Archive for the ‘Louisiana’ category

Meet a Member: Sallie Rose Hollis

September 27, 2018

I became acquainted with the writing of Sallie Rose Hollis when she entered the at-large competition of the 2018 NFPW professional communications contest. She is a freelance columnist for the Ruston Daily Leader in Louisiana. She has a nice writing style and I enjoy her perspective. I’m hoping to meet her in person next June, when the Louisiana affiliate hosts the NFPW conference. I hope you enjoy getting to know this unique and unbelievable NFPW member.

Name:  Sallie Rose Hollis 

City and State:  Ruston, Louisiana

Affiliate and any leadership positions:  Louisiana; past affiliate secretary

Sallie Rose Hollis

Sallie Rose Hollis

Years a member of NFPW:  I was a member for decades while teaching journalism at Louisiana Tech University.  Then when I retired in 2008, I dropped out for a few years. Now that I am a freelance newspaper columnist, I have re-upped.

Tell us a little about you:

I’m a North Louisiana native, born and raised in Union Parish. I was named after both my grandmothers, so I like to use both names in my byline. I attended Louisiana Tech, majoring in journalism, and ended up teaching there for 34 years.  While there, I also served in the university News Bureau, eventually becoming assistant director.  I now have a biweekly column that I began about two years ago in the Ruston Daily Leader, “The Journey.”  It combines slice of life, nostalgia and inspiration.

My husband is the talented artist Hooshang Khorasani. 

Sallie Rose Hollis helping sort cans for a food drive with Zeta Rho chapter of Epsilon Sigma Alpha.  

Sallie Rose Hollis helping sort cans for a food drive with members of Zeta Rho chapter of Epsilon Sigma Alpha.

I belong to several groups: Piney Hills Harmony Chorus of Sweet Adelines. We sing four-part a cappella harmony.  (I’m assistant director for showmanship and visual expression, and baritone section leader.) Epsilon Sigma Alpha service group.  (I’m the outgoing president of the local Zeta Rho chapter. Our main philanthropic project is St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.)   Of course, I serve as the PR/marketing chair for both these groups, as well as for my husband’s art business. Most importantly, I’m a Christian and am involved with the worldwide Bible Study Fellowship; plus, I teach online at World English Institute, which uses the Bible as the foundation for its lessons.

Any career advice you would give?  Don’t give up easily. When I began teaching, I was terrified and also not very proficient.  But I hung in there and think that, in time, I did grow into the job.

Which talent would you most like to have?  

Hmmm … The ability to keep my house clean. That is, other than being a really nice, loving person at all times.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?  I’m there. It’s here.

What book are you reading?  

“Building Bridges in Marriage Communication” by Bill Stewart.  Recently finished “The Dragon Slayer: Reflections on the Saving of the World” by Jim McGuiggan.  I read more non-fiction than fiction. “The Other Einstein” by Marie Benedict is on my to-read list – a gift from my home-ec-teacher-turned-author sister, Dianne Hollis Lundy.  “Sister” has written her autobiography, “The Girl from Nip ‘n’ Tuck” and a collection of short stories, “Summerfield,” with its sequel soon to follow.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?  

I had polio when I was 3 years old. 

Why is your affiliate and NFPW important to you?  

They offer a place to be united with like-minded people; they provide avenues to continue your education; they supply a means of having your work assessed and receiving awards when it is deemed top-quality.

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

Facebook – Sallie Rose Hollis; blog – (mainly an anthology of my columns).


Meet a Member: Helen Sheffield Plotkin

November 21, 2017

Helen Sheffield Plotkin is the 2017 Communicator of Achievement for Arkansas Press Women. She is an active member of the affiliate where she has served in many capacities during her professional career. She is currently serving as the affiliate contest director in a affiliate known for high quality entrants. This year’s national sweepstakes award winner was from Arkansas. Plotkin is a dedicated NFPW member and a great asset to our organization. I hope you enjoy getting to know her a little better.

