Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ category

Meet a Member: Miriam Wagoner

November 7, 2018

Several people attended their first NFPW conference this fall in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. New Alaska member Miriam Wagoner attended her first conference and was honored as a contest winner in the national communications contest. She is an enthusiastic member who seemed to enjoy every minute of the conference. She made the conference even more fun. It is wonderful to have fun new members join our organization. I hope you enjoy getting to know her even better.

Name: Miriam Wagoner

City and State:  Juneau, Alaska

Miriam Wagoner

Miriam Wagoner

Affiliate and any leadership positions: Alaska (Alaska Professional Communicators), new member this year

Years a member of NFPW: Just this year

Tell us a little about you.

I’ve been living in Alaska’s capital city, Juneau since 2000. In the Philippines where I was born, what would wake me up in the morning were the rays of the sun penetrating the walls made of coconut leaves. Here in Alaska during winter, it’s the glitter of icicles hanging in the trees outside my window that wakes me up.

I’ve always been fascinated with words. Having English as my second language did not stop me from writing and publishing my poems.  The detachment from the world while living in a transitional housing for domestic violence survivors didn’t hinder me from achieving my goals. It turned, for me, as an opportunity to be more creative. It inspired me to title my self-published book this, “A Poem Book From My Kaasei Nook To The World,” a 2018 NFPW award winner.

Any career advice you would give? 

Even if you leave your dream, it will never leave you.

Always believe in yourself even if it feels you’re the only one that does that. That’s all it requires. And, never ever give up! You can turn your adversities to opportunities.

Which talent would you most like to have?

Fly to the moon.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

Every state of our country and be able to conclude on the differences (climate, culture, people, economies, politics)

Miriam Wagoner in her "Kodak moment" pose.

Miriam Wagoner in her “Kodak moment” pose.

What book are you reading?

I was unpacking today old books from storage I rented 3 years ago. It was hard to finish the task as I ended up reading.

Among the books i currently read: How Immigrants Contributed To Our Culture, Dignity, World’s Best Speeches. It was fun reading the book today featuring children’s letters to God. I slowly and curiously read the 3 volumes of cyclopedia from 1874-77.

As I continue to write my memoir, I have more books to read for reference purposes.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

That one of my biggest accomplishments this year is as mother of one of 15 students chosen to represent the United States in Japan through her martial arts. My daughter serves as ambassador to Japan through project  Kakeehashi, which means “bridge.”

Why is your affiliate and NFPW important to you?

It gives me an opportunity to:

-grow more professionally as artist, writer, and press woman,

-expand my network through conferences and other events offered

-share my work and receive feedback through contests (and the chance to be awarded in state and/or national level, beneficial also for branding as author and publisher),

-promote and market my book

-see other places in U.S.

-be friends with the awesome women and men of NFPW

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

Facebook: @MiriamWagonerAuthor

Twitter:MiriamWagoner1

Website: miriamwagonerauthor. com (to be updated

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 – https://journeyingwithsallierose.blogspot.com (mainly an anthology of my columns).

Meet a Member: Karen Rhodes

July 24, 2018

One of the outstanding members of the Media Women of South Carolina affiliate is  Karen Rhodes. She helped organize the wonderful 2014 NFPW conference in South Carolina. She currently does a great job as the director of the MWSC professional communications contest. She is another unique and unbelievable NFPW member and I hope you enjoy getting to know her a little better. 

Name: Karen Brower Rhodes

City and State: Spartanburg, S.C.

Karen Rhodes

Karen Rhodes

Affiliate and any leadership positions: Media Women of South Carolina. Currently serve as treasurer and state Communications Contest director. Served on planning committee for 2014 NFPW Conference in Greenville, S.C. and named MWSC’s 2005 Communicator of Achievement.

Years a member of NFPW: 16 (since 2002)

Tell us a little about you.

As director of public relations at Sherman College of Chiropractic, I handle public relations, media relations, marketing, advertising, social media and communications for one of the nation’s 18 chiropractic colleges. It’s a fun job with quite a bit of variety. One day I might be writing feature stories or news releases, and the next day I might be designing the alumni magazine or drafting an email to prospective students. I recently joined the Office of Institutional Advancement, so I’ve learned quite a bit about fundraising, donor relations and more.

