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Past President Price is 2012 NFPW Communicator of Achievement

2012 COA winner Cynthia prices poses in between two former winners.

NFPW's 2012 Communicator of Achievement Cynthia Price of Virginia, center, is congratulated by two past COAs, Charlotte Schexnayder of Arkansas and Clara Cartrette of North Carolina. Price was honored and nine other affiliate-nominated COAs were recognized at the Sept. 21 "Diamonds in the Desert" banquet in Scottsdale, Ariz., during which NFPW's 75th anniversary also was celebrated. (Photo by Catherine Petrini)


2012 COA Nominees
Colorado — Gay Porter DeNileon
Illinois — Angie Leszczak
Indiana — Marion Garmel
Kansas — Linn Ann Huntington
Nebraska — Stephanie Geery-Zink
New Mexico — Cheryl Fallstead
North Dakota — Ellen Crawford
Pennsylvania — Walter M. Brasch
Texas — Kay Casey
Virginia — Cynthia Price


2012 COA candidates pose for group photo during the 2012 conference in Scottsdale, Az.

NFPW 2012 Communicator of Achievement candidates pose for a group photo during the conference in Scottsdale.

National Federation of Press Women 2012 Communicator of Achievement Cynthia Price is known for pursuing new challenges, professionally, personally, and for her Virginia affiliate and NFPW.

Her list of accomplishments is amazing, even to the people who know her best.

VPW nominator Gail Kent of Newport News said of Price, "From her personal, community, professional and public life, this leader challenges herself to grow and stretch as a person. Throughout her life, she has found ways to make a difference in the lives of others - whether covering issues as a community journalist, raising funds for vulnerable children in 31 countries around the world or invigorating Press Women with an unexpected presidency."

VPW President Bonnie Atwood added, "With her energy, her national service and her interest in new media, Cynthia has taken us (Virginia Press Women) into the Big Time. We're running to keep up, and we're loving it."

That energy and excitement about what comes next in her life is reflected in Price's personal philosophy: If you are not living on the edge, you're taking up too much space.

She was named the 2012 NFPW Communicator of Achievement, the organization's highest honor, at the annual conference in Scottsdale, Ariz., during the "Diamonds in the Desert" banquet celebrating the affiliate-nominated COAs and NFPW's 75th anniversary.

The nine of 10 nominees attending the banquet were introduced by COA Director Wilma Moore-Black of Kansas with a PowerPoint presentation prepared by Nagamani Chittem of Wichita State University.

Price, of Glen Allen, Va., is director of communications for ChildFund International, a global child development organization.

"We're thrilled to learn about Cynthia's recognition by her peers in NFPW," said Anne Goddard, president and CEO of ChildFund International in Richmond, Va. "It's a high honor, and her colleagues at ChildFund applaud Cynthia's accomplishments and dedication to her profession.

"Our organization certainly benefits from the deep commitment to communications excellence Cynthia brings to ChildFund and the children we serve around the globe."

Price previously was a spokesperson for the Richmond Police Department for more than 10 years, launched a business magazine for the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, and was a reporter for newspapers in Pennsylvania and Virginia. She taught for a decade at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Price served as NFPW president from 2009-2011, was co-director of the 2007 national conference hosted by Virginia Press Women and served as her affiliate's president from 2004-2006. VPW honored her with its Distinguished Service Award in 2004 and again in 2007.

She serves on boards for the Virginia Mentoring Partnership and Friends of Twin Hickory Library.

The following interview with Price provides more details about her career, dedication to NFPW and what the COA Award means to her:

Q. Describe what it was like to hear your named called as the 2012 COA.

A. I didn't actually hear my name get called. It was surreal. When Wilma started reading about the winner, she began with a quote, which is my philosophy, and I thought, "Wow, I need to know who this is because we have the same philosophy!"

And then she said SNAP! and I knew. But by then, I was being surrounded in hugs from VPW members so I didn't hear anything else.

Q. What does this mean to you personally and professionally?

A. I love all that I do - work, volunteering, NFPW - but sometimes I do get tired. This award re-energized me and makes me want to do more.

It's also quite humbling. I've always admired the COA nominees and winners. I'm amazed and inspired by their careers and to think I'm part of that group is still just a bit unbelievable.