Name: Helen Sheffield Plotkin

 City and State: Conway, Arkansas

Affiliate and any leadership positions:

Arkansas Press Women – I’ve served APW as president, first vice president, secretary, high school contest director, scholarship chair, conference organizer and, this year, I’m chairing the professional contest. I joined APW in 1977. Charlotte Schexnayder, who was NFPW president, spoke at the first APW meeting I attended. I was honored to be asked to join the state board as Southwest District Director in 1978; I found out later that there were few members in the southwest corner of the state and that they’d already asked everyone else who qualified for the position and been turned down. I’m still glad they asked me because that opportunity introduced me to the APW leadership and helped form personal relationships that continue to be important to me 40 years later. That early involvement also prompted me to seek out membership in Louisiana when I moved there in 1979. I was an active member of Louisiana  Press Women for the next decade, serving on the board, helping plan a state conference, and serving as contest chair in the days before you needed to be computer literate to enter. I resumed membership in Arkansas Press Women when I moved back to my home state in 1989.

Helen Plotkin with her niece Amy and holding her grand-niece, Jemma. Photo is from last spring when Jemma was about four months old.

Helen Plotkin with her niece Amy and grand-niece, Jemma. Photo is from last spring when Jemma was about four months old.

Tell us a little about you.

I grew up in Mount Ida, Arkansas, population 897 for most of the time I lived there. My mother, father, sister and brother lived on a farm along the South Fork of the Ouachita River.

 We were poor, but didn’t know it because we didn’t know anyone who wasn’t in the same shape. When my grandparents, and then my parents bought televisions, I got my first glimpse of the outside world and realized that other people lived differently. I was seven when the television arrived and when the wood cookstove was replaced with a gas range; I was 14 when we got running water.

 I graduated from Henderson State University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, with bachelor of arts in journalism and spent the next 13 years working at newspapers in Arkansas, Texas and Louisiana – mostly as a feature writer, editor and columnist. I also worked the news desk, covered city hall, county government, the local school board, police, fire and such, and anything else the editors I worked for needed done.

 In 1989, my husband (a Chicago native who was a copy editor at the Monroe, Louisiana, newspaper when I joined the staff) accepted a job of the Arkansas Gazette and we moved to Little Rock, Arkansas, about 100 miles from where I grew up. A couple of months after we moved, I started work in the Public Information Office at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, my first step toward a career in public relations. I spent five years at UALR, learning from a group of talented co-workers and leaving in 1995 as Managing Editor (and interim director) of the Office of Communications. I went to Hendrix College in Conway Arkansas as Director of College Relations for the small liberal arts college that is widely regarded as among 100 best liberal arts colleges in the nation. When I retired in May 2017, I’d been at Hendrix for 22 years, the last two as Vice President for Marketing Communications and a member of the Senior Leadership Team and the President’s Cabinet.

 I’ve been married to Richard Plotkin (also an APW/NFPW member) for 36 years, as of Nov. 15, 2017. We haven’t any offspring, but my late sister was kind enough to have a daughter and son, who have both provided grand nephews and – as of December 2016 – one grand-niece whose arrival is one of the reasons I decided to retire and give myself more time to spoil her rotten.

 Any career advice you would give?

When I told my Hendrix team that was retiring, I was asked to share some parting words of wisdom with the group at one of our monthly “Brown Bag Lunches,” a short professional development time that we all took turns leading. I put together a list I titled 22 True Things, one for each year I worked at Hendrix. After I left, the new Vice President for Marketing Communications had my list framed and hung on the wall (mainly to embarrass me, I think). Here are a few of the items that would fall in the career advice category:

  1. Ask, don’t assume. What you think you already know can get in your way.
  2. Remember that someone else’s idea could be better than yours and you’ll never know that if you don’t pause and listen.
  3. How you respond to setbacks and failure will determine the course of your career.
  4. Don’t be shy about claiming credit when you’ve excelled at something. Also, don’t be shy about sharing the credit. We do very little of value all alone.
  5. While earning the approval and respect of others is valuable and affirming, you are the only person whose approval or respect you require to be a person of integrity.

Which talent would you most like to have?

Since I love music, it would nice if had some talent in that area. My late sister often commented, when we sang duets together in church as teenagers, that the issue wasn’t so much my lack of talent as it was my lack of willingness to practice enough to compensate for it – and my inability to grasp that when we were singing a duet it was actually important that we sing in the same key. I miss my sister every day, but I’ve yet to miss that sharp elbow of hers that landed in my side every time I was flat!

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

The ideal place would require a little reorganization of the continent. If no one objects, I would create a cozy little cottage on a few acres of the old family farm in Mount Ida. Then I’d replace the South Fork of the Ouachita River that borders the property with the Pacific Ocean, so I could watch the sunset every night and fall asleep to the sound of the surf. I can’t decide between plopping my little paradise down near Monterey or placing it along the coast of Oregon, where some of my favorite relatives live. Those details can be worked out after I get the cottage built, I’m sure.