Locally, I am involved with our NFPW state affiliate, Media Women of South Carolina. I serve as vice chair of the board for Safe Homes / Rape Crisis Coalition, and I am on the board of directors of the College News Association of the Carolinas. I’m active with the Spartanburg Chamber of Commerce and serve on one of its #OneSpartanburg Action Teams.

I graduated twice from Gardner-Webb University, the first time in 1998 with a B.A. majoring in communication studies with a minor in English, and the second time in 2005 with an M.B.A. and a concentration in health care management. My husband, Zach, and I have one daughter, Laney, who is 12 and keeps us entertained daily. We love to watch movies together. For fun, I take a tap class at a local dance studio.

Karen Rhodes, right, with other Media Women of South Carolina members at the 2014 conference the group hosted.

Karen Rhodes with other Media Women of South Carolina members at the 2014 conference the group hosted.

Any career advice you would give?

Always look for ways to learn. Professional development is a great way to build your skills and show your value to an organization. Even if you can’t attend many formal programs, simply having lunch with colleagues can be a great way to share ideas, learn something new and make powerful connections.

Which talent would you most like to have?

I would love to have an inherent sense for cooking. I love to bake (I actually enjoy the precision and all the measuring), but I just don’t have the ability to put a dish together with “a little of this” or “until it tastes right.”

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

I have to say, I really love Spartanburg and its energy these days. The downtown expansion, the arts and educational communities, and the dedication to making it the best possible place to live really keep me inspired here. If I had to leave, I would go all out and move to Italy.

What book are you reading?

I love a good thriller. I just finished The Secret Room by Sandra Block and I’m now reading The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult. I don’t read much nonfiction, but I have to say, the best book I read last year was Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

I’m a recovering “crazy couponer” and love to chase down a good deal! I once wrote a regular couponing/money-saving column in our local newspaper. Along with two friends and partners, I co-owned Saving in Spartanburg, an organization aimed at helping shoppers save money. We taught couponing classes, maintained a blog and shared tips on budgeting. We still have an active Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/SavingInSpartanburg).

Why is your affiliate and NFPW important to you?

Media Women of South Carolina is a small but powerful group of women in a variety of professions with a shared passion for communications and First Amendment rights. I always learn something when we get together. They are inspiring women, and I am honored to call them colleagues and friends. NFPW provides wonderful programs, an opportunity to have your work recognized through the national Communications Contest and, most importantly, a network of women who share similar passions and professional values.

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

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/karenrhodes/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kayranr3/

Facebook: Karen Brower Rhodes (send me a friend request)

Meet a Member: Carolyn Carlson

June 26, 2018

I got to know Carolyn Carlson during this years NFPW communications contest. She did a great job with the New Mexico Press Women’s contest and many New Mexico entries advanced to the national level. She was dependable and great to work with. I hope you enjoy getting to know this awesome member as much as I did.

Name: Carolyn Theresa Bernice Carlson

City and State: Albuquerque, New Mexico

Since she works as a private investigator, this is the photo uses when asked for her photograph.

Since she works as a private investigator, this is the photo Carolyn Carlson uses when asked for her photograph.

Affiliate and any leadership positions: Curently freelance journalist with the Weekly Alibi, the alternative weekly print newspaper. Board member Media Arts Collaborative Charter School; communications contest chair New Mexico Press Women and executive director of Citizen Media Group.

Years a member of NFPW: On and off for the last 28 or so years.

Tell us a little about you.

I have been in journalism for over 25 years, starting out covering high school sports and small town community news in Central New Mexico. After a couple of years and a precedent setting court case, I became the publisher and owner of The Estancia Valley/Torrance County Citizen, a decades old, established weekly community newspaper covering several New Mexico counties. In an unusual move for a journalist, I also have been an elected public official served on the Estancia Town Council from 1995 to 2000. I made the decision to close the Citizen in 1999 and sold its subscription list to the Albuquerque Journal who was setting up a weekly edition in the area.

