Archive for the ‘NFPW’ category

Meet a Member: Sarah Cortez

July 26, 2017

This September Sarah Cortez will attend her first NFPW conference. She won a first place award for her efforts with her latest book, “Vanishing Points Poems and Photographs of Texas Roadside Memorials.” She is a new member of Press women of Texas and is already involved in the organization’s leadership. She is a unique and unbelievable new member I hope you enjoy getting to know a little better.

Name: Sarah Cortez

City and State: Houston, TX

Affiliate & Leadership Position: Press Women of Texas. Recently elected vice-president.

Years a NFPW Member:  Less than one year.

Sarah Cortez

Sarah Cortez

Tell Us A Little About Yourself:                    

I have been a freelance professional writer and editor for almost ten years.  I am 12 books into my career: eight are anthologies and three are authored by myself.  All are published by successful independent publishers.

There are three loves that define my professional life: a love of working with writers, a love of police work, and a love of poetry.  Just as so many others in our culture, I have been lucky enough to combine several career paths.  For me, a 24-year career in law enforcement has melded with both teaching/writing/editing poetry, fiction, memoir, etc., for both individuals and publishing houses.

The best thing I’ve done in my life is become a police officer.  In a way, it was an improbable decision because I already had a fast-track career in corporate America and two graduate degrees: a master’s in Classical Studies and a master’s in Accountancy. My decision to take a radical pay cut and go from white-collar work to blue-collar work has enabled me to stand up for crime victims as I also stand up for what is right based on the laws of the U.S.  The one thing I don’t fear is dying on the job as a cop.  Anyone who goes to the police academy had better make peace with this issue before he/she pays tuition and shows up with armfuls of new, scratchy uniforms and heavy equipment on the first day.

What book are you reading?

I always seem to be reading several books at once.  Right now, I’m going through a book of St. Mother Teresa’s meditations and advice, Pat Conroy’s “Prince of Tides,” and Dana Gioia’s monograph, “The Catholic Writer.”

Why is your affiliate important to you?

I have been intrigued by the Texas affiliate of NFPW because the people I’ve met are so professional, so smart, and have had such a variety of careers.  Perhaps, like me, they are women and men who’ve seen a lot of life yet still believe in the triumph of the human spirit.  As a recently elected vice-president, my goal is to increase membership and work with the present board for the good of our organization.

Any career advice you would give?

If I might offer career advice related to being a freelance writer and editor, I would say “Be patient and hard-working.”  I believe it is a natural human tendency to want everything to be easy.  I even see this tendency in myself every once in a while.  It creeps up on me and it is dreadfully depleting.  I think we writers/editors would be much better served if we expect every piece of writing/editing to be difficult.  You see, “difficult” is okay.  It helps each of us rise to better and higher standards or ways of thinking or vistas of understanding.   Difficulty pushes each of us to greater achievement.  “Easy” doesn’t do this.  We can’t allow our professional output to be a function of the attitude of minimalism that is endemic in today’s culture.  You know, that attitude of “what’s the least I can do to get by?”

Thoughts on attending your first NFPW conference?

Oh, yes, I wish to say that I am thrilled to have been granted a First Timer Grant to attend the annual conference in Birmingham, AL this year!  I am eager to meet everyone!  I feel strongly that this organization is where I should be right now to combine the many bright threads of my professional experience into the strong rope of the future.

Ways to follow you:

www.poetacortez.com
and her NFPW award winning book: http://www.poetacortez.com/vanishing-points

Meet a Member: Deborah Reinhardt

July 19, 2017

I’m looking forward to the NFPW conference this September in Birmingham, Alabama. I am also looking forward to meeting some of our interesting and talented writers like Deborah Reinhardt of Missouri. She is a recent new member of NFPW and is already busy supporting her Missouri affiliate. I hope you take the time to get to know her better.

Name: Deborah Reinhardt

City and State: St. Louis, Mo.

