Posted tagged ‘NFPW’

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:
and her NFPW award winning book:

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

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


Meet a Member: Molly Klocksin

May 31, 2017

Molly Klocksin joined NFPW early in her career and rejoined Nebraska Press Women three years ago. She has been active ever since rejoining, even helping plan an affiliate conference. Molly attended her first NFPW communications conference last fall after being awarded a First Timer Grant from the NFPW Education Fund. It is nice to have her back as an active member and we hope to see her again this fall in Alabama. I hope you take time to get to know this unique and unbelievable NFPW member.

Name: Molly Klocksin

City and State: Lincoln, Nebraska

Molly Klocksin

Molly Klocksin

Affiliate and any leadership positions: Parliamentarian, Nebraska Press Women affiliate

Years a member of NFPW: About 3 years in this century.

Tell us a little about you.

I grew up in suburbs of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. My paternal grandfather was a small-town newspaper publisher, and a paternal uncle was a TV news anchor and state legislator. My parents read newspapers and watched the news on TV; we often talked politics at the dinner table. One of my earliest political memories is accompanying my mom to the polls for the 1960 JFK/Nixon presidential campaign. The “lunch ladies” from my elementary school were poll workers!

All through school, I was interested in news and politics. During the summer of 1967, I kept a diary describing what the newspapers and TV stations were reporting about the race riots in Milwaukee.  At one point, I wrote, “I sound like a reporter!”

In high school, I was co-editor of the school paper. I went on to study journalism and political science at the University of Wisconsin- Eau Claire. Journalism was popular in that Watergate era, but I think I may have been a “J” major, anyway.

In my early career, I worked at newspapers – a suburban weekly and a small-city daily. I worked hard, and worked long hours, but the work and the people suited me. I later worked as a press secretary for U.S. Senator Jim Exon, D-Nebraska in Washington, D.C., and for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln., writing press releases and feature stories about agriculture. I then took a detour into my current position as a Case Advocate for Disability Rights Nebraska, and earned a master’s degree in counseling from Doane University in Lincoln. I still feel like a reporter when I investigate abuse/neglect in facilities for people with mental illness. I interview people and observing their surroundings, and then I take the details to our agency’s attorneys – much like I used to gather information for stories that went to editors. I’ve written an Op Ed piece, some press releases and blogs for our agency. .

Any career advice you would give?

Be willing to move for a job. My dad told me I’d have rocks in my head to move to Grand Island, Nebraska. But I wanted to work at a daily newspaper, and I figured working in a lightly populated state’s third largest media market would be a good opportunity. I was right!

Which talent would you most like to have?

I’ve always wanted to be a certified Jazzercise instructor. I’ve been a student for years. It keeps me sane.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

I’d like Santa Fe, N.M. in the winter. And northern Wisconsin in the winter.

What book are you reading?

“Leaving the Pink House,” by Ladette Randolph. She’s a Nebraskan, and she writes about all the houses she has lived in. She also writes about renovating an old house with her husband. This book resonated with me because my domestic partner is building us a custom log and stone house on his farmland outside of Lincoln. He does the vast majority of the work, of course, but we often talk about the “Big House on the Prairie” and plan our future there with our cats. We’re hoping to make many happy memories there with visits from his two adult daughters and four adult grandchildren.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

When I was young, my mother called me “The Next Nancy Dickerson.” Nancy was the first female correspondent on network television. She was from a Milwaukee suburb, and graduated from my mother’s alma mater, the University of Wisconsin-Madison.   Nancy Dickerson’s son, John Dickerson, now hosts “Face the Nation.”  I wrote to him on Facebook after I read his book about his mother. He “liked” my comment. Mom would have gotten a kick out of that!

Why is your affiliate and NFPW important to you?

I’ve met great friends at NFPW and Nebraska Press Women events. Even though I no longer work in the media per se, I still enjoy the company of journalists. Of course we have professional development opportunities, but it’s the people and sense of community that matter most to me. When a member loses a parent or other loved one, NPW members are the first  to send a card. That thoughtfulness is hard to find elsewhere these days!

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

My Twitter handle is @annalia2013. I’m on Facebook as Molly Klocksin.

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: Verna Gates

January 17, 2017
Verna Gates

Verna Gates

The Alabama team is hard at work finalizing plans for this September’s NFPW conference in Birmingham. Verna Gates is a bundle of energy and is known for being a hard worker. She also has a talent in putting great professional tours together. She is using that talent to plan the NFPW pre and post tour in Alabama. She’s a character and participants should have a great time exploring Alabama. Meet this outstanding member and then register for the conference tours. 

Verna Gates

City and State: Birmingham, Alabama

Affiliate and any leadership positions: Alabama Media Professionals, COA 2009, Alabama, and  runner up National COA

Years a member of NFPW: 19

Tell us a little about you.

I was born with too much energy. My interests range from journalism to storytelling to ethnobotany (cultural study of plants).