I then went to work at our state’s biggest daily paper as its first, and to my knowledge, only sitting elected official to also work as a journalist. I covered cops, crime, courts and government.  In 2008, I left the Journal to work as a freelance journalist and as a legal investigator for a civil rights attorney in order to get to my private investigator license. I currently work as an independent private investigator and write for the local alternative weekly paper.

Any career advice you would give?

Listen more than you talk. Be brave. Ask the next hard question.

Which talent would you most like to have?

Musical talents – I would love to play the piano, cello and guitar.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

While I would love to visit many places, I only want to live in New Mexico and among its diverse, eclectic, inspiring ancient Native American, Hispanic and Anglo cultures that live happily together.

What book are you reading?

Get Well Soon by Jennifer Wright and Downfall by J.A. Jance

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

I am the mother of an adult opiate addict. My oldest son is in prison for drug related charges after developing an opiate addiction to pain pills after a high school wrestling injury. Our family is in year 15 of his rough journey.

Why is your affiliate and NFPW important to you?

The state, local and national chapters foster and encourage writers of all genres. And all of the media, the free press and factual words of all types are ever so important in these weird political times.

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

Twitter is Carolina217 and my Facebook is not a public page. And folks can follow my awesome, award winning Alibi articles here:

https://alibi.com/news/55985/Balloons-and-Biology.html

Meet a Member: Viv Sade

June 13, 2018

One of the advantages of helping run the NFPW professional communications contest is getting to work with outstanding affiliate contest directors. Viv Sade was the co-director for the Indiana contest and it was great working with her. I took a look at her contest entry and found she is an outstanding writer as well. I hope you enjoy getting to know her a little better. 

Name: Vivian “Viv” Sade

City and State: Churubusco, IN

Viv Sade

Viv Sade

Affiliate and any leadership positions: Indiana, WPCI current president and co-chair for Communications Contest

Years a member of NFPW: Since 1996 – 22 years

Tell us a little about you.

She is a 25-plus-year newspaper journalist who worked for various newspapers throughout northeast Indiana, including the Auburn Star, Churubusco News and the Journal Gazette. She now enjoys freelancing at home where she writes in her pajamas and eschews deadlines. She has a blended family of six children and a gaggle of grandchildren whom she indulges and caters to while their parents aren’t looking. Her lifetime goal is to find shoes to match the bags under her eyes.

Any career advice you would give?

Get to know and make friends with co-workers or managers or anyone else whose work you admire – – that way you can learn from the best. That kind of guidance and support will prove invaluable in career in the long run. And, never lose your sense of humor and don’t be too hard on yourself.

Which talent would you most like to have?

Talent? To be a gifted musician – – Super power? To have super eyelids with the ability to make unpleasant human beings vanish.

Viv Sade

Viv Sade

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

Belize or Bali – Never been there, but I am mesmerized by the photos

What book are you reading?

Two right now: “If You Lean In, Will Men Just Look Down Your Blouse?” a hilarious book by Gina Barreca, one of my favorite columnists, and “A Train in Winter,” by Caroline Moorehead, about the women who banded together in the French Resistance during WWII.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

I am completely stumped on this one. Maybe that I am not always hyper and in what my husband calls “frenzy mode.” I sometimes host a pity party for ME, not getting out of my jammies, eating Cheetos and DeBrand chocolates in bed, and crying while re-watching “The Way We Were” and marathons of “My 600 Pound Life” for 12 or 15 hours in a row. It is soul-cleansing and I am happy and good to go for another five or six months.

Why is your affiliate and NFPW important to you?

This is an easy one. The women I have met and am still meeting are so admirable and extraordinary and very accomplished. I am in awe of them. (See above where I advise young writers to get close to people like these because they can learn so much.) And they are not just my colleagues – they are my lifelong, dear friends.

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

Viv Sade on Facebook; blogs include Visit Fort Wayne (https://www.visitfortwayne.com/blog/post/fort-wayne-weekend-itinerary/), Scribbles by Viv (https://scribblesbyviv.me), and I am currently working on launching a blog called Vintage Chicks Counsel, where I plan to have advice, quotes and tips from all the wise women in my life.

