Membership Milestones 2022

NFPW recognizes its members who’ve reached 25 years of membership and every five-year increment thereafter with short biographies. 


Woman’s Press Club of Indiana
Joan Schoemaker Bey joined NFPW and Woman’s Press Club of Indiana while working as a women’s page reporter for The Indianapolis Times, a Scripps Howard daily and Sunday newspaper. The food pages Joan wrote won the 1952 Vesta Award from the American Meat Institute for outstanding excellence in the presentation of news about food. The retiree also was a public relations consultant for various nonprofit organizations in the Indianapolis area. 


man’s Press Club of Indiana
Helen Corey, Indiana’s 2017 Communicator of Achievement, is the first Syrian-American woman elected to state office in Indiana. During John F. Kennedy’s presidential campaign, she was freelancing for the Terre Haute Star-Tribune and handled his local speaking engagements. The cookbook author, publisher, lecturer and educator celebrates Middle Eastern food and heritage. Her favorite recipe? “The recipe of understanding one another's customs and cultures that I believe can create world peace and brotherhood.” Helen received Indiana’s highest honor, the Sagamore of the Wabash.  


California Press Women
Few people like to admit they were born the same year as the organization that honors them, but such is the case with Betty Packard Voris, who also celebrates 55 years as a working journalist. The 2006 NFPW Communicator of Achievement has been a newspaper reporter, national magazine editor, publisher, public speaker, seminar leader, journalism instructor and management consultant. Speaking and writing have taken her to 17 countries. An NFPW Education Fund director, Betty runs the silent auction at conferences, served 10 years on the NFPW board and has chaired California’s high school contest for more than 35 years. 

Press Women of Texas
Glena Pfennig joined NFPW while working at the Baytown Sun. Her journalism career encompassed work in industry, college and state public relations, newspaper editing and reporting, sports information and advertising. She retired from ExxonMobil public relations as an editor in 2001. She won 50 state and three national writing, photography and editing awards. Among her volunteer activities, Glena served as an officer in communications organizations and is former president of Baytown University of Texas Exes. Glena and her husband live at Longhorn Village in Austin. She writes a health and wellness newsletter and plays harmonica in the Sip and Sing band. 


Louisiana Press Women
After ending a decades-long career in newspapers, Marsha Shuler continues to use her journalistic skills as policy manager for the State of Louisiana Commissioner of Administration. She previously was an award-winning state government reporter for The Advocate newspaper in Baton Rouge. A graduate of Centenary College, Marsha worked for The Shreveport Times before leaving in 1980 for the Baton Rouge job. The former president of NFPW and LPW also has been NFPW’s first and second vice president, secretary and regional director, and continues to serve as First Amendment chair. She also has been president and served in other offices with the Capitol Correspondents Association, which produces an annual Gridiron show that raises money for causes, including mass communications scholarships.

Nebraska Press Women
Glennis Nagel retired in 2013 after 40 years as media relations director for the University of Nebraska at Kearney. She also taught reporting, feature writing and photography, and edited the UNK research magazine New Frontiers. Before UNK, Glennis was the Kearney Hub city editor and a radio talk show host. She has been president, contest chair and publicity chair for NPW and was its 2005 Communicator of Achievement. Glennis currently serves on the NPW board and the steering committee of the Kearney Action Network. She continues to grow her writing skills as a member of Writer's Block, a Kearney-area organization of writers and authors. 

Judy Nelson retired from her position as a communications specialist for the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and is an author with several published books. She began her career as a reporter and also worked as an editor and columnist for Nebraska newspapers. Her fervent beginning-reporter’s belief in the importance of a free, fair, accurate and insightful press only continues to grow. 

Virginia Professional Communicators
Gwen Woolf enjoyed a 42-year career as a reporter and magazine editor with The Free Lance-Star, a daily newspaper in Fredericksburg, Virginia. After her retirement, she continued to write freelance travel arts, culture and travel stories for Recreation News, a leisure magazine covering the Middle Atlantic states. Past president of the Virginia affiliate, Gwen has received VPC’s Communicator of Achievement and Distinguished Service awards, as well as more than 125 national and state journalism awards for writing, editing and page design. She formerly served on the NFPW board as director of the professional communications contest, the high school communications contest and the Communicator of Achievement Award contest, and as publications assistant.  


