Membership Milestones 2021

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


Washington Press Association

Barbara Nilson joined NFPW as co-owner of the Quincy Valley Post-Register, the third offset newspaper in Washington state. She has been a newspaper columnist, edited a historical newsletter and has written travel articles and historical books. Nilson taught high school journalism for 20 years, earning the Journalism Education Association’s highest recognition. A former longtime president of Washington Press Association, she was named her affiliate’s Communicator of Achievement. Nilson directed the national high school communications contest and two national conferences in Seattle. She’s written six books since she retired from her career. 


Nebraska Press Women

Instead of using her college scholarship, Gwen Lindberg married and had four sons. Luckily, her husband’s dream was to own a newspaper. So she used her English skills and became a columnist, editor and publisher when they purchased the Sargent Leader, then the West Point News. One of a dozen journalists permitted to enter Vietnam in 1988, Lindberg also went to Cuba in 2000. After sponsoring a Vietnamese family, she gave more than 60 talks about the experience, including to incarcerated veterans in the Nebraska State Penitentiary. 


Kansas Professional Communicators

Jane Lee of Kansas City, Missouri, began her career as a reporter in the mid-1960s in Lawrence, Kansas. When she started her family, she began working part time in public relations, and in 1984 opened Jane Lee Communications. She won numerous awards, including the NFPW sweepstakes award in 1998. Lee has served as her affiliate president and on the NFPW board. Retired since 2016, she along with her husband enjoy their two daughters and two beautiful granddaughters, ages 7 and 2, all now living in Kansas City. 

Wyoming (At Large)
Elaine Hough started her journalism career while in high school writing historical features for the weekly Buffalo (Wyoming.) Bulletin. After graduating from the University of Colorado, she worked (in between marriages and children) for the Boulder Daily Camera, Jackson Hole Guide, Buffalo Bulletin and Casper Star-Tribune before going into public relations. Her 27 years at Wyoming Medical Center in Casper included preserving and writing about the hospital’s history. For several years, she also wrote for the Casper College Western History Center newsletter. 


Colorado Press Women

Marlys Duran, a 1960 graduate of the University of New Mexico, retired in 2002 after 40-plus years as a journalist at the Albuquerque Tribune, Denver’s suburban Sentinel newspapers and the Rocky Mountain News. She was treasurer of Colorado Press Women for 25 years. Duran has three children, four grandchildren and three great-granddaughters. 

Ohio Professional Writers/At-large
Beth Hurdle Deisher began her professional journalism career in 1969 as a feature writer for a metropolitan daily newspaper. During the ensuing years, she edited education and numismatics publications, with her longest tenure being 27 years as editor of Coin World, from which she retired in 2012. In 2017, she led a national task force on training federal law enforcement officers investigating counterfeiting of U.S. coins. That initiative led to a new public sector nonprofit foundation that continues the mission. A Numismatics Hall of Famer, Deisher is the author or lead editor of 13 numismatics books. 

Washington Press Association

After 30 years at the Washington State University News Service and more than a decade each with WSU’s Edward R. Murrow College of Communication and the University of Idaho School of Journalism and Mass Media, Sue Hinz has settled into writing and editing projects for nonprofit organizations in the Pullman area. She writes and edits the Pullman Regional Hospital auxiliary newsletter and a monthly community news page for The Gladish Community and Cultural Center. Hinz sends congratulations to NFPW for its continued efforts in awarding good journalism and mentoring the beginners in the profession. 


Alaska Professional Communicators

Doris Thomas is membership chairperson, FANet liaison and scholarship fundraiser for Alaska Professional Communicators. A three-time recipient of the affiliate’s Spark Plug Award, she was affiliate president from 1998 to 2000. She retired in 2006 after a 32-year federal public affairs career that included being an internal communications chief, a newspaper editor, magazine editor, media relations specialist and environmental community relations coordinator. Thomas also volunteers with the Coast Guard Auxiliary and a military history preservation organization. 

