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I’ve been so pleased to be able to stay in touch with so many members... I’m honored to have so many friends because of this chapter.


Nancy Severa Zimmers

SIU School of Medicine

Past Presidents Share Their Memories


I remember being very glad that we had formed a WICI chapter in Springfield.  I liked being with other professionals and discussing issues of interest to us. I was glad that there was a PR/news mix because I wasn’t very savvy about PR so had much to learn. (full text of survey)
1978 – Ann Gillies Craxton, WICS-TV


I’ve been so pleased to be able to stay in touch with so many members….I’m honored to have so many friends because of this chapter. 
1979 – Nancy Severa Zimmers, SIU School of Medicine


The fact that I supported gender equality made me supportive of that aspect of the national Women in Communications mission. But my main goal was to build an organization that would put on great professional development programs in Springfield. My first desire was to have that development focus on journalism. 
1980 – Jeff Brody, State Journal-Register


I learned that I needed to be part of something bigger than myself and that I could gain much both professionally and personally from being in a group of smart, capable leaders.

1981 – Martha Karatz, Illinois State Museum


I was always proud of the fact that public relations and news professional found so much common ground. I was 20-something during my years with the chapter – my personal and professional growth was great, hard to measure. Being president was my first meaningful leadership role. 
1981 – Carol Fowler, Capital Information Bureau


I think my year as chapter president really allowed me to develop into a better leader, not something I expected. 
1982 – Beth Bosch Murphy, Office of the Illinois Attorney General


At the time I was president, I was just a few years out of college and just beginning to move into more managerial roles, so it provided valuable experience in team building, leading meetings, building consensus, etc. 
1985 – Linda Anderson, Illinois Energy and Natural Resources


I definitely learned leadership skills and improved my ability to work with others while chapter president. I think those skills helped me later when I became communication department chair at UIS.
1986 – Mary Bohlen, Sangamon State University


The proudest moment I had as a member of AWC was under the presidency of Denise Joehl when our chapter brought Gloria Steinem to Springfield to speak. I was part of the team that coordinated and promoted her. It was a great success – we had over 900 people attend. Some of the women I worked with are my friends to this day.
1987 – Melinda McDonald, Teachers’ Retirement System


I learned to delegate, which was easy to do since I was surrounded by intelligent, competent, and strong women. 
1988 – Marygael Cullen, Illinois Historic Preservation Agency


Being active in AWC and moving into leadership was very  empowering. It gave us the chance to do things that we didn’t always get to do at work – things like manage budgets, create events, set big goals and accomplish them…and sharing all this with smart and ambitious women. 
1989 – Joan C. Freitag, Children’s Miracle Network Telethon & Hanson Professional Services


I remember working with many others, and Denise Joehl leading the way, to bring Gloria Steinem to Springfield. I did get a chance to meet her briefly and had books signed (for each of my sisters). But I didn’t get to see her speech. I was helping to staff the ticket table out front. 
1992 – Jean Richards, Hanson Engineers


Winning AWC’s Professional Communicator Award in 2011 was a wonderful surprise, and an honor that meant more than any other recognitions because I have such a high record and warm feelings for AWC friends and colleagues!
1993 – Jan Grimes, Illinois State Library


Many of my dearest friendships started as AWC connections. I learned so much from this year as we held our first Paint the Town Red fundraiser for Literacy: We are much more successful when led by many than led by a few. That volunteers are simply that – volunteers…be careful not to burn each other out. Realizing that each person is motivated by something totally different – and as a leader it’s your job to figure out what that is. Lastly – wow, these women are resourceful! 
1994 –  Christy Broccardo, Illinois Association of REALTORS®


I love that this organization has remained on the forefront of the field and continues to educate its members.
1996 – Shannon Heisler, Levi, Ray and Shoup


Though specific memories are somewhat fuzzy given that I was president 20 years ago, I recall the overall feeling of support from the other officers, and past presidents as I navigated through my tenure. 
1997 – Betsy Schroeder, Frye-Williamson Press


I had the pleasure of working with a dedicated and hardworking board that was committed to increasing membership, providing quality yet cost-effective programs and working with other AWC chapters to combine resources for future meetings and presentations. We held several meetings at local businesses to keep costs low that year. 
1998 – Charlotte Curry, Hanson Engineers


I learned so much about communications from working closely with the other professional communicators on the board that year….I’d say by necessity my organizational skills benefited most during my tenure as president. 
1999 – Patti Thompson, Illinois Department of Nuclear Safety


I think that was my first board presidency and there was a bit of a learning curve there for me in organizing and guiding the personalities and challenges.  BUT, you could say it really whetted my appetite for working with teams to accomplish goals and projects.  It became a real strength in my career. 
2000 – Paula Drieci, Drieci Publishing & Consulting


For me, our best time came after my presidency when I got together a couple of past presidents to form the “Past Presidents Club” an unofficial group whose intent was to keep past presidents engaged in the organization. This group planned an all-day workshop, which was well received. 
2001 – Naomi Velazquez Greene, St. John’s Hospital


Working with women, for women, is the best.  As a president you learn how to listen to all sides and then make informed decisions, something that still resonates with me and how I interact with colleagues.
2002 – Merle Shiffman, SIU School of Medicine


I still keep in touch with nearly everyone who served with with me on the board.  Either socially, or upon occasion, I’ll reach out to them for advice.  I still admire them all. 
2003-2006 – Chris Smith, United Way of Central Illinois


I remember we worked hard to increase membership and update the constitution and by-laws.  This was one of the most fabulous groups of women I have ever worked with. 
2006-2008 – Linda Dawson, Illinois Association of School Boards
(Linda passed away on Dec. 3, 2017 – Obituary)


One of my favorite things about AWC Springfield is the heart and soul of it. It is all about relationships. I continue to be connected to too many to list. This group is there to encourage not only professionally, but personally as well. 
2008-2011 – Lisa Rigoni, Springfield College/Association of Illinois Electric Coops


We hosted the national conference during one of my two years as president. Our committee rocked the planning and execution of the conference. National was very impressed with our efforts and the subsequent conference attendance. I was very proud to be part of that team. 
2013-2015 – Jessie Decker, Orthopedic Center of Illinois


I was very proud of the April 2016 half day social media program “Social media … what’s your strategy?” we hosted at UIS and raised money for the AWC scholarship fund. The committee did a great job organizing, planning, and finding speakers and topics.
2015 – Kara Kienzler, Illinois Association of School Boards


I’m always impressed and encouraged by how much our members look out for each other professionally.Our members are generous with their time and talents, and they set high standards, for themselves and for the chapter. 
2016 – Dawn Tebrinke, Illinois REALTORS®

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