Posted tagged ‘Virginia Professional Communicators’

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: Linda Evans

October 7, 2015
Linda Evans Photo by Cynthia Price

Linda Evans (Photo by Cynthia Price)

Four days on a tour bus on the Alaska pre-conference tour gave me a chance to get better acquainted with members like Linda Evans. She is a 35-year NFPW member and is the 2015 Communicator of Achievement for Virginia. She is fun to be around and is a talented communications professional. Enjoy getting to know this unique and unbelievable member a little better.

Name: Linda Evans,

Hometown: Richmond, Va.,

Affiliate and leadership positions: Virginia Professional Communicators. Former treasurer, district director and state conference chair

Years a member of NFPW: 35 years

Tell us a little about you:

After majoring in journalism at the University of Richmond, I spent a couple of years writing obits and features (and loving it and learning a lot) at my hometown newspaper, The Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va. Back then newspapers didn’t have formal internship programs; they usually hired one or two locals to work summers to fill in while reporters took vacations. I tried to get a job throughout high school, but never made it. I continued trying in college, until the editor finally said my persistence impressed him, and he hired me! I worked two summers and then after graduating from college, I was hired full time and spent a couple of years as a reporter.

My husband and I were blessed with a son, and I ultimately made the decision to make a career change into education — first as a publications editor for Fredericksburg City Schools, then into public relations for higher education. I really found my niche working for three great colleges — Mary Washington in Fredericksburg; Randolph-Macon in Ashland, Va.; and University of Richmond, for 13 years until I retired in August 2014. In all, I worked in higher education for 35 years — as long as I’ve been a member of NFPW. My jobs have enabled me to work with some outstanding students and pass along my love of journalism to them.

Any career advice?

No matter what you want to do in life, take a journalism course. It teaches you to write well and concisely; organize your work, meet deadlines and learn to communicate with anyone you will encounter in your career.

What talent would you most like to have?

If I could have a talent it would be to carry a tune! I’d love to sing along with my son, a singer-songwriter who plays guitar, sings and composes music. I don’t know where he got his talent — certainly not from me or his father.

Linda Evans, left, and Donna Geisler at Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska.

Linda Evans, left, and Donna Geisler at Denali National Park and Preserve in Alaska for the NFPW pre-conference tour. (Photo by the tour bus driver)

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

When my late husband, Jack, and I were first married, he was stationed with the Air Force in Homestead, Fla., (south of Miami). I’ve always loved Florida since then and have recently discovered the beauty and serenity of the state’s west coast. So I’d like to live near the Gulf of Mexico to enjoy the beautiful sunsets each day.

What book are you reading?

I love mysteries and have recently been reading Charles Todd’s Beth Crawford series, set in England during World War I, and Victoria Thompson’s Sarah Brandt series, set in New York City in the early 1900s. Both series are well written and impart so much history. I also was delighted to meet fellow COA Anne Hillerman at the Alaska conference. I read all of her father’s (Tony Hillerman) books and am delighted that she is continuing his series of mysteries on the Navajo reservation at the Four Corners area of the SW.

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

Most people don’t know that I worked for a nonprofit circus for a time as a booking agent (long story) and that my father discovered the first computer bug (an actual moth in one of those early, walk-through computers in the 1940s)

Why is your affiliate and NFPW important to you?

I’ve had opportunities to join other professional organizations, and have, but I always loved VPC and NFPW because of the great friendships I have formed with fellow members, the professional development, and the opportunity to travel and explore other parts of my state and country.

Ways to follow you:

I’m on Facebook at; Twitter @levanspr and on Linked In as Linda Evans.

Nancy Wright Beasley shares passion for learning while writing career continues to expand

October 1, 2014

Nancy Wright Beasley

She is an award-winning writer. I enjoyed reading her books and her long-time column in Richmond Magazine. It is always great catching up with her at NPFW conferences and the pre and post tours. Meet my wonderful friend, Nancy Wright Beasley.

Name: Nancy Wright Beasley

City and State: Richmond, Virginia

Affiliate and any leadership positions: Virginia Press Women (now known as Virginia Professional Communicators) previously served as secretary. I am currently a board member and have served for several years. COA Nominee for VPW – 2006, recipient of multiple communication contest awards.

Years as member of NFPW: 32

Tell us a little about you.

My father was illiterate and my mother only had a 6th education, but they instilled such a love for education that I initially entered college at 17. I married the third boy I dated at Chowan Junior College the following year and took a break to raise two wonderful boys. At 39, I completed a bachelor’s degree and at 46 I became a widow, however, at 60 I completed a graduate degree at the School of Mass Communications, Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond. At the time, the late George Crutchfield, one of five men who originally joined VPW, was the director of the school and was instrumental in encouraging me to pursue my degree.  His widow, Francine, and daughter, Lisa, are members of VPW and dear friends of mine. At 66, I received a Master of Fine Arts in Children’s Literature from Hollins University in 2011. At 69, I think I’ve finally finished formal schooling, unless you count summer school at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and at the University of Pittsburgh, where I studied Lithuanian. And, oh yes, I have three perfect grandchildren.

Any career advice you would give?

Never give up and don’t let age limit or affect your dreams. My stalwart parents were the best example of simply putting one foot in front of the other and never looking back. In his lifetime, I don’t recall my late father ever missing work but three days, when he had the flu. Also, my dear late mother’s advice always rings in my ears when I get weary: “Nothing beats a failure but a try.” Another one of her sage pieces of advice: “Sleep on it. Things always look better in the morning.”

Which talent would you most like to have?

I’ve always wanted to paint and play the piano.

If you could live anywhere, where would it be?

Beside the ocean so I could hear the surf.

What book are you reading?

“The Purpose Driven Life” by Rick Warren

What would people be surprised to learn about you?

Most people consider me an extrovert. While I immensely enjoy interacting with folks, especially at NFPW conferences, I prefer to live and work alone and need lots of quiet time.


Nancy and her prized VPW sign

Why is your affiliate and NFPW important to you?

I joined Virginia Press Women in 1982, at the invitation of Katherine Calos, who remains a good friend, as well as a current member. At the time I was a state correspondent for The Richmond News Leader and Katherine was a travel writer. Over the last 30+ years, I have branched out to economic development, public relations, newspapers and various publications of all sizes, each time meeting new VPW members and gaining from those associations. Some of my closest and dearest friends are members of VPW. My longest tenure, 16 years and three months as a personal columnist and contributing editor for Richmond magazine, has just drawn to a close. VPW members have been there to support me through that in a very significant way. Also, I have lost count of the wonderful friends I’ve made through NFPW, many of whom I’ve visited in their homes in other states.

In 2005, I published “Izzy’s Fire: Finding Humanity in the Holocaust,” a story of how a Catholic farm family risked their lives to save 13 Jews from certain death during the Holocaust in Lithuania. It won a 1st place in VPW and NFPW competition and is now being used in schools and universities in many states, as well as in Lithuania. A second book, “Reflections of a Purple Zebra,” a compilation of my columns was published in 2007. “The Little Lion,” a young adult historical novel about a Jewish teenage boy who gave his life to save other Jews in Lithuania is being shopped at this time.

How can we keep in touch with you?

I have an active personal Facebook page and also welcome visits to my book website:

Special note: VPW recently change its name to Virginia Professional Communicators. I didn’t want to change the name, so I was gifted with the VPW logo at our spring conference, which is now proudly displayed in my office. It was the end of a 56-year era. We might have changed our name, but our devotion to each other and to our craft hasn’t wavered.