Meet a Member: Sunni Brown

June 1, 2018

Sunni Brown has only been a member of NFPW for two years, but she is one who immediately jumps in and gets involved. She is active in Virginia Professional Communicators and has worked to promote her affiliate and NFPW. Her boss, Cynthia Price, is always singing her praises for all her efforts. Sunni is a talented professional and a great asset to both organizations. Take time to get to know this unique and unbelievable NFPW member.

Sunni Brown

Sunni Brown

Name: Sunni Brown

City and State: Richmond, Virginia (originally from West Jefferson, NC)

Affiliate and any leadership positions: Virginia Professional Communicators, Social Media and Website Manager

Years a member of NFPW: 2

Tell us a little about you.

I am a mother, wife and communications professional. I graduated from Emory & Henry College in Southwest Virginia, and almost immediately entered the career world of TV news. I worked at an NBC affiliate in Bristol, VA/TN for almost three years as a producer, assignment editor, videographer and reporter. I then moved to Richmond, Virginia for a job at the NBC affiliate here. I worked at NBC 12 for five years as a reporter and anchor, primarily on the morning show. Due to the grueling schedule of broadcast journalism, I decided to switch things up and pursue a job in media and public relations. I worked at the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles as the media spokesperson for three years. Since 2014, I have worked at the University of Richmond as the assistant director of media and public relations. Working closely with the STEM majors out of the School of Arts and Sciences and Richmond School of Law, I pride myself on communicating complex information in a way that is easy for anyone to understand. My efforts have resulted in placements in The New York Times, National Geographic, Voice of America and more.

Personally, my husband Travis and I have been married for nearly 9 years, and we have four children ages 6 and under – three boys – Bonnar (6) and twin boys Sully and Cooper (2) and one girl – Gigi (4).

I recently received my Master of Liberal Arts degree from the University of Richmond School of Professional and Continuing Studies.

Any career advice you would give?

Search out opportunities outside of your day to day responsibilities to advance your skills. For example, in my day to day job, I don’t do a ton of web and social media work. It’s a minimal part of my job; however, I know that down the road as I’m looking for career advancement, I know those skills will be important. It’s one of the things I love about being part of VPC. In serving as the web and social media manager, I am gaining invaluable skills. Most recently, I was able to figure out how to run our spring conference registration, including connecting it to PayPal, through our website for free!

Sunni Brown, left, sporting her Spider Proud shirt with Cynthia Price, her boss, who introduced her to VPC, and Lindsey Campbell, right.

Sunni Brown, left, sporting her Spider Proud shirt with Cynthia Price, who introduced her to VPC, and Lindsey Campbell, right.

Which talent would you most like to have?

Singing – hands down! I love to sing, but I can’t. I really wanted to be a country music star.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

San Francisco. It’s my favorite city – and the weather is so nice!

What book are you reading?

I just finished reading “A Man Called Ove.” It was delightful.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

I love pulling this one out of my pocket at parties or for icebreaker games at networking events. I’m a virtual seismologist. As part of my graduate program, I took a science seminar on natural disasters, and one of the things we had to do was learn about predicting earthquakes. It was fascinating.

Why is your affiliate and NFPW important to you?

Being part of VPC and NFPW for only a few years has already allowed me to grow my professional skills, make professional connections and gain new friends. I love that the organizations are so diverse with writers, PR professionals, journalists and more.

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

@SunniBBrown

 

Meet a Member: Jo Ann Mathews

May 21, 2018

Jo Ann Mathews is another outstanding long-time member of National Federation of Press Women. She is an outstanding writer. She is a dedicated member. Enjoy getting to know this unique and unbelievable NFPW member.

Name: Jo Ann Mathews

City and State: Ocean Isle Beach, NC

Jo Ann Mathews

Jo Ann Mathews

Affiliate and any leadership positions:  North Carolina Press Club

Years a member of NFPW: 30

Tell us a little about you.

Currently, I write feature stories for The Sun News in Myrtle Beach, SC and for North Brunswick Magazine and South Brunswick Magazine in Brunswick County where I live. I majored in English and minored in Spanish and education at University of St. Francis in Joliet, IL, where I grew up. I taught English full time until I had children (two sons) then taught English and Spanish part time and did freelance writing. After our youngest son graduated from college, I quit teaching and put all my time into writing. We moved to North Carolina 18 years ago because my husband, Steve, wanted to live on a golf course. I don’t golf. I write!