Deborah Reinhardt

Deborah Reinhardt

Affiliate and any leadership positions: 

Missouri Professional Communicators (MPC). I manage communications (newsletter, social media, website) for our chapter.

Years a member of NFPW: first year, though I was active since 2015

Tell us a little about you. 

I’m managing editor for AAA magazines (Midwest Traveler and Southern Traveler). I’ve done this for 27 years, but I still get a kick when the box of newly printed magazines arrive and I open it to see what we’ve made. I’m the weird woman at Barnes & Noble who stands at the magazine stand smelling ink and fingering paper (not kidding). My job allows me to meet and work with ridiculously gifted writers, and I travel once or twice a year to write articles. The last trip was a Route 66 journey from Missouri to the Grand Canyon.

Deborah Reinhardt visiting the Grand Canyon.

Deborah Reinhardt visiting the Grand Canyon.

Prior to the magazine, I worked several years in community newspapers, starting as a reporter fresh out of college then moving to take over as editor of a small weekly in an unincorporated, semi-rural area. My beat included the sewer and school districts. (Sometimes, they resembled each other.)

I’ve loved writing stories since the seventh grade, and I’m excited about the next book that I hope to launch this fall.

Any career advice you would give? 

Don’t allow “no” to stop you. Believe in your talents and pursue these in your career. Be your best publicist.

Which talent would you most like to have? 

Once, I’d like to throw a curveball that would buckle a batter’s knees.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be? 

Anywhere Paul McCartney is living. Kidding (sort of). I dream about retiring near the water in about 10 years. Maybe I’ll buy an RV and just travel cross-country with Beatles music in the background.

What book are you reading? 

The Naked Now

What would people be surprised to learn about you? 

That I was allergic to chocolate as a kid, which is a little weird, as my winning entry is a book about chocolate makers in Missouri. Thankfully, I grew out of that and could properly conduct necessary “research” for Delectable Destinations.

Why is your affiliate and NFPW important to you? 

I get so energized around other writers and creative people. Our jobs, if we’re not careful, can become dull and routine, but when we have our meetings and conferences, I always meet someone new and make good contacts.

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

deborahreinhardt.com; Facebook under my name and @DelectableDestinations; Twitter is @girlpowerpub

Meet a Member: B.B. Shamp

July 11, 2017

B.B. Shamp is a newcomer to NFPW. She joined six months ago and she is already a national award winner. She will be attending the NFPW conference in Alabama, thanks in part to an Education Fund First Timer Grant. She says she looks forward to networking with members, attending workshops and picking up her national first place award for the adult novel she wrote. Enjoy getting to know this unique and unbelievable member.

Name: B.B. Shamp

City and State: Selbyville, Delaware, 2.5 miles from the ocean on an inland bay with 180 degree water views. Wait 10 minutes and the light changes and everything with it. I live on what’s known as the Delmarva Peninsula. Lower Delaware and the Eastern Shores of Maryland and Virginia are very rural.

B.B. Shamp

B.B. Shamp

Affiliate and any leadership positions: Delaware Press Association. I’m a newbie. Writing was not my career (except for writing educational evaluations) and a friend encouraged me to join this past year. I spent 34 years teaching H.S. special education in the Washington D.C. Metro area where I grew up. That kind of experience leaves a stamp, politically, and of course, as a social progressive.

Years a member of NFPW: 6 months

Tell us a little about you.

This is an excerpt from a press release here on the Peninsula: B.B. Shamp began writing after an accident and a near death experience in 2008. Beginning with poetry, she wrote to explore her thoughts and feelings during rehabilitation. Sustaining her in these difficult moments was the euphoric memory of seeing the white light. Despite a traumatic brain injury and being diagnosed with PTSD, she fought hard to return to her former self and in doing so discovered a new person. Never able to return to her old life, she figured that if she could write a suspense novel and lay breadcrumbs for the reader to follow, she had at least regained her voice and ability to communicate.