Q. List one important thing you learned at each step in your career as a professional communicator.

A. I've learned so many things. Early on, I learned that I didn't know it all, even if I thought I did. I've learned to listen more. I've learned to follow my passion and do what I love. I've learned to live on the edge.

Q. Describe your current role with ChildFund International.

A. I'm director of communications, which means I guide all of our communications efforts. I'm involved with brand, publications, reputation management, social media, media relations, website development, internal communications. It's a lot. But at the end of the day, it's all to help vulnerable children and it's an incredible feeling to know you are making a difference.

Q. How many countries have you visited and in what role? How have those experiences changed your life?

A. Traveling for ChildFund is not like traveling for vacation or NFPW. We work in the poorest of the poor areas, and while I have always counted my blessings, I really count them now. I don't take clean water for granted. I don't take health care for granted.

One thing I love, though, is that wherever I go, the children have the best smiles.

I've been fortunate that in my short time with ChildFund, I've been to Senegal, The Gambia, Thailand, Panama, Indonesia and Zambia. I'm headed to Ecuador next.

The trip to Zambia was with Gene Simmons of KISS. He sponsors more than 140 children and this was his first trip to Africa. He met 12 of the children, and he was blown away by the poverty.

The trip to Thailand was a week-long leadership program. Amazing! I learned so much, and it really changed how I lead and perform. It was a great gift from ChildFund.

Panama was a two-day trip that involved meetings in a windowless room. But on the night we stayed over, we had dinner at a restaurant overlooking the Panama Canal, so I watched the big ships pass.

I'm fascinated by how it all happens. I had to read David McCullough's book "The Path Between the Seas" as a result.

My trips are always jam-packed, but I still find a way to get a sense of the region that I'm visiting. And I take tons of photos.

I also love the travel with NFPW. I actually have a goal that resulted from attending my second national conference, which was in North Dakota.

It's to visit all 50 states by the time I'm 50. Thank goodness the conference will be in Alaska in my 50th year!

Our members put on great conferences with great travel. Because of NFPW, I've been to Iowa, Nebraska, Washington, Oregon and Kentucky for the first time. And I've been able to return to some of my favorite states, including Colorado.

I'm still holding out for a chapter in Hawaii!

Q. Why did you decide to step forward in 2009 to fill the role of NFPW president when that need arose?

A. NFPW has afforded me so many opportunities. I've developed greater confidence because of the networking and sessions I've attended at conferences, for example.

It's an amazing organization, but I sensed an apathy building and I didn't want us to go backwards. I want the organization to be around for decades more to give others opportunities.

I also found myself complaining that we weren't doing things, such as social media. I don't like to complain; I'd rather find a solution. So, I decided to do something and that something was run for president.

I didn't make the decision lightly. I spoke at length with former president Meg Hunt. Everyone has heard me talk about the river walk. That was the start. Then I met with Pam Stallsmith and Julie Campbell of VPW and floated my thoughts, and a campaign was born. Lots of members offered support, which encouraged me.

Q. What were the biggest challenges and greatest rewards?

A. The biggest challenge was overcoming the lack of inertia, but I was fortunate to find many members who wanted to serve on the board with me. They had lots of energy, too, and together we made a lot of progress, which is continuing. I'm really excited about that.

The rewards were so many. I visited several affiliates, including Pennsylvania, which is my home state. My mum joined me for the talk I gave, and that was really special.

Q. Tell us something about yourself that most NFPW members don't know.

A. Most members think I'm an extrovert, but I'm really an introvert. At the end of the day, I am content to be at home curled up with a book. I really enjoy conferences, but in the evening, I need to go back to my hotel to recharge.

Q. Has the COA honor sunk in yet?

A. No, I feel a bit silly when I liken it to the Oscars but I really was honored just to have been nominated. And I was truly speechless when I went to the podium to accept. Now I get why the actors often have nothing to say initially. I never expected to win, so I said the only thing I could, "Wow!"

Later, Betty Packard, who won a few years ago, said to me, "You're one of us now!" That was really cool. And I had my photo taken with all the national COAs that were present at conference.

I know I'll continue to be amazed by all of the COA nominees in the years to come. We really have amazing women - and men - who inspire. I'm honored to be included.