I have a blog “ Women and Adversity,” which tells of challenges noted women–living, deceased and fictional characters–have overcome, most of whom are writers.

Any career advice you would give? 

Know your skills and hone them.

Jo Ann Mathews, right, visits with friends Gwen White, left, and Cindy Cruz-Mullee at the 2017 NFPW conference in Alabama.

Jo Ann Mathews, right, visits with friends Gwen White, left, and Cindy Cruz-Mullee at the 2017 NFPW conference in Alabama.

Which talent would you most like to have?

As far as writing: saying the most in the fewest number of words; As far as other talents: I’d love to play the piano, the new and old hits. I’ve tried. I’m not going to be featured on any talent show. I also am trying to knit. Ha, ha, ha! I can crochet, though!

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

Right where I am.

What book are you reading?

Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women and James Comey’s A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership. I have three more on my shelf waiting to be read.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

I have never tried or taken any illegal drugs, but I am in favor of legalizing marijuana/cannabis and releasing prisoners who are serving time for its possession.

Why is your affiliate and NFPW important to you?

The late Joanne Zerkel made me aware of Illinois Woman’s Press Association and NFPW. I met wonderful people through both organizations and learned to improve my writing.

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

My website is http://www.jamathews.com, Twitter: https://twitter.com/joann_mathews, Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/joann.mathews.9; Blog: jamathews.com/blog. (I am on LInkedIn but don’t really follow it  because often posts are outdated.)

Meet a Member: Tommy Simmons

April 9, 2018

I first became aware Tommy Simmons is a food expert on the 2017 NFPW Alabama conferece pre-tour. She was on the tour and it was fun to have a food expert share comments on the different dishes as the group shared meals on the trip. She spent many years as a food columnist in Louisiana and enjoys reviewing restaurant food. Last fall her expertise was recognized when she was named the 2017 recipient of the Grace ‘Mama’ Marino Llfetime Culinary Achievement Award by the Baton Rouge Epicurean Society. Meet this unique and unbelievable NFPW member.

Name: Tommy Collier Simmons

Hometown: Waleska, Georgia

Affiliate: At large member since 2011. Former member and a past state president of Louisiana Press Women.

Tommy Simmons receiving Grace Mama Marino Llfetime Culinary Achievement Award.

Tommy Simmons receiving the 2017 Grace Mama Marino Llfetime Culinary Achievement Award.

 

Tell Us a Little About You:

I loved my journalist career which encompassed freelance business and technical writing, producing legislative position papers and an employee newsletter for the East Baton Rouge School Board and working for more than 40 years for the Baton Rouge morning and afternoon newspapers. I thank two high school journalism teachers for introducing me to newspaper writing and the multi-faceted communication opportunities available in journalism. If you are a current communications or journalism teacher, bravo and keep encouraging student communicators.

 

Upon retiring as an award-winning food editor from The Advocate newspaper in 2011, my husband, David, and I moved to Waleska, a small college town in north Georgia. Our new resort community, with lake, golf course, tennis, swimming, clubhouse, etc., puts us about 45 minutes from two of our grandchildren, who live in Marietta, GA, and 2 hours from the Atlanta airport, which easily connects us to two more grandchildren in Dallas, TX. We do miss extended family, friends and the food in Louisiana, but are enjoying our new home in the Appalachian mountain foothills.

I currently write two freelance columns a month, one on what to cook from the garden for a gardening e-newsletter published by GardenSmart.tv, and a recipe-focused column for our neighborhood magazine.

I’m curious about social media, saddened at the decline of daily newspapers and proud of NFPW’s continuing evolution as an organization for professional development and defender of “Freedom of the Press.”

Any advice to share:

I have three words of advice for new journalists:

1. Learn to listen to the people you interview and work with.

2. Try to keep up with changes in your field. Staying active in professional organizations such as NFPW supports this effort.

