Member profile: Judy Conkling

Why do you think groups like Wichita Professional Communicators are important?
Those of us who work independently – or as the sole communications professional for a small business or organization – really need to connect socially and professionally with other communicators. WPC offers that opportunity, as a home for all manner of communicators – writers, designers, marketing and PR pros, photographers and more. We support and learn from each other, through both informal interactions and regular professional development programs. WPC is truly the most welcoming and supportive professional organization I’ve ever been a part of. Judy Conkling

How long have you been involved in WPC?
I’ve been a member of WPC for more than 20 years, through my many career transitions: from community newspaper editor, to business reporter, to corporate PR and communications coordinator, to grant writer/fundraiser for a nonprofit, to independent writing and editing contractor.

What do you enjoy about being a co-chair for WPC’s scholarship committee?
It’s great to be able to encourage budding communicators with a much-needed scholarship, and help mentor them through membership in our organization. It’s also fun to team up with my co-chair, Wilma Moore-Black, on creative scholarship promotions and fundraising activities.

Who or what recruited you to become a member?
The late Dorothy Belden, a longtime member and storied local editor, invited me to join the group early in my career. Other longtime members I’ve met at KPC and NFPW conferences have inspired me to remain a member all these years.

What do you do in your spare time, or just simply to relax?
I enjoy the never-ending task of renovating and furnishing my mid-century home with things I find at estate sales and used furniture stores. I also dabble in genealogy and am descended from at least four colonists (both male and female) who fought against the British or provided material support to the colonial militias during the Revolutionary War.

What does the future look like for nonprofits that host scholarship fundraisers?
In Sedgwick County alone, there are more than 200 nonprofits appealing for donor dollars. During my time as a professional fundraiser, I learned donors want to support the causes to which they feel most connected. They need the nonprofits to tell them the story of how their donations will make a positive difference in someone else’s life. The better a nonprofit is at “telling their story,” the more successful they’ll be at fundraising.

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