The Past Is the Future

Each year at the NFPW conference I hear stories from our distinguished members about their early experiences in journalism. Years later as they share the stories, we can laugh and marvel at what they experienced.

Most of us believe that we’ve come so far from those days. But as with all history it’s good to not forget. And several recent studies point out that women still aren’t equal to their male counterparts.

The American Association of University Women reported in a study a few years ago that women right out of college make only 80 percent as much as their male peers. It’s also one of the reasons the National Council for Research on Women has begun promoting mentors and peer support for younger women.

And here’s where NFPW can come in. How simple would it be to partner one of our experienced members with a first-timer at the next national conference? That’s one of Marianne Wolf-Astrauskas’ ideas for the conference next year. The two can meet in Chicago “Face to Face” and then continue the mentoring via phone, email, text, Twitter or whatever the newest way to communicate will be.

We also don’t want to lose the lessons and stories of those who blazed the trails for us. Over the next few months, I plan to interview former NFPW presidents about their experiences and lessons learned. Our membership is rich with experience; we need to capture it and learn and grow from it.

NFPW also provides newer, less experienced members with outstanding leadership and learning opportunities. Assisting with a conference or serving on the state affiliate board or the NFPW board provides opportunities that often enhance leadership opportunities in the career sector. I learned my event planning skills by coordinating several conferences for Virginia Press Women and eventually co-chairing the 2007 NFPW conference in Richmond. When I began my career, I would not have known the first thing to do.

I first heard about social media years ago at an NFPW conference. I remember sitting in the room (I don’t even recall what state we were in) and being completely overwhelmed. I wasn’t alone. But I realized that was the future,and I needed to understand it. Today I’m on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter and have my own blog.

Without NFPW I would be behind the curve.

So let’s learn and grow,taking the wisdom of those who have gone before us. And let’s help our younger, newer members so that they, too, can continue to blaze the trail for the next generation.

3 thoughts on “The Past Is the Future

  1. Marianne says:

    Thank you for the comment. It has always been first and foremost on my mind how much we would all benefit from a little good old fashion hospitality: on the job, at home, with friends, family, and members of organizations to which we belong. Mentoring starts when we make the effort to go out of our own comfort zone and share what we’ve learned along our life’s journey. Mentoring by a member of NFPW led to my attending my first conference in Virginia. I’m a firm believer that making an effort, however small, gets you a big return – an investment in a friendship. It can turn your life around. NFPW certainly has turned around mine!

  2. Sandi,
    Thanks for sharing. I’m always inspired after I leave an NFPW conference. The catch is trying to do it. I’m finding that blogging allows me to return to my writing roots. My twice weekly goal of posting also keeps me disciplined — my own self imposed deadline.

  3. Sandi Latimer says:

    First time I heard about Facebook was at your conference in Virginia. Not until a friend this past spring mentioned she was on Facebook did I try it. And like you, I learned more about blogging at San Antonio and set up my account when I got home.

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