3. Know yourself and your situation. If you value flex time and need to be the parent picking up the kids or assisting with eldercare, don’t over extend either at work or in your personal life. I think point 3 is difficult to grasp for talented, ambitious women and men, who want to do everything – to have it all. But, I’ve seen too many unhappy people in our work, who sacrificed their well-being in not realizing there are practical limitations on how many hours can be spent at work when you have home and personal obligations as well.

What book are you reading?

I read quick-read cozy mysteries on my Kindle and am commencing a read-through study of The Bible and “Science & Health” by Mary Baker Eddy.

Ways to follow you on social media:

Tommy Simmons on Facebook

 

Meet a Member: Priscilla Owings-Chansky

March 27, 2018

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.

Meet a Member: Meredith Cummings

January 16, 2018
When you talk about amazing NFPW members, remember the name Meredith Cummings. She just completed a term as president of Alabama Media Professionals. She also spent six months in 2017 traveling 10,000 miles by car to chronicle American Journalism. The University of Alabama named her an Innovation Scholar in Residence so she could chronicle journalism for her #followmylede project. She has written an outstanding blog about her adventures (see link below). She is another unique and unbelievable NFPW member.
Name: Meredith Cummings
 
Meredith Cummings in her office at University of Alabama.

Meredith Cummings in her office at University of Alabama

City and State: Tuscaloosa, Alabama

 
Affiliate and any leadership positions: Alabama Media Professionals, immediate past president of AMP
 
Tell us a little about you.
For over 20 years I’ve worked in print, web, and multimedia reporting. I now teach at the University of Alabama in the Department of Journalism and Creative Media where I supervise production for our WVUA-TV newsroom and coordinate our JCM social media. I am a freelance journalist and immediate past president of the Society of Professional Journalists Alabama Chapter. I currently write for al.com and Medium, among other publications. My passions are the three non profit groups I direct, the National Elementary Schools Press Association as well as the Alabama Scholastic Press Association and the Multicultural Journalism Program. Both groups help K-12 students create better journalism in all of its forms. I have four cats (yes I’m that lady) and one daughter, Isabel, 15. I’m also just realizing that I told you about my cats before my child, so there’s that. 
Any career advice you would give? 
Be open to any possibility. If anyone had told me when I entered college that I would be a journalist, I would have laughed at them, then slapped them silly. I was too shy to talk to strangers and never wanted to be a reporter. Boy, things can change.
 
Which talent would you most like to have? 
I would love to be one of those talented people who can easily speak multiple languages. Sadly, I’ve just never been great at picking up other languages without tons and tons of work and studying.
 
Meredith Cummings with Big Al. Roll Ride, y'all

Meredith Cummings with Big Al. Roll Tide, y’all

If you could live anywhere, where would it be? 

Sweet home, Alabama. I love the South.
 
What book are you reading? 
Barbarian Days is an incredible book about surfing without really being about surfing. (It should be noted that I have no interest in surfing. That’s how good this book is.) It’s written by William Finnegan, a staff writer at The New Yorker, and is possibly one of the most well-written books I’ve ever read. I listened to it on Audible and loved it so much I’m reading it now. His ability to use language is astounding. I’m also reading journalist Ariel Levy’s new book, The Rules Do Not Apply, which is incredible so far.
 
Meredith Cummings with Kermit

Meredith Cummings with Kermit

What would people be surprised to learn about you? 

I love The Muppets (Kermit started as a broadcast reporter, don’t forget.) I can twirl fire batons. I collect PEZ dispensers. I recently completed one of the things I’m most proud of ever: My Follow My Lede Project that took me to newsrooms around the country. I road tripped 10,000 miles to chronicle journalism in America in 2017. Now I need a book publisher. Any takers? 
 
Why are organizations like NFPW important? 
I love NFPW because the members inspire me. I participate in NFPW as well as the Society of Professional Journalists because I meet such talented people who are not afraid to help me learn. I feel comfortable asking them questions (imagine that – a journalist asking questions!) without needing to apologize for my deficiencies. We’re all in it together to help each other learn.
 
Way to follow you on a website, twitter, Facebook, etc. 
I am @merecummings on all social media and blog for al.com as well as Medium.