Alabama Media Professionals
Carolanne Griffith Roberts learned from the best – her mother, Ann Griffith, who worked for the Charleston Daily Mail in West Virginia and founded NFPW’s West Virginia chapter. Carolanne's journey has included covering entertainment as a TV/theater critic in Fort Lauderdale; public relations at the West Virginia Culture Center; and 26 years as travel/features editor, food columnist and editor of more than 40 annual state “Living” sections for Southern Living. Today she freelances for Southern Living plus a host of universities and corporations. Carolanne also writes and produces a weekly blog to inform and entertain during these times. “The best story, the best words are always the next,” she says. 

Colorado Press Women
Marilyn Saltzman has worked as a journalist, school district communications manager who helped manage the Columbine tragedy aftermath, college adjunct professor and PR consultant. An avid volunteer, she is on the board of Mountain Resource Center, a community service nonprofit, and secretary of the Conifer Area Council. Marilyn served as president of Colorado Press Women and the Colorado Chapter, National School Public Relations Association. She co-chaired the 2006 NFPW conference in Denver. She is co-author of four nonfiction books and the NFPW award-winning memoir ``Your Love Is Blasting in My Heart, A Grandmother's Journey." 

Louisiana Press Women
Madelyn Lamb retired in 2014 after serving as editor of the People (lifestyle) section of The Advocate in Baton Rouge for 19 years. She took the position after serving as associate editor of the paper’s weekend entertainment section. Previously, she worked at The Shreveport Times in several positions, including lifestyle writer, food editor and weekend section editor. Madelyn has won awards from UPI, NFPW, Louisiana Press Women and the Louisiana Press Association. She has served LPW as historian, treasurer, contest chair and youth contest chair. 

Nebraska Press Women
Mary Pat Finn-Hoag spent her nearly 44-year career at the Norfolk Daily News, specializing in agriculture. The publication, now the only family-owned daily newspaper in Nebraska, dates to 1887. Mary Pat says one of the best moves of her life was joining NPW and NFPW, dating to 7/7/77. Retirement offers her more time for travel and her volunteer roles. 

New Jersey (at-large)
Joanne H. Rajoppi has served as a public sector-elected administrator for more than 30 years in New Jersey and wrote about the experience in “Women in Office: Getting There and Staying There.” She authored two Civil War nonfiction accounts based on her great-grandfather’s letters: “New Brunswick in the Civil War: The Brunswick Boys and the Great Rebellion” and “Northern Women in the Aftermath of the Civil War.” She says her NFPW membership has brought her into contact with “the best and brightest writers and observers. Thank goodness for NFPW and its supportive members.” 

Oregon Press Women
Jean Kempe-Ware’s immigrant mother ingrained in her the importance of the First Amendment so, of course, Jean joined NFPW. As a journalist, she investigated equal pay for women long before the women’s movement. She achieved Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) and directed PR at Lewis & Clark College, Oregon Food Bank and other nonprofits. She’s earned many awards, but one lit up the sky: The 2013 Waterfront Blues Festival, the food bank’s top fundraiser, dedicated its Fourth of July fireworks in Jean’s honor. She coached APR candidates for many years, emphasizing ethical standards. 

From Alaska to Alabama, Katherine Keniston loves attending NFPW conferences and engaging in the memorable tour adventures. The former NFPW secretary and historian had a 35-year career in health care communications after working as a section editor at daily newspapers in Oregon and Colorado. An Oregon State University graduate, the avid Beavers fan helps fund an Oregon State University forestry scholarship named in memory of her parents. The New York Times crossword puzzle completes Katherine's day. 

Marily Quesnel found a home in journalism while in high school. Later this interest paired with politics when she worked on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., and attended some Watergate hearings. Her journalism career included work on weekly newspapers in Portland and as a freelancer for the Oregon Journal daily paper. Later Marily worked in public relations for the University of Portland. After earning an MBA, she moved into information systems and is presently working on admissions systems at Lewis & Clark College. 

Tennessee Media Women
Paula F. Casey is a former newspaper journalist who published “The Perfect 36: Tennessee Delivers Woman Suffrage” as a book, e-book and audiobook. Her 13-minute DVD/streaming video "Generations: American Women Win the Vote" covers 72 years of suffrage history. Paula has worked on placement of public art honoring the suffragists across Tennessee. She co-founded the Tennessee Woman Suffrage Heritage Trail (, which has received national recognition from NFPW and the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution. She speaks on the nonviolent struggle for American women to win the right to vote and the dearth of women in statuary. 