What book are you reading?

I usually have several going at the same time. I just started Two Kinds of Truth by Michael Connelly, a Harry Borsch crime novel.

And, I’ve been dipping periodically into Ava’s Man by Rick Bragg, which I purchased at the NFPW meeting in Birmingham and am thoroughly enjoying, and Atlas Obscura, a collection of stories about just plain odd places around the globe.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

I’ve been employed as a professional chicken catcher – along with the other members of my high school class. It’s what we did to raise money for our junior banquet and senior trip. It was both hard work and fun, in a weird sort of way. But, I wouldn’t recommend it as a long-term career.

Why are organizations like NFPW important?

Organizations like NFPW connect us with others who share our professional passion. Friendships develop that enrich our lives on a number of levels. NFPW and its state affiliates provide professional development workshops and opportunities to develop leadership skills, and create networks of fellow communicators we can call on when we encounter challenges at work or when we are searching for work.

Way to follow you on a website, twitter, Facebook, etc. – My Linked In page, although there’s not much on it. And, that’s about the same for my Facebook page.

Meet a Member: Karen Rowley

July 28, 2015

Karen Rowley is dedicated NFPW member who enjoys working behind the scenes to make things happen. She did an excellent job managing the NFPW high school communications contest for several years and is completing a two-year term as NFPW protocol director. She is always willing to step up and help when someone needs help. She is another unique and unbelievable NFPW member I am honored to call a friend.

Karen Rowley at the 2014 NCAA Final Four tournament in Arlington, Texas

Karen Rowley at the 2014 NCAA Final Four tournament in Arlington, Texas

Name: Karen Rowley

City and State: Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Affiliate and any leadership positions: Louisiana Press Women; president, treasurer, state contest director. Current NFPW protocol director and former NFPW high school contest director.

Years a member of NFPW: 14

Tell us a little about you.

I’m the oldest of six children – four of whom were born in upstate New York, which is where my parents were born and raised. We likely would have stayed in New York if my father hadn’t been drafted by the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War and sent to Montgomery, Alabama, for two years. That small taste of the South was enough to make my mother decide she was tired of the snow and the cold and stuffing small children into snowsuits. We ultimately ended up in Macon, Georgia, where my father set up his medical practice.

I graduated with a degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and spent the next 20 years working for newspapers in North Carolina, Florida and Louisiana. When I got tired of the grind, I went back to school at Louisiana State University and earned a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in media and public affairs. That let me shift gears a little and go to work as a researcher for a nonprofit, non-partisan public policy group. Now I work for the state of Louisiana in the same capacity at the Legislative Auditor’s Office.

I’ve never lost my love for journalism, though, and I’ve been able to keep a hand in by teaching at LSU’s school of mass communication and by doing some freelance writing and editing.

Any career advice you would give? 

Never turn down a chance to learn a new skill – you never know when it might come in handy.

Which talent would you most like to have? 

I’d like to be able to draw and paint. I have a lot of admiration for people who can do that.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?  

I’d divide my time. I’d spend summers and early fall in the Central New York/Finger Lakes region, and winters and spring along the Gulf Coast.

An avid reader, Karen Rowley shows the books she is currently reading.

An avid reader, Karen Rowley shows the books she is currently reading.

What book are you reading?

I’m actually reading three books right now. It’s a bad habit I learned from my father, who was a voracious reader. He was always reading several books at once. I’m reading “Turning Angel” by Greg Iles, which is the second in his series about a native son of Natchez, Mississippi, who returns home and finds himself involved in solving various crimes; “A History of the World in 12 Maps” by Jerry Brotton; and “The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism” by Doris Kearns Goodwin.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

I played the violin – badly – as a child. I don’t play anymore, but I still appreciate the beauty of the music. And at the other end of the spectrum, I’m a big college basketball fan. That comes from four years at UNC, where basketball rules, and from the opportunity to attend several NCAA Final Four tournaments. The last one I went to was in 2014 in Arlington, Texas.

Why is your affiliate and NFPW important to you?  

They give me hope for the future of journalism; they keep me attuned to how the industry is changing; and they provide a built-in support network.

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

I’m on LinkedIn and on Twitter at @KRowley2012.