Arkansas Press Women

In 2009, Eva Marie Pearson retired after spending 35 years in journalism – all at the Pine Bluff (Arkansas) Commercial. For most of those years, she was the Accent (lifestyles) editor, amassing a great deal of recognition for her coverage of events and activities near and dear to her readers. She joined NFPW on her birthday, April 24, 1976, attending her first meeting of Arkansas Press Women. Pearson was named the NFPW Communicator of Achievement in 2000. 

Colorado Press Women
Ruth Anna retired from her public relations firm and moved with her husband to Grand Junction, Colorado. She devotes her time and professional skills to several nonprofits in her new community, raising funds, creating marketing plans and materials, and serves on three boards. She remains passionate about FOI and First Amendment issues and continues as a member of the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition. In 2018, CFOIC honored her as the first recipient of the newly created Ruth Anna Citizen Champion Award, which recognizes a Coloradoan who champions open government. Anna is a past president of NFPW and Colorado Press Women.

Sandy Graham’s early career focused on print media, primarily newspapers: the Albuquerque Tribune (where she joined NFPW), Wall Street Journal, Rocky Mountain News, USA Today and USA Weekend. Returning to Colorado in 1992, Sandy has since freelanced for a variety of clients and also raised thousands of dollars for the Children’s Museum of Denver as a grant writer. Graham is retired in Columbine Valley with her husband, Blair Johnson, and their golden retriever, Emmy. 

Mary Alice Parmelee retired in 2016 after 40 years with the American Water Works Association. She joined AWWA as associate editor for its technical journal and moved to a position as editor of industry and association news, creating first a print publication and later an electronic one. She spent her final years as the manager of staff and budgets for technical and news periodicals. Parmelee began her 50-year career on her high school newspaper, spent a season covering the status of environmental legislation for The Denver Post, and wrote public relations and informational material for technical groups. She serves as treasurer for Colorado Press Women. 

Media Network Idaho

Teri Ehresman has several years’ service on the NFPW board as president (2013 to 2015), first and second vice president, secretary and appointed roles. She is on the NFPW Education Fund board as high school contest director and is the contest director for the NFPW national communications contest. A former Media Network Idaho president, Teri helped organize the NFPW conferences in Idaho in 2008 and Utah in 2013. She spent her career as a newspaper reporter and editor in Idaho Falls and as the communications lead for science-related research for a U.S. Department of Energy contractor. Among her communications recognitions, she was honored by U.S. Congressman Michael Simpson, R-Idaho, for her communications efforts and was part of a Pulitzer-nominated team that covered the 1988 Yellowstone National Park fires. 

New Mexico Press Women

Sherry Robinson is a newspaper reporter, columnist and editor. She began her career as the Navajo Nation stringer for the Gallup Independent, worked at the Albuquerque Journal, and was editor of the New Mexico Business Weekly and business editor of the Albuquerque Tribune. Now she freelances, doing primarily investigative work, and operates a small syndicate. Robinson’s book “I Fought a Good Fight: A History of the Lipan Apaches” won multiple awards, and her fourth book will be released in October by UNM Press. She has been an NMPW Communicator of Achievement, a YWCA Woman on the Move and a Kirtland Air Force Base honorary commander. 

Washington, D.C. – Capital Press Women

Tonda Rush was mentored in her early newspaper journalism days by NFPW past presidents Jean Wiley Huyler and Charlotte Schexnayder. She went to law school and from there to Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press in Washington, D.C., where she was an FOI lawyer, and then on to two newspaper trade associations. She founded American PressWorks Inc., a former NFPW management provider, with NFPW member Carol Pierce. When APW was sold, she and Pierce continued as owners of Six Ideas Before Breakfast to provide public policy services to National Newspaper Association, where Rush also serves as general counsel. APW founded the NFPW FAN network, and Rush continues as a First Amendment adviser to the FAN chairs when needed. She continues to write, publish and lecture on First Amendment values. 

At large (Florida)

June Weltman, a University of Illinois journalism graduate, started her career as a Chicago Tribune reporter. She earned an M.A. at Georgetown University and covered foreign policy for Congressional Quarterly. She was a writer/editor for government agencies, including Peace Corps, and a freelance writer for the Florida Times-Union and other publications. She reviewed children's and teen mysteries for the Times-Union from 2010 to 2018 and taught a University of North Florida adult learning class in international mysteries for seven years. Winner of many NFPW state and national awards, Weltman wrote “Mystery of the Missing Candlestick” for children. 


