Posted tagged ‘Arizona’

Meet a Member: Glennis McNeal

May 26, 2015

One of the people I look forward to seeing at an NFPW conference is Glennis McNeal. She splits her time between Oregon and California and is one of the members who always makes the conference more fun. She is always looking for new adventures and is always willing to step up and learn something new. One example is when she worked a shift for the Food Network’s “Restaurant Impossible,” program when they revamped the Mill Creek Cattle Company restaurant in Redlands, CA. She did whatever was needed to make that particular program a success. She finds a way to succeed with everything she attempts. Meet my friend, Glennis McNeal.

Name : Glennis McNeal

City and State: Beaverton, Oregon and Redlands, CA


Glennis McNeal

Affiliate and any leadership positions:

I’m a member of Oregon Press Women and Arizona Professional Writers. I served as OPW president twice, POPPS president once, currently POPPS newsletter editor. Coordinated a Lewis and Clark pre-conference tour before the Seattle NFPW conference. Coordinated the pre- and post-conference tours for the Arizona NFPW conference. Still send out meeting notices and news for Oregon Press Women.

Years a member of NFPW: 41 this year

Tell us a little about you.

I’m a self-taught freelance journalist, public relations practitioner, medical writer and magazine editor. My professional communications training came through Oregon Press Women and NFPW. Workshops and conversations with fellow members provided answers to questions as well as inspiration. Contact with fellow members fired me with desire to improve, and gave me courage to take on new ventures. The examples of their published work provided new ideas. The examples of their lives were potent guideposts, and still are.

I was the Public Information Director for a national lay health nonprofit, The National Psoriasis Foundation. I worked there for a decade and after retiring, earned a college degree in Arts and Humanities from Linfield College in Oregon.

Now I’m having a tough time saying these two dirty words: “I’m retired.”

Glennis McNeal, left and Sandi Latimer at an NFPW conference.

Glennis McNeal, left and Sandi Latimer at an NFPW conference.

Any career advice you would give?

Keep up with technology.

Don’t be afraid to tackle something new, even if you seem unqualified. I once confided in my late husband, George, “I don’t know how to do all the things this new project requires.” He responded, “Well, nobody knows everything about anything. Find someone who can help you with the unfamiliar stuff.” It worked for me!

That being said, I wish I had pursued my college education much sooner. I’d have done a better job if I’d known what I was doing.

A pleasant attitude and a sense of humor goes a long way, especially if you genuinely like people.

Which talent would you most like to have?

Perfect pitch. And a singing voice worth the gift of any pitch at all.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

Anywhere with interesting things to see and do. I’m an Oregon resident and also a snowbird– 21 years in Arizona, two years so far in California. Loved Arizona Press Women. In Redlands, California, I’ve joined a book club that meets in a brewery.

What book are you reading?

Missoula–Rape and the Justice System in a College Town, by Jon Krakauer. I’m from Montana and can’t wait to hear what my University of Montana friends think of the book. I’m prepared to wipe spittle from my eyeglasses.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

I played the baritone sax in a Wyoming high school marching band and in the school’s dance band. I was a nightclub hostess and hat check girl in South Dakota. For years I edited a quarterly publication for a Weight Watchers franchise. When I told people at NFPW conferences, “I edit ‘The Loser’,” their sympathetic response was usually, “Maybe you’ll have better luck in next year’s communications contest.” The publication’s name was, in fact, “The Loser” and it actually won a few prizes.

Why is your affiliate and NFPW important to you?

Each has provided lifelong friends and opportunities not available to me by other means. Members were resources for me when I was freelancing and later, when I was seeking space nationally for health news.

Also, I love their profane commentary during pre- and post-conference tours and when meeting them in hotel bars. Conference trips exposed me to wonderful areas of the country in the company of people who knew–and shared–the real story behind the tourism hype.

Way to follow you on.

I’m on Facebook. You’ll see frequent pictures of my 8 grandchilden!