My career started when I called a new cable news service every day until they let me answer the phones for two days. I left four years later. That’s how I landed on the start-up crew of CNN. My career has been a fabulous adventure. I was a stringer for TIME Magazine, Reuters, The Guardian, and still work for an NPR station as a commentator and special correspondent. When Reuters closed its Southeast bureau, I lucked out when I popped into the Alabama Department of Tourism to visit a friend. I found myself inviting my journalist friends on press trips to my beloved home state. It is a blast! And it is a lot more fun taking people to eat haute cuisine, drink fine wine and spin around in Space Camp than it is to cover tornadoes and felony trials.

The science part of my brain founded a non-profit in 2006, Fresh Air Family, that teaches outdoor environmental biology to kids and families. We cover the state, but are based at the second largest urban park in the nation with 1045 acres. In 2016, my tiny staff of three, plus as-needed naturalists, served 1,164 kids in our award-winning Gross Out Camp (it’s science but please don’t tell the kids) and 1,328 kids in our school field trip program, and 8,000 people on weekend field trips. In our camp program, nearly 60 percent of the kids come on scholarships. We work hard to change the world!

I am also a storyteller, having won the Biggest Liar in Alabama contest, twice. It is a tall-tale competition, but in the South, we call it what it is, lying. It is something I do just for fun. With my ethnobotany, I also speak quite frequently on plants and botany.

As I said, too much energy!


Verna Gates in Bermuda.

Any career advice you would give?

Always, always give it your best. When you always do your best, people notice. And they call you. TIME, Reuters, The Guardian and NPR – all called me.  So did Alabama Tourism. And keep re-inventing yourself. I must be on the 10th upgrade by now!

Which talent would you most like to have?

I would love to be able to sing well.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

I choose to live in the heart of American culture — the Deep South. Where we don’t hold back on the butter in the batter, we still hold doors open, and the kids say “yes, ma’am.” Alabama is also number 5 in biodiversity in the nation and for a nature nerd, it is nirvana!

What book are you reading?

I have a review copy of Hairy, Scary and Mostly Merry Fairies — a nature book for kids.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

I played first bass in the all-state orchestra in North Carolina when I was a sophomore in high school. And I have won the lottery three times. I have the $16 to prove it!

Why is your affiliate and NFPW important to you?

I get great leads, great info and have made lifelong friends. As a single person, my affiliate has been so supportive. When I had major surgery, they organized a dinner caravan that was a life-saver.

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

Meet a Member: Kathryn Cόrdova

November 30, 2016

Another dedicated, long-time NFPW member is Kathryn (Kathy) Cόrdova of New Mexico. She is always willing to help out and also one of the first to express appreciation for the hard work of others. I remember the  nice thank you note and gift she sent me after the NFPW conference in Idaho in 2008. I was impressed with her thoughtfulness. She is also a talented writer and teacher. She is also willing to share her talents with others. I am proud to call this unique and unbelievable member a friend.

Name:  Kathryn (Kathy) Cόrdova

City/State: El Prado (Taos County), New Mexico

Kathryn (Kathy) Cόrdova

Kathryn (Kathy) Cόrdova

Affiliate and Leadership Positions:

New Mexico– Past positions: President, Vice President, Secretary, and Communicator Of  Achievement Chair.

NFPW– Communicator Of Achievement Chair; Membership Chair; Student Membership Chair; POPPS Vice President/ Treasurer and President; NFPW Treasurer; and NFPW Second Vice President.

Years in NFPW: 27

Tell Us a Little About You:

I prepared for dual careers in Journalism and Education, as these were the times when women did not receive many opportunities in the newsroom.  Fortunately, I was able to work at both careers as a teacher and a freelance writer.  I have also served in editorial positions on community publications and professional newspapers and magazines.  Throughout the years, I have written four different columns, and continue to write one, “Know Your Neighbor” on a weekly basis for our community’s newspaper.  I have also contributed to and written books, mainly biographies.  Family is very important to me.

Kathryn (Kathy) Cόrdova

Kathryn (Kathy) Cόrdova

Career Advice: 

People should work at what they enjoy and about what they feel passionate.  Doing so brings joy to the worker and those around him or her.  When one is happy, it is contagious and obvious in the finished product.  We are all lifelong learners, and as such, must embrace learning something new as much as possible.

Which talent would you most like to have?  Art.  The best I can achieve in regard to completing an art piece is to draw a stick doll.

If I could live anywhere, where would it be?

I love where I live right now.  I enjoy traveling, but it’s always a joy to return home.

 What book are you reading?

I’m an avid reader.  I just started the book Laci, about Laci Peterson, by Michael Fleeman.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

As a Doctor of Education, I teach courses such as Children’s Literature and deep-thought texts.  As a former high school teacher, I taught American Literature. Therefore, it may surprise some to learn that I love to read and write (unpublished) what my dad used to call “trashy books.”

Why your affiliate and NFPW are important to you. 

An organization is only as good as its members.  I would never trade the friendships I have made, the people I have met, things I have learned and the places I have visited as a result of attending conferences, meetings, etc.  The networking is available to all the members, and it’s refreshing to note that the Press Women organization does not confine itself to only one small facet of the careers and interests of the members.  The broad base is very appealing.

What is the best way to follow you- website, Twitter, Facebook, etc.?  Much to the chagrin of my children, I do not follow social media.