Alabama Media Professionals

Jane Newton Falany joined Alabama Media Professionals and NFPW after earning a master’s degree in communication from the University of Alabama and starting work in the public relations department at Alabama Power Co. Employed 24 years, she was promoted to editor and manager. After retiring in 2005, she was an instructor at both the University of Alabama and Samford University and has worked as a freelance writer and editor. Jane co-authored “Leeds,” a history of the small Alabama city. A former AMP president, she was co-chair of the 2017 NFPW conference in Birmingham and has finished a two-year term as NFPW treasurer. 

California Press Women

From the first moment she discovered pencil and paper, Jennifer Conroy became obsessed with writing. At age 6, lacking a piece of paper and a pencil, she carved the word “apple” on her mother’s dresser with a bobby pin. From that day forward, her family ensured that writing equipment was available to her. Manual typewriters, electric typewriters, word processors and now, computers, became her constant companions. The keyboard is her muse and excites her as much as that first pencil and paper. 


Alaska Professional Communicators

Judy Griffin, a writer and editor, joined the Alaska affiliate of NFPW after moving from Ohio. She has written and edited for trade and business magazines, advertising copy, newsletters, corporate communications, brochures, user manuals, environmental documents, feasibility and engineering studies, proposals and grant applications. Since 2000, Judy has operated her own business, Word Wrangling. She highly values being outdoors every day, most often hiking with her two dogs. 

Thetus Herndon Smith has served as Alaska Professional Communicators’ newsletter editor and treasurer and for 23 years its Email Express manager, and currently serves on the affiliate’s board. She has won numerous APC and NFPW communications contest awards. Smith retired in 2005 as the National Park Service-Alaska Region editor. She has a B.S. in elementary education and a B.A. in journalism and public communications. Her interest in journalism began with editing her high school newspaper and yearbook. 

Arkansas Press Women

Debbie Miller is a journalism/public relations/communication faculty member at John Brown University. Prior to joining the JBU faculty, she served as a faculty member at the University of Arkansas and a higher education PR professional at NorthWest Arkansas Community College. She was previously an award-winning journalist for newspapers throughout Arkansas. Debbie and her husband, Fred, also a member of NFPW, live in Bentonville, Arkansas. She has been president of Arkansas Press Women and parliamentarian for NFPW.  

Louisiana Press Women

A Louisiana native, Sallie Rose Hollis retired from Louisiana Tech University as an associate professor of journalism and assistant director of the news bureau after a 34-year career at the school. She served as secretary of the Louisiana Press Women in her earlier years. Her headlines have won first place in NFPW's national competition; her news releases and columns have also placed in the contest. She lives in Ruston, Louisiana.

Oregon Press Women

A lifelong learner, Elizabeth “Liz” Kennedy earned a Bachelor of Arts. in English literature from Brown University and 40 years later, a Master of Science in instructional design and technology from Emporia State University. A freelance writer who writes an eight-page weekly update on her senior community, she spent 16 years as the children’s books expert. The past president of Wichita Professional Communicators served on the Kansas Professional Communicators board and as KPC historian. The 2008 Kansas Communicator of Achievement and a winner of communications awards, Kennedy is grateful for the professional development and friendships. 

Virginia Professional Communicators

Clara B. Cox enjoys Virginia Tech and Blacksburg, Virginia, history. She has written and/or edited books, book chapters, magazine and journal articles, speeches, and state and university historical markers on aspects of that history. She is associate editor of the Smithfield Review, dotes on her granddaughters, knits lace scarves, gives presentations, and, most importantly, thanks God that her husband continues to survive pancreatic cancer.  

Cathy Jett worked at The Free Lance-Star, a daily newspaper covering Fredericksburg, Virginia, from 1976 until her retirement in 2020. She started on the wire desk, then became a reporter and eventually an editor. She is a graduate of the University of Richmond, a past president of Virginia Press Women, and now serves on the board of the VPW Foundation. In 2019, she received the Communicator of Achievement Award from Virginia Professional Communicators, as VPW is now known. 