Press Women of Texas
Kay Casey believes that her best work samples are her former students now engaged in journalism and related professions. Thirty years in a journalism classroom advising student newspaper and yearbook staffs were great training for a second career as volunteer communicator for community groups that support education and occupation opportunities for women and girls, assist those in need and protect nature. Kay was PWT president as Texas hosted NFPW in 2009, has been an officer for 40 years, and has won state and national awards for website and print creations. 

Virginia Professional Communicators
Clissa S. England, a graduate of the Henry W. Grady School of Journalism at the University of Georgia, is a retired editor. She previously served at the Richmond Times-Dispatch as special sections editor for 30 years after working at The Petersburg Progress-Index as a reporter and city editor. 


Alaska Professional Communicators
Diane Walters has retired from her career with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Alaska District where she was a writer-editor. From 1984 to 1992, she was a public affairs specialist in U.S. Army Public Affairs offices in Grafenwoehr and Baumholder, Germany. In Alaska Professional Communicators, Diane is treasurer, has served as president and vice president, and co-chaired the 2015 NFPW conference in Anchorage. She has a B.A. in French and communications from the University of the Pacific. 

Kansas Professional Communicators
Carol Hockersmith of Manhattan, Kansas, got out of the office by retirement in September 2019 before Kansas State University required her group to work from home for COVID restrictions. (She knew it was time to rotate out of the workplace when she found herself filtering conversations so as not to sound old around her 30- and 40-year-old co-workers.) It worked out great for her. A former employer reached out right away and asked if she had time in her days of leisure to occasionally edit online child care courses. “Sure,” she said. That’s what she does for fun when she’s not reading, walking or gardening. 

Louisiana Press Women
During her career as a newspaper writer and editor, Cheramie Sonnier of Baton Rouge has breakfasted with Julia Child, gotten cooking tips from Paul Prudhomme and toured vineyards with Fess Parker. She’s flown in an open-cockpit biplane, accompanied National Guardsmen searching for flood victims, investigated political corruption and has been awed by Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross. She’s covered judges, police chiefs and murderers; farmers and fishermen; chefs and great home cooks. Cheramie retired from The Advocate in 2015 and had continued as a regular columnist until spring 2020. 

Nebraska Press Women
Barb Bierman Batie wears many hats. She and her husband, Don, own and operate a family farming corporation near Lexington, Nebraska. A freelance journalist, Barb specializes in agricultural writing and photography. She writes two award-winning columns, “Whirlwinds” and “Platte Valley Farm-Her." She is active in her church and civic organizations, including Dawson County and Nebraska Farm Bureau and is a 25-year 4-H leader. A former exchange student to Germany with the IFYE program, she serves on the IFYE Alumni Association of the USA board of directors and is currently the board’s secretary. 

New Mexico Press Women
Anne Behl joined NFPW when she was a freelance public relations consultant in the early 1980s. Throughout careers as a newspaper reporter, freelance writer, human resources/risk management professional, and now a retiree who volunteers as a local museum exhibit curator, she has maintained her membership for the resources and the friendships. Anne is a University of New Mexico graduate and 54-year New Mexico resident. Writing and other forms of creativity are the highlights of her life after family. 

New York (at-large)
Karen Feld, an award-winning media personality in both the written and spoken word, spent most of her career in Washington, D.C., where she was active in the leadership of Capital Press Women. She penned a nationally syndicated personality column, dished political gossip on-air with Joan Rivers and shared her unique insights on talk shows. Karen edited an airline in-flight publication and city magazine, and her articles have appeared in major dailies, magazines and online. She’s a regular contributor to and AllWays Traveller. She’s received many national journalism awards from NFPW, Society for Professional Journalists, American Society of Journalists and Authors, and North American Travel Journalists Association. She’s a member of The Silurians Press Club, SPJ and the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. Her website is

Ohio Professional Writers
Jo-Ann Huff Albers, retired founding director of the Western Kentucky University School of Journalism & Broadcasting, worked for The Cincinnati Enquirer for 20 years. Between leaving The Enquirer in 1981 and going to WKU in 1987, she was editor and publisher of Sturgis Journal (Michigan) and Public Opinion (Pennsylvania) and was a Gannett general news executive. Jo-Ann is a past president of the Ohio Newspaper Women’s Association and national Women in Communications Inc., and former board member of the American Society of News Editors and the Journalism & Women Symposium. In retirement, she is a volunteer editorial consultant for The Cincinnati Herald, a Black weekly, gardens and is working on her 67th sleeping mat for homeless people. Banjo lessons have been temporarily suspended.  