Arizona’s Carol Osman Brown continues to excel as state, national communicator

October 21, 2014

Carol Osman Brown teaching a workshop session.

She joined NFPW and her Arizona affiliate 52 years ago while she was in college and she has been a leading communicator ever since.  She excels in everything she does. She won sweepstakes honors in the NFPW communications contest. She has written for a large daily newspaper, many nationally known magazines, owned a communications company with her husband and has taught college-level communications classes. She played a key role in the 2012 NFPW conference in Arizona. She just continues to excel at everything she works on. Meet Carol Osman Brown, another unique and unbelievable NFPW member.

Name: Carol Osman Brown

Hometown: Payson, Arizona (about 100 miles north of Phoenix)

Affiliate: Arizona Professional Writers (formerly known as Arizona Press Women—name change in summer of 2014)

NFPW and Affiliate Leadership:

I am currently serving as Rim Country District Director. I was APW State President in 1993, and also served several terms as Central District Director when I lived in Phoenix.

NFPW and Affiliate Honors:

APW Communicator of Achievement award in 1991, Sweepstakes Award in Arizona Communications Contest in 1990 and the 1992 Sweepstakes Winner of the NFPW Communication Contest. Winner of numerous APW and NFPW awards for writing and photography over the years. APW hosted the NFPW National Convention in 2012 and it was both a challenge and an honor to help arrange speakers for a variety of professional development workshops and to share Arizona’s Centennial history with NFPW members.

I joined APW and NFPW in 1962 and have been a member for 52 years. I was honored for 50 years of membership in 2012. I was a senior at Arizona State University, majoring in Mass Communications at the time I joined APW, and was working 30 hours a week as a reporter for The Phoenix Gazette, a large daily newspaper.

Tell us a little about you:


Carol Osman Brown and husband Bing Brown in Costa Rica.

I was born in New York, and following the end of WWII, my parents moved to the West to find a climate that might help cure my asthma. As a child, books and magazines were my windows to the world. I’ve always loved travel, nature, art, museums and history. Bitten by the journalism bug early, I was editor of my high school newspaper in Phoenix and then the college paper at ASU. I married James C. Brown (Bing Brown) while still in college and we both were reporters at the Phoenix Gazette. I also freelanced for Associated Press and UPI wire services. I soon realized that newspapers offered limited story space and that I could write in-depth pieces for magazines. So I started freelancing articles and photos to a variety of regional and national publications. These included Arizona Highways, Sunset, Native People’s, AAA Highroads, Guidepost and various publications of the U.S. Information Agency. Always curious, I love journalism because it gives me a license to be nosy and ask questions. Every person has a story and like an anthropologist, I love to make new discoveries and unearth hidden facts.

I left the Gazette to become editor of Arizona Currents, a tabloid newspaper that covered news of rural electrical utilities in 14 Arizona counties.  This job was at a PR agency, where I also wrote news releases for a variety of clients and handled special event publicity for the annual Arabian Horse Show and other events.

A move to a larger agency allowed me to write press kits for Ice Follies and Ringling Brothers’ Circus. I also helped run the press room for the Arizona State Fair and the Arizona Livestock Show for several years.  Then I decided to start a family, but still continued to freelance magazine articles and photos with my husband. We  took our two little boys on many camping trips, and I wrote magazine stories about camping with kids, the value of early swim lessons and various articles about education. I did not know of any other moms who were freelance writers and I relied on my APW friends and NFPW networking for help with research and industry connections.  Then my husband and I formed our own firm, Carrington Communications, which focused on special event PR and publicity for small businesses, non-profit groups, artists and authors. I was an editor of several publications and I also spoke at several Reader’s Digest Writer Workshops and other writing conferences. That led to teaching writing courses at Rio Salado Community College and then journalism classes at the Walter Cronkite School of Mass Communications, Arizona State University.  I recently resigned from Rio Salado College, where I had been teaching a writing course for nearly 30 years; I taught it as an online class for the last decade. Now I am doing freelance editing, writing and working on some children’s book projects.

