Julie Asher, now three-time president of the Washington, D.C., Pro Chapter, is SPJ’s Volunteer of the Month for December. Congratulations, Julie!
Here is how Julie found herself D.C. Pro president once again, in her words:
In late November, our D.C. Pro chapter board found itself without a president. Joe Cirone, elected last spring, resigned, citing increasing duties at work, another major volunteer commitment and other issues. So Region 2 Director Andy Schotz asked me if I could consider finishing Cirone’s term. I’m a former chapter president (2011-2013). I agreed. At our December 1 meeting, the board approved me stepping in, along with three others to fill vacancies on the board. We now have a full board for the first time in a long time.
Among my goals:
- To keep the momentum going on the good programs we have had so far this year.
- Support the major membership renewal drive/new member drive we’ve just launched. I want to see the SPJ chapter in our nation’s capital get some new life with more members. Out of that will come more volunteers. Getting more people involved in the work of SPJ at the chapter level -– on the board or on committees — is a main priority for me.
- Encourage our chapter board be more proactive in issuing a statement when needed to remind lawmakers in this town — at all levels of government –- of their obligation to the public and the press to be transparent.
As for my “day” job, I am national editor at the Catholic News Service, an international daily religion news service for Catholic and other publications around the world. I am also the intern coordinator at CNS. I am a former Region 2 director for SPJ and besides being chapter president have been chapter vice president and once upon a time was chapter treasurer. Last year, I was chair of our Dateline/Hall of Fame dinner.
Julie was nominated by Bill McCloskey. Here’s what he says:
D.C. Pro Chapter former President Julie Asher stepped up when the 2014-15 chapter president abruptly resigned in late November and agreed to fill out his term. She was elected at a chapter board meeting. Julie had served two previous terms as president. She has been on the board for well over a decade. A number of senior board members rotated off the DC Pro board in recent years and the chapter will benefit from her institutional knowledge and willingness to serve.
Julie has always been a hands-on board member. By tradition, the D.C. Pro immediate past president has two punishing jobs — chairing the nominating committee and putting together the annual Hall of Fame/Dateline awards dinner. This, of course means plundering the roster for willing and not-so-willing candidates, then herding the contest coordinator, leashing the Hall Fame committee, and labeling, stamping, mailing the invitations and coordinating the RSVPs. That’s all cool until dinner afternoon when people want to add people to their table, try to bail out and get a refund or just try to show up and worm their way in. Julie’s done it all and with admirable civility.
McCloskey himself could be a nominee for Volunteer of the Decades. He is currently at large director of SPJ and is also a member of the Executive Committee, Bylaws Committee and the Finance Committee. He is past president of the D.C. Chapter and was the Society’s Region 2 director. He has been recognized three times with SPJ’s “President’s Award” for distinguished service to the Society. In 2008 he was awarded the Wells Key, SPJ’s highest honor for a volunteer. He is the retired Washington, D.C.-based Director of Media Relations for AT&T, formerly BellSouth Corp. Before joining BellSouth in 1987, Bill worked for The Associated Press, WASH-FM and Metromedia, all in Washington.
Do you know of an outstanding SPJ volunteer? Nominate that person for Volunteer of the Month by contacting Susan S. Stevens, Membership Committee member, at Susanstevens@aol.com. Please tell us briefly why you are nominating the person and why you think they are worthy of recognition. Nominations are due the 5th of each month and announced by the 15th.