Posted tagged ‘POPPS’

Meet a Member: Pamela Stallsmith

November 18, 2015

When planning the 2008 NFPW conference in Idaho, I had a chance to get to know Pamela Stallsmith and Cynthia Price who were organizing the 2007 conference in Virginia. These two planned an awesome conference and we became great friends as a result of our efforts to support NFPW. Pam is an extremely talented communicator and excels in all she does. She leads the POPPS program for NFPW and she has done a great job in making the program even more important to NFPW. She is another outstanding member and I am honored to call her a friend.

Name: Pamela Stallsmith

City and State: Richmond, Va.


Longtime VPC friends Pam Stallsmith (far right), Cynthia Price (left) and Julie Campbell (second from right) with author and filmmaker Adriana Trigiani, an honorary presswoman, at a recent book signing in Kilmarnock, Va.

Affiliate and any leadership positions: Virginia Professional Communicators.

On the national level, I’m the current president of POPPS, Parley of Past Presidents State, and have been an NFPW board member since 2004.

In Virginia, I’m president of the Virginia Press Women Foundation, which raises money and awards scholarships to college students who wish to pursue a career in communications. I’m also a past president of VPC and was co-chair of the 2007 NFPW Conference in Richmond with Cynthia Price.

Years a member of NFPW: 27

Tell us a little about you.

I’ve been in communications for 30 years, the first two-thirds in journalism. I started my newspaper career at the daily newspaper in Lynchburg, Va., covering education, local politics and the Rev. Jerry Falwell. Then I joined the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Virginia’s flagship paper, as a bureau reporter in Clarksville — along the North Carolina border — covering Southside Virginia. The town’s population was about the same as my public high school in suburban Maryland! It was a fabulous experience — I covered a little bit of everything, from tobacco to rural housing to power plants. I eventually moved to Richmond and covered state politics and government, with a specialty in campaign finance. After 22 years as a newspaper reporter, in 2007 I made the transition to corporate communications and joined the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. In June I landed a new job as the director of communications and external relations for the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University. It’s a great fit for me as it combines my knowledge of government and communications. And VCU, the state’s largest public research university in the heart of Richmond, pulsates with energy.


Pam Stallsmith and her husband, Tom Hohing, in Hout Bay, South Africa in September 2015.

My husband, Tom Hohing, and I have two wonderful dogs, Molly and Stanley, who are English Springer Spaniels. We enjoy traveling, art and the outdoors. I’m a voracious reader and other favorite activities include bird watching and gardening.

Any career advice you would give?

Be patient. You don’t have to do everything at once. Never burn bridges. Network — keep in touch with people. You never know when bumping into someone unexpectedly may lead to an opportunity. And keep current professionally.

Which talent would you most like to have?

I’d like to be able to play the piano.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

Ernest Hemingway’s house in Key West (with all the six-toed cats!)

What book are you reading?

M Train by Patti Smith.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

I was involved in community theater when I lived in Clarksville.

Why is your affiliate and NFPW important to you?

VPC and NFPW have been a constant source of support throughout my career. Besides the tremendous opportunities for professional development, I’ve forged lifelong friendships. And the travel — I’ve been to places I doubt I ever would have visited on my own through conferences and meetings. Presswomen has taken me from the glaciers of Alaska across the plains of Nebraska to the sandy shores of North Carolina. I’ve met so many extraordinary people through this organization, women and men who have taught me so much.

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

I’m on Facebook and LinkedIn.


Meet a Member: Marlene Cook

July 14, 2015

A long-time friend I always look forward to seeing at NFPW conferences is Marlene Cook. She excels in everything she does and makes each activity a fun event. I remember the passion and fun she brought to the conference tours when the NFPW conference was in Illinois. She has a passion for NFPW and easily forms a friendship with everyone she meets. Meet another unique and unbelievable woman I am honored to call a friend.

Name: Marlene Cook

Marlene Cook, back, with her roommate for NFPW conferences, Cindy Cruz.

Marlene Cook, left, with her roommate for NFPW conferences, Cindy Cruz.

City and State: Lansing, IL

Affiliate and any leadership positions:

Illinois Womans Press Association   I held every office except treasurer. Was president two terms, 1985-1989 – Director of the 1985 “convention” in Chicago – president of POPPS for several years –NFPW & IWPA historian.

Years a member of NFPW:     42

Tell us a little about you.

I was a late bloomer but at 81 I’m still blossoming. A high school teacher told me two weeks before graduating that I wouldn’t be graduating because I didn’t have enough credits. I proved her wrong and in her anger she told me I’d never amount to anything. “Barefoot and pregnant is what you’ll be.” I graduated in 1952, married in ’53, had babies in ’54, ’55, ‘57, ’60 and ’64. I was 30 years old by this time and her words began haunting me. I said, ”Oh no Miss Lundquist, you are NOT winning this one.”

I had been supplying a friend with copy for a “gossip” column she wrote for the local newspaper. I was heavily involved with my children’s actives, school and church, so I knew a lot of people. When she was moving, she recommended I take over her column. I said, ”I’m not a writer!” She said, “Well, you’ve been writing my column for the past year.” The editor asked if I had a typewriter. I said, “Yes sir.” He didn’t ask if I knew how to type. I got the job and six months later I was called into his office. I thought I was getting a pink slip, but instead he offered me fulltime work. I learned newspaper style by comparing every single word the proofreaders had corrected.

I continued to write the column and went on to cover entertainment, review shows, concerts, theater, restaurants and travel writing. I interviewed celebrities, met presidents and first ladies and was rubbing elbows with some pretty important folks. I wrote two books and wrote for various publications. I‘ve consistently won awards and received many special honors. I screamed, “Hey, Miss Lundquist, look at me now. I am something.”

Although I have macular degeneration and get monthly shots into my eye, I continue to freelance and write a monthly eight-page newsletter for our church and another for my high school Class of 1952.

Any career advice you would give?    

Don’t be afraid to go where you haven’t gone before. Explore new places, meet new people, and learn new things. But do your homework before you venture out. That makes you look smarter.

Marlene Cook, back row second from right, with NFPW friends at a NFPW conference tour.

Marlene Cook, back row second from right, with NFPW peeps at a NFPW conference tour.

Which talent would you most like to have?      

I think I’d have enjoyed being an actress. I like to talk (just ask anyone).

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

Anywhere that I wouldn’t have to deal with ice and snow and the cold and where I could spend time with family and friends.

What book are you reading?  

I just finished reading “The Book of Joan” about Joan Rivers by her daughter Melissa Rivers and Marlo Thomas’ book, “It Ain’t Over…Till it’s over.” Guess I’m still stargazing.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?  

I was very quiet and extremely shy until I reached 30 and discovered I wasn’t having any fun. I went back to school and there was no stopping me.

Why is your affiliate and NFPW important to you?  

IWPA and NFPW accepted me when I was still a ‘wannabe” writer. They treated me like a professional and I learned from each one of the women who were much smarter than I was. The friendships I have cherished through the past 42 years have been my lifeline. They are the ones who made me a somebody. In May, IWPA presented me with a lifetime membership during our awards banquet.

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

I am on Facebook and follow IWPA and NFPW sites.