Any career advice you would give?

As a freelancer, you are always juggling article deadlines, with client meetings, family needs, volunteer work and sometimes a job, such as teaching. I think that building a journalism career involves a cumulative process of adding new skills to your bag of communication tricks. Be ready to embrace new tools such as changing technology as well as employer, client or consumer needs. I was among the first people to buy the first IBM personal computer on the market, despite its high price, because I viewed it as a time-saving tool to help me grow my freelance business. Within the first year, I landed a job producing a national press kit for a new firm, Mail Boxes, Etc., which was used by all their franchise owners. That job paid half the cost of my computer purchase.  Don’t be afraid to invest in yourself as well your career. Take time to attend a writing workshop, upgrade your photo skills at a class or learn a new language before taking a trip to a foreign country. Stay curious and keep growing as an individual.

Try to do interviews in person because you pick up so much additional information about the person by watching body language, noticing awards on the walls and seeing how the person relates to staff or family members. We can do phone or email interviews to get facts, but only the face-to-face interview will yield the human interest elements that bring a story to life. Be a good listener and ask questions that are specifically designed to yield interesting answers. Trust your intuition and be willing to take some risks in order to get a good story.

Remember that words have power, so use them wisely.  Don’t cringe with fear when facing a looming “deadline” … just change it to a “finish line” and you’ll feel more motivated to succeed.

Which talent would you most like to have?

I would like to have a great singing voice so I could sing to a wide variety of music.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

I would like to live in Hawaii due to the climate, friendly people and rainbows. I love to chase rainbows and photograph them.

What book are you reading?

I am always dipping into several books at one time; favorites include self-help, fiction, non-fiction, history, travel and books about writing. Currently I am reading a historical mystery, The Romanov Prophesy by Steve Berry, as well as Breaking Night by Liz Murray, a memoir about a girl who travels from homelessness to Harvard, plus a spiritual book, the Untethered Soul by Michael A. Singer.

What might surprise people?

People might be surprised to learn that I’ve traveled to 23 foreign countries. Also, I have a latent gene for silliness that pops

Carol Osman Brown

Carol Osman Brown

up occasionally. Once I donned a large pink rabbit costume and pretended to ice skate in front of TV cameras. The real skater was running late for an appearance on a kids’ TV show and the director was getting desperate. So I volunteered to glide across the stage and had some fun!

Why APW and NFPW are important to me?

As a young reporter, I was honored to be welcomed into APW, a group of established reporters and photographers.  I watched these dedicated women journalists do their work with great skill and dedication. Several became mentors and encouraged me through editing, as well as sharing ideas at APW workshops, meetings and state conferences. I found them to be feisty, funny, wicked smart and always helpful.  Later, as a mother struggling to find time to freelance, and maintain a career, I relied on their wisdom and support.

Networking with NFPW members proved helpful for story research, travel contacts and helpful advice. Later at NFPW conferences, I was able to expand my horizons with wider networking and seeing friends I had only talked to on the phone.  I believe in helping others and being of service to our organization. APW and NFPW exist to help others through continuing education in our broad communication field. We are dedicated to excellence in journalism and strong advocates for First Amendment rights. Yet we are like an extended family, honoring the wisdom of our mature members and relishing the energy and initiative of younger members for help us change with the times, yet keep our vision clear and fresh.   I still like to try new things.  APW hosted a weekend writer’s retreat in the cool pines of Payson for the past two summers. W plan to partner with Gila Community College present  the first Payson Book Festival on July 25, 2015.

Ways to connect with you:

I am on Linkedin, but admit that I do not check it often. Since hackers created havoc with personal information at my bank, doctor’s office, college and several department stores, I now prefer to keep a low profile. So if you wish to contact me, just use email: or the telephone number listed in the NFPW directory.