Her first novel, Third Haven, is the culmination of that work. “I didn’t begin with a desire to publish for a wider audience,” she said. “It was a personal journey.” She is currently working on a sequel. Asked if she has any plans to write a memoir, she responded, “That story should explore the depths of love and persistence. There are so many people I owe so much who helped me along the way. That’s going to take time.”

Any career advice you would give?

In the last five months, I’ve heard mostly how hard it is to get a publisher, how hard it is to support yourself. And I even heard from a 55 year old MFA department chair who still has student loans. All this reminds me of the Dickensian character locked in a cold garret, pouring out her soul by the light of a sputtering candle, her fingers freezing as the words are scratched across the parchment. Is the message meant to discourage anyone of a literary bent and demand they go find a REAL job? I hope NOT! The hard part, if you’re just starting out in this field is to know whether you have the knack for it. The field is so damn competitive that in my mind, the genuine response is to write because it answers some inner quest. If your real job is soul smothering, then keep writing to find your strength. I wrote to find myself. I still have moments when I’m aphasic, blank on word retrieval or experience mental whiteout. Writing gets me past it. And a good thesarus, of course!

Which talent would you most like to have?

To be a fabulous painter….in oils…dirty fingernails and the smell of linseed oil are evocative of a different world.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

Everywhere. I’d love to have a bed in every picturesque town in the world if only for two weeks.

What book are you reading?

What is Left the Daughter by Howard Norman and Jillian Sullivan’s book of poetry, Parallel.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

Dead family members make great inspiration.

Why is your affiliate and NFPW important to you?

The support, for god’s sake! Writing is such a lonely vocation and living on the Peninsula makes that even harder since you have to drive far and wide to connect with other writers.

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

http://www.bbshamp.com and on facebook as bbshamp.

Meet a Member: Marie C. Baca

June 26, 2017

Marie C. Baca will be attending her first NFPW conference this fall, thanks to a grant from the NFPW Education Fund. She will be honored Saturday evening, when she receives a national second place award in the professional communications contest. Her work has appeared in some prestigious publications and I can’t wait to learn more about her at the conference. 

Name: Marie C. Baca

City and State: Albuquerque area, New Mexico

Affiliate and any leadership positions: New Mexico Press Women

Years a member of NFPW: Joined this year

 

Marie C. Baca

Marie C. Baca

Tell us a little about you:

I’m a New Mexico-based journalist whose work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, San Francisco Chronicle, ProPublica, and Salon, among other publications. I left my job covering the economy for the Albuquerque Journal a few months ago for health reasons, though I’m hoping to return in some capacity in the near future.

I’ve spent more than 10 years writing about people on the fringes of society. I’ve profiled morgue workers, Bigfoot enthusiasts, day laborers, and the wrongfully convicted. I’ve also investigated the proliferation of toxic waste sites in poor communities and the effects of fracking on rural populations. In 2011, I contributed to a California Watch investigation that was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Local Reporting.

I hold a bachelor’s degree in human biology and a master’s degree in journalism from Stanford University. I live in the Albuquerque area with my husband, two young sons, and a vegetable garden that appears to be converting itself into an all-inclusive resort for pests.

Any career advice you would give?:

To paraphrase Sheryl Sandberg: your career may not look like a ladder. It may look more like a jungle gym, filled with lateral moves, detours, and occasional dead ends. But sometimes that’s what it takes to find fulfillment.

Which talent would you most like to have?:

The ability to be more compassionate toward myself.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?:

Some magical place that combines everything I love about all the places I’ve lived: California, New England, New York, the United Kingdom, and New Mexico.

What book are you reading?:

I just finished Jeffrey Toobin’s “American Heiress: The Wild Saga of the Kidnapping, Crimes, and Trial of Patty Hearst.” I wasn’t expecting much– I grabbed it when I needed something to read on an airplane– but it was incredibly well-written and I could hardly put it down.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?:

I once worked for a matchmaker and appeared on his reality TV show.