Virginia Professional Communicators
In her years with NFPW, Nancy Wright Beasley has gone from a novice writer to a playwright. She began as a state correspondent for The Richmond News Leader in 1979, morphed into a corporate writer, then served as a personal columnist and contributing editor for Richmond magazine for 16 years. Her first nonfiction book, “Izzy’s Fire: Finding Humanity in the Holocaust,” (2005) took NFPW first-place honors. In 2006, she was named as one of Ten Outstanding Women in Central Virginia, as well as VPW’s Communicator of the Year. In 2015, she published “The Little Lion: A Hero in the Holocaust” as her thesis for her MFA in children’s literature at Hollins University. She has collaborated to write the one-act play “Saving Sara” based on “The Little Lion.” 


North Carolina Press Club
Jo Ann Mathews joined Illinois Woman’s Press Association and NFPW because the late Joanne Zerkel, her editor at Star Newspapers in Tinley Park, Illinois, was an active member and promoted both organizations. Jo Ann joined North Carolina Press Club when she and her husband, Steve, moved south in 2000. She values the friendships she’s made and the knowledge she’s gained because of these groups. She continues to write feature stories as a freelance writer. She has published three e-books based on her blog, Women and Adversity. 

Media Women of South Carolina
Linda Powers Bilanchone worked as a reporter for the Miami News after she graduated from the University of Miami in 1962. When she and her husband moved to Spartanburg, South Carolina, Linda joined the faculty of Wofford College to teach communications for 39 years until retiring in 2017. She also was active in local government, serving four years on the Spartanburg City Council and 24 years as commissioner of public works for Spartanburg.

Beverly Knight served as director of public relations for Dorman High School in Spartanburg, South Carolina, and continued PR duties when she became the school district’s language arts coordinator. She has served as secretary and vice president of MWSC and has won numerous awards in the NFPW communications contest. In 1998, Beverly was named South Carolina’s Communicator of the Year. After retiring from public school education, she has continued to work as a freelance writer and editor for local newspapers and magazines and has volunteered to assist local nonprofits with public relations. 

South Dakota (at-large)
Laurie Hallstrom has lived and worked in western South Dakota all her life. Since joining NFPW as a member of South Dakota Press Women, she held several affiliate offices including vice president of membership, college contest director and state contest director, and was treasurer. A few years ago, when state membership dwindled, she advised members to shift to at-large NFPW membership. Laurie has earned numerous state awards and a handful of national awards over the years. Since 2004, she has been editor of the West River Catholic in Rapid City.  

Press Women of Texas
Since his 1965 high school anthology, Larry Arnold has written, edited, published, and won awards for everything from fiction to technical manuals, including co-authoring the first Texas rape medical examination protocol and getting his novel, “The Mark of Abel,” published. His careers include U.S. Army officer, construction engineer, social worker, technical writer, PR flack, website manager and firearms instructor. He is currently a staff writer for the Hill Country Community Journal where he writes weekly personality profiles and teacher features. His hobbies for 55 years are choral music and storytelling. Larry and NFPW member Bonnie Arnold raised two daughters and have grandchildren. 

Virginia Professional Communicators
A native of Charlotte, North Carolina, Bonnie Ross Cooper graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1972 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She worked as a reporter and editor, retiring as editor-in-chief of the Danville (Virginia) Register & Bee and then working in freelance writing and editing. Bonnie’s community work has ranged from the area Community Foundation, YWCA and chamber boards to the state subcommittee for the 400th anniversary of Jamestown. She has been married to Jack for 45 years, and they hike with their active 8-year-old dog, Beowulf. 

Deborah Wakefield is vice president of communications and public relations for CityPASS. Since joining the company in 2010, she has worked with more than 6,000 international and domestic journalists. Previously, Deborah worked for 17 years as vice president of communications for the Travel Portland convention and visitors bureau. During that time, she also was executive editor for Travel Portland magazine. She earned a bachelor’s in journalism from the University of Washington and a master’s in public relations from Norfolk State University. 