Warneka continues to lead, learn and share writing talents with others

June 30, 2014

Brenda Kimsey Warneka

When I think about the NFPW conference in 2012 in Arizona, one of the first people I think of is Brenda Kimsey Warneka and the hard work she put into the conference. This classy and devoted NFPW member was one of the first to offer to share her talents as a speaker at last year’s conference in Salt Lake City. She is smart, talented and is another outstanding example of the unique and unbelievable members of NFPW

Name: Brenda Kimsey Warneka, JD, CPA

City and State: Laughlin, Nev.; Scottsdale, Ariz.

Affiliate and any leadership positions: I am a dual member of Arizona Press Women and Nevada Press Women, but I am active in Arizona as I am the only member of NPW in the Laughlin area. I have been president of Arizona Press Women twice. I was the project leader, co-editor, and co-writer of APW’s official Arizona Centennial Legacy Project anthology, Skirting Traditions: Arizona Women Writers and Journalists 1912-2012; I led the effort to have the 2012 NFPW national conference in Scottsdale, and I am the 2014 Arizona Communicator of Achievement.

Years a member of NFPW: I joined in 1995, so going on 20 years.

Tell us a little about you.

I practiced law in Arizona for almost 25 years, which involved litigation and a lot of research and writing, just not the kind of writing most people would want to read! During that time, I wrote a legal column for a few years, and joined APW at the suggestion of the teacher of a writing class I took at the community college. I also co-edited and co-wrote two anthologies with a friend I met on the Internet, Arlene Uslander, which is where I got the idea for an anthology, the future Skirting Traditions, when, in 2009, APW asked me to come up with a project in honor of the upcoming Arizona Centennial. By then, I was working for a company my husband, Dick, and I owned in the computer field. My job included managing the legal department, the financial department, and administration, which included publications. We sold to ADP, the payroll company, in 2010 and retired, although we retain a small computer consulting business. I am concentrating on my writing now. Dick drives a 45’ Prevost motor coach for travel around the country, so writing works well for me because it is something I can do on the road.

Any career advice you would give?

Become a specialist in an area of expertise in your field, so people think of you as the “go to” person when someone with that particular knowledge is needed.


Brenda Kimsey Warneka

Which talent would you most like to have?

In my next life I want to come back as an opera singer. I was going to say Maria Callas, but that really dates me. I have never quite recovered from being asked to leave the church choir when I was a teenager because I couldn’t stay on key for Rock of Ages.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

My husband and I can live anywhere, so the answer has to be where we are–in the Southwestern desert. We do spend summers by the sea in Coronado, Calif., when we aren’t on the road in the motor coach. We did a lot of foreign travel for about 20 years before foreign travel became so difficult and dangerous, and we’re now enjoying the U.S.

What book are you reading?

Looking Up: A Memoir of Sisters, Survivors and Skokie by Linda Pressman, the 2013 Grand Award Winner in the Writer’s Digest Self-Publishing Contest. I read the book quickly last fall before I interviewed Linda for an article. Recently she spoke at an APW conference on the subject “From Writer’s Journal to Memoir,” and now I am reading the book again, keeping in mind how she described constructing it using her writing journals that go back to when she was a teenager. I’m particularly interested because one of the things I am working on is a memoir.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

How inept I am using computers. Before I went to law school, I was a customer service rep at SBC, a subsidiary of IBM, after which I did some technical writing in the computer field, and my husband and I have been involved in the computer field for many years—in fact, that is how we met–but my teenage grandchildren seem to be getting ahead of me in a lot of ways with computer technology.

Why is your affiliate and NFPW important to you?

I am in awe of the accomplishments of the women in APW and NFPW, and I love being associated with and learning from them. So many of them have done what I expected to do. I started writing in the 5th grade and thought my profession would be in the writing field when I grew up but my natural proclivity for multi-tasking took over.

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

I am on Facebook under my own name and also as administrator for Skirting Traditions (thanks for Liking us), and twitter, which I haven’t had time for. I am in the process of setting up a website for Writing and the Law, an area in which I write and speak and for which I just won awards in the “Columns, Informational” and “Audiovisual” categories in the 2014 NFPW Communications Contest.