Why is your affiliate and NFPW important to you?:

Mentorship and community is essential for women in any industry, and is make-or-break in journalism. I’m looking forward to meeting lots of other women and finding ways to support each other on our individual journeys.

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

My Twitter handle is @mariecbaca; my website is www.mariecbaca.com.

 

Meet a Member: Mary Scott

May 17, 2017
Each year the NFPW Education Fund awards First Timer Grants covering registration costs to attend the NFPW annual conference. The grants are offered to encourage members who have never attended a conference before to participate in a conference. The first person to apply and receive a First Timer Grant this year is new member Mary Scott. She is a member of Missouri Professional Communicators. I hope everyone will take the time to get to know her now and welcome her to the conference in Alabama. Meet another unique and unbelievable member, Mary Scott.
Name: Mary Scott
City and State:  St. Louis, MO
Mary Scott

Mary Scott

Affiliate and any leadership positions:  Missouri Professional Communicators

Years a member of NFPW: one
Tell us a little about you.
My mother was “Lois Lane” and I’ve been telling stories since I was little.  Now I do it with sound and pictures in the form of video.  Wanting to go deeper, getting the “real” story, was a skill I learned early & it helped me raise 3 kids as well as get an Emmy nomination.
I really love hearing stories, particularly about new fields or women in non-traditional roles, then retelling those stories in shorter, more compelling ways for websites or social media.   I have a “backstage pass to the World” and I love using it.
Any career advice you would give?
Don’t ever say,”no” to yourself; that’s someone else’s job.
Which talent would you most like to have?  
I would love to be a lie detector.
If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
Central Park West in New York
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
I was a USO entertainer for three months after college.
I brought my 22 hour old baby to a Board of Education meeting in 1985.
Why is your affiliate and NFPW important to you?
Women look at things differently, and talking with each other broadens the picture even more.  I love getting new insights from other journalists here.
Way to follow you on a website, twitter, Facebook, etc.

Meet a Member: Stephanie Geery-Zink

April 20, 2017

Stephanie Geery-Zink was one of the organizers of the 2011 NFPW conference hosted in Nebraska and Iowa. It was a family affair with her talented family joining to help with the celebration. She is a hard working professional and enjoys sharing her talents with others. Enjoy getting to know this talented, unique and unbelievable member of NFPW.

Name: Stephanie Geery-Zink

City and State: Lincoln, Nebraska

Stephanie Geery-Zink

Stephanie Geery-Zink

Affiliate and any leadership positions: Nebraska Press Women. I have served as president, past president, vice president, treasurer, secretary and Legislative/First Amendment (not necessarily in that order!). Helped organize the 2011 NFPW Conference in Council Bluffs/Omaha. I am taking a break from the NPW Board after serving for 16 years, but as a former treasurer I serve on the Finance Committee.

Years a member of NFPW: 19

Tell us a little about you.

I was a journalist from 1991-2009, worked in public relations, then made a jump to nonprofit work as a communications coordinator, and as a development director (fundraising) for Lincoln Community Playhouse for the past five and a half years.

My husband and I have been married for 23 years. Our daughter Schuyler is in her second year at the University of Nebraska College of Law (Class of 2018), specializing in international human rights and national security law. Daughter Keelin is a senior at University of Nebraska High School.

Any career advice you would give?

Keep your options open! You never know where life might take you, so be ready for any eventuality and pay attention to possible career changes. I could have never imagined when I was in the midst of my journalism career that I’d end up working in nonprofits, especially as a fundraiser but it has turned out to be a rewarding career change that draws heavily on my journalism and NPW/NFPW experiences.

Family members from left, Keelin Geery-Zink, Roger Geery, Schuyler Geery-Zink and Stephanie Geery-Zink

Family members from left, Keelin Geery-Zink, Roger Geery, Schuyler Geery-Zink and Stephanie Geery-Zink

Which talent would you most like to have?

