Posted tagged ‘AGENDA’

Meet a Member: Mary Pat Finn-Hoag

September 30, 2015

I always look forward to seeing Mary Pat Finn-Hoag at NFPW conferences. Mary Pat and others from Nebraska are special friends I enjoy seeing each year. She is a dedicated member of both NFPW and Nebraska Press Women and is always willing to help out and share her talents. She is a talented writer and you can always count on her to help out and get a job done. She is another unique and unbelievable NFPW member I am honored to call a friend.

Name: Mary Pat Finn-Hoag

Hometown: Norfolk, Nebraska

Mary Pat Hoag, right,

Mary Pat Finn-Hoag, right, has written numerous stories with foreign ties. Her latest was on Rochelle Holm, who is coordinating a water and sanitization project Malawi. Holm is shown holding her 18 month old daughter, Mphatso.

Affiliate and leadership positions:

I am a proud member of the Nebraska Press Women and am currently serving as historian. I am a past vice president and have served on various committees and coordinated two state conventions in Norfolk.

Years a member of NFPW:

I’’ve been a member since 7-7-77; am I lucky or what! My regret is that I didn’’t join several years earlier.

Tell us a little bit about you.

I grew up on a Wayne County farm that’’s been in our family since 1906. I ha’ve always loved to read and was “reading” newspapers before I could read. My fourth-grade country school teacher told me: “You can write.” I incredulously answered: “I can?”

I graduated from Wayne State College (a 12-mile pickup drive from home) in December 1972, its first graduate with the journalism-broadcasting double major. I also earned a teaching degree.

I landed a newspaper job before a teaching job — and I’’m now in my 43rd year at the Norfolk Daily News, a family-owned newspaper for more than 125 years. I worked on the national Livestock Market Digest staff for four years before landing the agricultural editor’’s position. I am also in my second long stint as youth editor. I’’ve done general reporting (on almost every subject), plus photography, almost since day one.


Always helping a friend, Mary Pat Finn-Hoag, right, snaps a picture of Lori Potter at the 2014 NFPW conference in South Carolina.

Any career advice?

Continue to learn. Read, read, read. Hone your skills; attend workshops. Be involved in professional organizations. Go the extra mile. Be a team player. Treat everyone with respect. Give praise to others. Use your God-given talents. Maintain high standards.

What talent would you most like to have?

As a teen, my early career ideas were livestock judge, veterinarian or artist. Then I wanted to be a disc jockey. I later thought I woul’d farm full time and do free-lance work on the side. I love art and would love to be more artistic; I have creativity inside wanting to spill out.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

Norfolk — and Nebraska — are great places to call home (I’’m not a big-city girl), but I love to travel. I’’ve enjoyed discovering the cities scattered across the country where the NFPW conferences have been conducted. I love mountains, beaches and nature. I’’d like roots but freedom to explore wherever my heart leads me.

What book are you reading?

Prior to the Alaska conference I was delving into a stack of travel information on Alaska. I usually have several books in the works; I gravitate almost entirely to non-fiction. My current reads include “Eighty-One Seconds” by LaRayne Topp (personal accounts by victims of the multiple tornadoes that struck this immediate area in June 2014); “The Land of Milk and Uncle Honey” by Alan Guebert, a nationally syndicated ag columnist who recently spoke in Norfolk; and “My Life with the Saints” by James Martin. I have been a “magazine-aholic” since childhood and subscribe to “too many,” but I love mags and keeping up on many topics.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

My high school English teacher said women don’’t go into broadcasting. My guidance counselor said I should work in a factory (since I was fast on office machines) and not go to college. My parents were college educated and all eight of their children would — and did — go to college. My proudest moment in life was graduating from college in 2.5 years (trimester plan), ranking third academically in my class.

Why is your affiliate and NFPW important to you?

I love the “sisterhood,” the networking, the educational workshops, and look forward to the state and national conferences each year. Membership in NPW and NFPW has been one of the wisest investments of my life!

Ways to follow you:

I am not a “techy” and not an avid social media user. My home email is, and I’’m on Facebook (marypat hoag).


Meet a Member: Jane Newton Henry

September 17, 2015

At the NFPW conference this year in Alaska, Jane Newton Henry was taking notes and gathering ideas as she prepares to be the co-chairman of the 2017 NFPW conference in Alabama. This long-time member is a devoted member of the Alabama affiliate and is looking forward to showing off her home state in 2017. Jane and her co-chair, Elaine Hobson Miller, are hard at work to highlight the area’s hospitality and charm. Jane is a dedicated and devoted member of NFPW. Meet this hard working, unique and unbelievable NFPW member I am pleased to call a friend.

