the United States.

On a personal level, I am the VA&R chair for the Olathe American Legion  Auxiliary; a 50-year plus member of Beta Sigma Phi, a life member of the Kappa Phi Club and the National Federation of Press Women, a member of The Association for Women in Communications (since 1960) and a member of Aldersgate United Methodist Church in Olathe.

Priscilla with step-grandchildren Alana and Bennett Chansky.

Priscilla with step-grandchildren Alana and Bennett Chansky.

I have one son, Rusty Owings, a grandson, Liam Owings, and three step- grandchildren: Audrey Pendergraft, Bennett and Alana Chansky. Liam and Audrey live in Kansas City and Bennett and Alana reside in Kenosha, WI. Liam spent last summer as an AFS exchange student in Italy, where he participated in an art program and got to carve in Carrera marble. Needless to say, he couldn’t bring his work home with him, but has lots of photos. He is a junior at Lincoln Preparatory Academy in Kansas City, Mo.

The first week of June, Rusty, Liam, Audrey and I will be traveling to Alaska to sightsee and cruise.

Any career advise to share:

Always take advantage of professional programs, seminars and webinars to improve your skills and knowledge. I believe that NFPW and AWC conventions and programs have been most beneficial to me.

Which talent would you most like to have?:

I’d love to be able to play the piano. I took lessons as an elementary school student. A couple of years ago, I acquired a piano…and have not taken advantage of it as I couldn’t play as well as I thought I could…and I haven’t practiced. Maybe when I retire!

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

Right where I am – near my son and grandson.

What book are you reading?

I just finished reading a mystery story that a friend loaned me – Porcelain Dolls Don’t Bleed – a story by a Denver writer set in Colorado and involving the maker of porcelain dolls who was murdered. Previous to this, I read several of Tony Hillerman’s southwest Indian mysteries. I was so pleased to again meet Anne Hillerman, his daughter and NFPW member, at a Kansas City library event featuring her writing. So pleased to learn that she was continuing stories about her father’s characters.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

I am an independent Mary Kay consultant. I have been widowed twice (both husbands succumbed to lung diseases). Current/new NFPW members might be surprised to learn that I was once the executive director of NFPW, having previously worked for the organization. I have also been the interim director of the Piano Technicians Guild, manager of the United Federation of Doll Clubs. I co-owned a weekly newspaper for seven years along with a typesetting and public relations company. I spent many years in public relations with the University of Kansas Medical Center, Liberty Hospital and Comprehensive Mental Health Services, both in Missouri.

Why are organizations like NFPW important?

I believe that professional organizations are important to honing our skills, to keeping our knowledge relevant to today’s workplace, and to creating the lasting friendships and professional advice that we get from other members.

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

VVWP’s website is: veteransvoices.org; Veterans’ Voices on Facebook; and @VeteransVoices on Twitter.

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