My organizational skills are okay, but I could be much better at motivating myself to get more organized. My superpower choice would be never-ending energy.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

I’m pretty happy where I live now, but would love to be able to travel especially in Great Britain, Ireland and France.

What book are you reading?

“Quitter (closing the gap between your day job and your dream job)” by Jon Acuff and “Reimagining Equality: Stories of Gender, Race, and Finding Home” by Anita Hill (yes, a book I picked up at the Arizona NFPW Conference in 2012, finally getting around to reading it!).

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

I was scared of dogs all my life. Until Winston, an apricot toy poodle, entered my life almost three years ago. He was supposed to be Keelin’s dog, but we latched on to each other and are inseparable. Now I need to pet all the dogs. I am still a cat person too!

Why is your affiliate and NFPW important to you?

NPW has provided me with important career and leadership experience through serving as an officer of the organization and organizing conferences (special events planning). I have also made some incredible friendships.

Way to follow you on a website, twitter, Facebook, etc. I’m on Facebook! A lot!

Meet a Member: Natalie Hoefer

March 22, 2017

Natalie Hoefer is one of the newest members of both Woman’s Press Club of Indiana and NFPW.  She was one of the 13 members attending their first NFPW conference last fall in Kansas, thanks in part to an NFPW Education Fund First Timer Grant. Hoefer is a great addition to our organization. I hope you enjoy getting to know her a little better.

Natalie Hoefer

Name: Natalie Hoefer

City and State: Indianapolis, IN

Affiliate and any leadership positions: Woman’s Press Club of Indiana

Years a member of NFPW: 1

Tell us a little about you.

I am a Catholic who loves my faith. I have a passion for telling people’s stories and sharing information. I love to travel, and I have a gift for writing. So what more perfect job could there be for me than to be a reporter for a Catholic newspaper (The Criterion, the weekly paper for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis)! My job combines all of my interests and passions, including travel–the Archdiocese of Indianapolis encompasses almost the entire southern half of Indiana, covering 39 beautiful counties that I enjoy driving through to meet people with interesting stories to tell. I’ve been a reporter for the paper for four years.

For 21 years prior I was a software trainer but freelanced on the side. That career provided me with lots of travel and the joy of helping/teaching others, but nothing has ever been more fulfilling to me than what I’m doing now!

Demographically, I’m 47, married for a little over 9 years, and have the most adorable gray, blue-green eyed kitty named Percy who is attacking a milk jug ring around my feet as I type.

Natalie Hoefer and Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, former archbishop of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.

Natalie Hoefer and Cardinal Joseph W. Tobin, former archbishop of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.

Any career advice you would give?

To young women: For any career you think you might be interested in, make connections young. Call someone in the line of work you’re interested in and ask to shadow them for a day, or at least ask for a bit of their time to discuss what a day-in-the-life is like for them, what skills are needed for the job, what education is needed for the job, what character traits are handy for the job, and how to best prepare for the career in question. For “more experienced” women, it’s never too late to change careers. I did, and I’m forever grateful!

Which talent would you most like to have?

I’ve got it–writing! 🙂  Otherwise, I do wish I could sing as well in the rest of the world as I do when I’m in the shower!

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

I really like it right here in Indiana–four full and beautiful seasons. I actually like the life and symmetry of fields, as well as the undulation of hills–both of which Indiana is blessed with.

What book are you reading?

Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asberger’s by John Elder Robison (my oldest nephew has Asberger’s)

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

I’m a major introvert! I love meeting new people and can be very animated, so people are quite surprised when I say that I’m a huge introvert. Meyers-Brigg defines that as whether you are energized by people or need downtime after being around people. After being around people for awhile, I need to retreat and re-energize in solitude.

Why is your affiliate and NFPW important to you?

WPCI (and NFPW) is more than a professional group good for networking and career assistance. That’s why I joined, but I found that these are women who care about each other and support each other in their careers and their personal lives. I did not expect such a sisterhood when I joined!

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

http://www.archindy.org/criterion