Jane Newton Hnery

Jane Newton Henry

Name: Jane Newton Henry

City and State: Leeds, Alabama

Affiliate and any leadership positions:

I have held a variety of leadership positions in Alabama Media Professionals (AMP), including serving as president from 1982 to 1986. I was named AMP’s Communicator of Achievement in 1993. I currently serve as co-chairman for the 2017 NFPW Conference in Birmingham, Ala.

Years a member of NFPW: 34

Tell us a little about you.

I worked in corporate public relations at Alabama Power Co. in Birmingham for 24 years as a writer and editor and later as manager of internal communications and video production. After I retired 10 years ago, I worked as an adjunct instructor at the University of Alabama and at Samford University. I now work as a freelance writer. I am a regular contributor to the magazine “Discover (the Essence of St. Clair County)”. I collaborated with Pat Hall, the Leeds, Ala., city historian, to write ”Leeds,” an Arcadia Press book about the history of Leeds. The book was published in 2012.

In addition to freelancing, I write the blog “MS with a Southern accent” to help educate the public about multiple sclerosis, a medical condition of which we know neither the cause nor cure. After being diagnosed with MS in 1998, I have volunteered with the Alabama chapter of the National MS Society; I raise money to provide services to others with MS and fund research to find a cure. My other interests include belonging to a book club, and volunteering in my community.

Any career advice you would give?

Learn how to write well and fast. Choose a career path that you love. Work hard, but balance work with your home life. Give back to your community.

Jane Newton Henry, left, with Marianne Wolf-Astrauskas at the NFPW conference in Alaska.

Jane Newton Henry, left, with Marianne Wolf-Astrauskas at the NFPW conference in Alaska.

Which talent would you most like to have?

I would like to be able to make pottery on a pottery wheel.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

The Pacific Northwest.

What book are you reading?

“A God in Ruins” by Kate Atkinson

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

My undergraduate degree is in music (piano).

Why is your affiliate and NFPW important to you?

I appreciate the friends I have made and the support I receive from others in the state affiliate and national organizations. The professional-development opportunities have been helpful in honing my skills and keeping up with changes in the industry. And I have enjoyed the travel associated with NFPW conferences.

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

My blog:

My website:

My Facebook page:

North Carolina’s Gwen White spends career serving NFPW, others

January 19, 2015

The late Louise Shadduck was a role model for Media Network Idaho members. She was the first member from Idaho to serve as NFPW president and was known to many as the Lioness of Idaho. One of her dear friends was Gwen White of North Carolina who took the time, at Louise’s request, to spend a weekend with us at an Idaho conference while Gwen was NFPW president. I was impressed with Gwen then and I continue to look up to her today. Through the years I have enjoyed catching up with her at national conferences and learning about all the outstanding activities she continues to support. Meet this unique, unbelievable and dedicated NFPW member.

Name: Gwen Armstrong Whitegwens_pix

City and State: Lived in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina for 36 of my 46-year married career. When my husband, Rhett, retired and took another job we moved inland 40 miles to our childhood area in Columbia, N.C.

Affiliate and leadership: I am a charter member of the NC Press Club that chartered as Press Women of North Carolina. I believe that was 1978. I have served as president of that affiliate four times and currently serve as the treasurer. I have been active on the national level from the time I attended my first convention in the early 1980’s. I served as the national communications contest chairman for 25 years before stepping aside to let the newer generation take it into the digital age. I am very proud of the job they are doing with it.

I served NFPW by serving as each of the vice presidents and rose to the presidency in 1993. Even though I am not in any leadership role on the national level I still attend all conventions and enjoy the great fellowship and friendships I have made.

Tell us a little about you:

I have been a journalist, and am now a non-profit executive director, an event manager, humorist and motivational speaker. I worked for a daily paper for 17 years and 10 years in weekly and twice a week newspapers. I began my speaking career when I first took the stage as a teenage 4-H’er and have never stopped. I have addressed audiences in all 50 states and seven countries.

I direct the North Carolina Lions annual Visually Impaired Person’s fishing tournament for more than 500 blind and visually

Gwen White with a young blind man who had won a trophy for catching a big fish at a Lions event. She says I was her pleasure to  grant his request to meet her.

