Not afraid of change

I spoke before a group of fabulous women journalists, writers, authors and marketing creatives Saturday and it lifted me up. The Illinois Women’s Press Association is a cross-generational collection of women who keep reinventing themselves and keep pushing forward at a time of great tumultuous disruption in the media.

We talked about staying relevant and telling engaging stories before a fickle and fleeting audience. Some women have written so many books it was dizzying. Some quilt together a career in writing after they get home from their day jobs as attorneys and engineers.

We talked about the state of the media and the state of the world, how to use our energy for change and how our voices matter. I saw a woman I had not seen in more than 10 years; we met at a Journalism & Women Symposium in Napa Valley in 1997. A former student came with her mother, both of them writers and both of them looking to find ways to stay relevant.

Most Saturdays I am watching wrestling matches in hot high school gyms across the Chicago suburban landscape, screaming my son’s name in encourgament. I knew when I booked this speech it was at the end of the season, and I would not need to be in a gym that day. 

But the few hours at the IWPA event were well-spent. The creativity, congeniality and genius in that room were inspiring. Next Saturday I can do the laundry and grocery shop. This Saturday I was happy to be in the company of women who want to move mountains one word at a time.  




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2 responses to “Not afraid of change

  1. How wonderful! I am an IWPA member who joined about two years ago. I am not and never was a newspaper woman (except during college), but I “found” myself at age 73 when I wrote my first book, “Reinventing Myself: Memoirs of a Retired Professor.” My second is “Seniorwriting: A Brief Guide for Seniors who Want to Write.”

    I have always loved newspapers, and I enjoyed your speech very much. I greatly admire my fellow IWPA members who strive for great things via the written word.

    I mentioned your speech on one of my blogs:

  2. I am president of IWPA and we absolutely LOVED Michele’s talk. She hyped us up too. I am still thinking about things she said: that the WHO remains important to print readers even in the age of instant internet, that it is the story to go after (for example, in the recent NIU shootings, more details about the perpetrator and the victims).
    My new mantra is what she said about “never be afraid to have a full notebook. Over report, but under write.”

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