Alabama Media Professionals
Elaine Hobson Miller is a semi-retired freelance writer with a B.A. in journalism from Samford University in Alabama. She was the first female to cover the city hall beat for the Birmingham Post-Herald and was staff writer for one Birmingham magazine and editor of another. She has written for dozens of regional and national publications and contributes regularly to Discover the Essence of St. Clair and LakeLife 24/7, two county-wide magazines. AMP’s Communicator of Achievement and NFPW’s COA runner-up in 2017, Elaine has served her affiliate as president and contest director. She blogs occasionally about traveling and life with horses, llamas, dogs and cats on Facebook and at 

Arizona Professional Writers
Pam Knight Stevenson has been doing historical research and writing for more than 40 years. She’s written and produced award-winning TV documentaries and done news, public affairs and investigative reporting. Pam was news managing editor of the Phoenix CBS TV station and production manager for the Phoenix PBS station. As owner of a video production company, she has interviewed hundreds for oral history interviews, from Harvey Girls to Navajo Code Talkers. The former APW president produced a documentary about APW and women in journalism for APW’s 50th anniversary. 

North Dakota Professional Communicators
Becky Koch retired as North Dakota State University agriculture communication director in 2020. Since 1991, she had worked on marketing, writing, editing, staff development and strategic planning. Becky has a B.S. in ag journalism and an M.S. in ag education from Kansas State University. She served as 2000 and 2001 NDPC president and was 2006 NDPC Communicator of Achievement. She co-chaired the 2002 NFPW conference in Bismarck and has received numerous contest awards. Now semi-retired and living in Arizona, she teaches a class remotely for NDSU and works on a few freelance projects. 

Woman’s Press Club of Indiana
Barbara Ralls loves her memories of NFPW people and events. Her first conference was in Las Vegas in 1994; she and her partner, Amy Ira, started with the pre-tour in Phoenix. Incoming president Gwen White and tour leader Mary Jane Shoun were so much fun that “I wanted to be part of NFPW forever.” The next year on the Jackson, Mississippi, pre-tour, Barb and housemates bonded as “Scarletts.” She retired in March 2017 after 38-plus years at The Herald-Times in Bloomington. She was news editor, supervising the copy desk and doing the front page, and associate editor. 

Celebrating 25 years

Alabama Media Professional
Ann Harshbarger Halpern began building her career after receiving her B.A. in communications and media from Florida State University. During the course of her freelance writing business, Ann delivered feature articles and corporate communications in fields including finance, dining, medicine and real estate until retiring in 2007. Her writing earned local, state, regional and national awards. She also has received recognition for her volunteer activities. Ann has served AMP as treasurer, vice president membership and president, and was the chapter’s Communicator of Achievement in 2002 and 2020. She was part of the 2017 NFPW hosting conference team. Currently, Ann contributes Alabama news to the monthly NFPW e-letter and writes an NFPW-focused column in the monthly AMP newsletter.

Kansas Professional Communicators
From helicopter mechanic, newspaper reporter and cookbook author to award-winning documentary producer, wine judge and editor, Beth Bower is always up for a challenge. She started writing in school and never stopped earning awards for her work from the Kansas Press Association and NFPW. Beth was the 2021 KPC Communicator of Achievement. She is past president of Wichita Professional Communicators, a KPC affiliate, and for several years chaired WPC’s annual mixer event. In her spare time, she volunteers with local nonprofits to raise awareness and funds and is working on a cookbook. She also chairs the American Institute of Food and Wine Wichita chapter, a group she helped found 30 years ago.

Teresa Veazey is the public relations manager at the Wichita Art Museum, a role she’s held since June 2013. Prior to WAM, Teresa was the PR manager at the Ulrich Museum of Art at Wichita State University. A proud University of Kansas grad, Teresa’s first job out of college was in 1997 at the Society of Decorative Painters, and it was then that she joined Wichita Press Women (now Wichita Professional Communicators). She is also a member of the Rotary Club of Wichita, KU Alumni Association, Public Relations Society of America-Kansas chapter and the American Marketing Association-Wichita chapter.

Virginia Professional Communicators
A past VPC president, Sande Snead is a seasoned marketing and communications consultant having worked for state agencies, nonprofits, associations, a Fortune 500 and an advertising agency. She has a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in mass communications and has won more than 75 state and national writing, marketing and public relations awards. Sande was named the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Virginia Woman of the Year in 2012. Sande’s work has appeared in books, magazines and newspapers, and she has pitched stories that have appeared on “Good Morning America” and “CBS Evening News” and in The Washington Post.