Gwen White with a young blind man who had won a trophy for catching a big fish at a Lions event. She says it was her pleasure to meet him.

impaired people and guests. I was installed as Lions District Governor in Australia in 2010.  My honors are many but my highest honor is being named the Ambassador of Good Will for Lions where I was one of only 40 out of 1.3 million Lions in 208 countries who received the honor.

Career advice:

I’d say whatever career you choose or end up in, make sure you have a good time, look for the positives, have fun and mentor younger people. I love the communications field.

What talent would you like to have:

As for what talent I would like to have. I would love to be able to sing (as in carry a tune) and play a guitar.

Where would I live?

If I could live any place other than where I am, it would be: Inside the U.S. – Idaho. Outside the U.S. would be New Zealand.

What book are you reading?

I am reading “The Gift of Christmas Present” by Melody Carlson

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

I am an introvert. I have to make myself be outgoing at parties and events. I used to market leeches to the medical community.

Why is my affiliate and NFPW important to me?

It has been my educational tool. Everything I learned about journalism in the early years was from NCPC and NFPW workshops, institutes, and travel opportunities. I never went to college for the field I entered. I fell into journalism and learned as I went.

I cannot say enough about the travel opportunities and lifelong friendships that I have formed in this organization.

How to follow me:

I am on Facebook (thanks to NFPW). Email is I can be reached at I

Idaho native Cathy Koon shares talents, dedication with state and national members

June 23, 2014

I recruited her to join NFPW many years ago and I have enjoyed our time together at state and national conferences ever since. Many of you lovingly dubbed her the “bag lady” after she used her creative talents to hand design the NFPW conference bags for last year’s conference in Salt Lake City.  She is loyal and the best friend you could ever ask for. She loves NFPW and it shows by all the ways she gives of her time and talents. Our organization is better because of this unique and unbelievable member. Meet my awesome friend, Cathy Koon.

Cathy Koon

Cathy Koon

Name: Cathy Koon

City and State: St. Anthony, Idaho, born and raised

Affiliate and any leadership positions: Media Network Idaho, currently serving as president; treasurer of the NFPW Education Fund; editor of NFPW AGENDA magazine.

Years a member of NFPW: Since 1980

Tell us a little about you:

I am a small-town girl at heart, but I love traveling to all the places we hold NFPW conferences. I have seen a lot of this wonderful country through my membership, places I would never have seen otherwise.

I am proud to be the daughter of a U.S. Army veteran who served in Europe during WWII and again in Korea. My ex-husband retired after 25 years with the Army and the Army National Guard, and my daughter Terra served with the Idaho National Guard in Iraq. I am proud to be an American, and that influences many of my decisions in life.

I am also the grandmother of four young boys who keep me on my toes.

Any career advice you would give?

Growing up, most people expected to enter a career field and retire there. Today, they say people will change careers several times in their lives. So I think it is important to find a career that suites your likes and your lifestyle to work at what you love and love your work. Learn to be flexible, keep learning, and always do your best. Don’t become a dinosaur.

Which talent would you most like to have? I want to learn to oil paint.

Cathy Koon on a fly fishin float trip.

Cathy Koon on a fly fishing float trip.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

I live there. But if I couldn’t live in the shadow of the Tetons, I would choose someplace in Montana where I could have a small spread with cows and horses, and run an antiques and collectibles shop on the side.

What book are you reading?

I just finished “The Lost Symbol,” the Dan Brown book. I just started one of Tony Hillerman’s books and one about a guy who is retracing the route of the Pony Express. It is not unusual for me to have one book in the living room, another in the bathroom and one by my bed so I have reading material handy without carting it around with me. I also just starting getting True West magazine that I carry in my purse.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

My goal in life is to one day be a recluse. I want to retire to a cabin with a view of the Tetons, no phone, no computer, a large workshop and tools of every description for making furniture, scrapbooking, creating artworks and quilting. Doesn’t exactly match my answer about where I would like to live, but it is an extension of that lifestyle.

Why is your affiliate and NFPW important to you?

My membership in MNI and NFPW has been an important part of my life for almost 35 years. I have made lifelong friends, kept abreast of trends in journalism and communications, taken advantage of professional development opportunities, and been able to travel throughout the country. Many of the firsts in my life are a direct result of being a member.

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

I have a Facebook page, plus I administer our Henry’s Fork Foundation page on Facebook, and will soon be the administrator of our new website, scheduled to go live any day now. Someday I may start posting to my blog again.