Arizona Professional Writers

Linda F. Radke is the president of Story Monsters LLC and publisher of Story Monsters Ink® magazine. For over 35 years, she has been ahead of the game in producing and marketing award-winning books for all ages. Clients and the media describe Radke as an industry leader in creativity, innovation and customer service. She has received numerous publishing, public relationss and marketing awards, including being named “Book Marketer of the Year” by Book Publicists of Southern California. Tireless in her efforts to help authors make their dreams a reality, Radke's motto is “You can't compromise on quality. Do it right or don't do it all!” 

Nebraska Press Women

Martha Stoddard has reported on everything from state government scandals to an unusually large morning glory and the woman who grew it. Her 36-year reporting career began at the Lincoln Journal, now Lincoln Journal Star, and has continued at the Omaha World-Herald, where she covers state government and the Nebraska Legislature. Martha was the Nebraska Communicator of Achievement in 2009. She has served as the Nebraska Press Women treasurer and has held several board positions. 

North Carolina Press Club
Suzanne Tate is an award-winning author of children’s books and oral histories. Her books have won many NFPW awards. Best known for Suzanne Tate’s Nature Series, she recently published "Tommy Tuna" No. 40 in the series. Her biologically accurate books are used by teachers and marine educators throughout the country. Most notably, two of her books, "Katie K. Whale" and "Izzie Lizzie Alligator," have been named Children’s Choice in a joint project by the International Reading Association and Children’s Book Council.  


Alaska Professional Communicators

Barbara Brown blogs — with illustrations — about the “next” phase in life, Our Third Thirds. She’s published several essays, and her children’s story, “Hanukkah in Alaska,” is in its third printing and available in video. Barbara was a columnist for the Anchorage Daily News for eight years, created a radio show, and wrote and performed in two one-woman plays. A member of the Alaska affiliate, she has received the Gold Nugget Award for professional accomplishment twice. 

Illinois Woman’s Press Association

Suzanne Hanney is editor of Chicago’s StreetWise, one of 100+ street papers and magazines around the world. She was a weekly newspaper editor in Illinois, a writer and “Reagan editor” for the daily newspaper in Dixon (President Reagan’s boyhood hometown), and a freelancer for The American Banker and UPI Sports. A past president of the Illinois Woman’s Press Association, co-chair of the 2010 NFPW Chicago convention and NFPW professional contest chair, she received her journalism degree from Northwestern University. 

Pat Szpekowski, APR, is president of PR Strategies & Communications Inc. in Elgin, Illinois, the advertising/public relations firm she founded in 1987. She is an award-winning national and international freelance writer whose stories and business profiles have been published in newspapers and local, regional and national magazines. She enjoys storytelling and capturing the essence of people, businesses, faith-based institutions and not-for-profits. She is a member of other business and professional organizations, including Public Relations Society of America.  

Women’s Press Club of Indiana

Vivian “Viv” Sade joined WPCI/NFPW in 1996. After a 20-year career in sales and marketing, she took a different path — and a large pay cut — and worked as an editor, columnist and reporter for several weekly and daily newspapers in northeast Indiana. She retired in 2016 and currently works as a freelance writer and blogger. She has garnered more than 155 writing awards from WPCI, NFPW, SPJ and Hoosier State Press Association. Together, she and her husband, Brian, have six children, 12 grandchildren and two snarly cats. She regrets nothing, says too much, laughs too loud and sometimes eats cheesecake for breakfast. 

Nebraska Press Women

A member of Nebraska Press Women since 1996, Carla Chance is an awarding-winning writer, photographer, desktop publisher and graphic designer, with more than 30 years’ experience in various aspects of the communications field. An avid traveler, Chance is a long-time member of the Omaha Blues Society and served as a volunteer board member on many community organizations, including the Bluffs Arts Council, Renaissance Faire, Council Bluffs Beautification Committee and Union Pacific Railroad Museum for numerous years. 


Susan Nolen (profile pending)