Britta Waller Melton presented the content marketing keynote address at the 2021 ASJA Writers Conference, held virtually in April. The talk, entitled “No-Stress Success: Browse, Read and Binge in 2021 to Fuel Your Creativity,” focused on how to cultivate an omnivorous media diet and how to use that to generate ideas and grow your freelance business. Melton is a group creative director at Pace (paceco.com), which is based in Greensboro, NC.
In April, Susan Howe was named to the PR Week “Hall of Femme,” along with 27 other women leaders in the public relations industry. The award recognizes female leaders who demonstrate commitment to mentorship and the advancement of women in the field. Howe is currently Chief Growth Officer at Weber Shandwick, a leading global communications agency. She serves as Chair of Northwestern’s Council of 100, a group dedicated to supporting Northwestern women in their careers.
Gina Gibbs Foster has been named Vice President of Corporate Communications for Staples, headquartered in Framingham, Mass. In this role, Gina is responsible for leading the public relations strategy for the company’s external and internal stakeholders. In addition to serving as a key adviser to the CEO and Senior Leadership Team of Staples, Gina provides oversight for all aspects of media relations, issues and crisis management, employee communications, financial communications, corporate reputation and branding. Prior to joining Staples, Gina progressed through a series of Public Affairs and Corporate Communications management roles of increasing responsibility at The Dow Chemical Company, Linde plc, and Messer Americas. She earned a Master’s Degree in Public Policy and Administration from Northwestern University in 2014.
Melissa Grady who has served as the CMO of Cadillac since 2019, was named to the third-annual Forbes CMO Next list. This honor spotlights innovative marketing leaders who are transforming or redefining their role. Grady was recognized for her collaborations with stars such as Spike Lee and Timothée Chalamet as well as her modernization of Cadillac’s digital marketing and ability to adapt during the pandemic.
Catherine Toth Fox penned her first children’s book, “Kai Goes to the Farmers Market in Hawaiʻi” (Beachhouse Publishing) last year and is working on her second. She continues to serve as editor of HAWAIʻI Magazine, a Honolulu-based national travel brand, and editor of Hawaiʻi Farm & Food, the official magazine of the Hawaiʻi Farm Bureau. She currently lives in Honolulu with her husband, son and two dogs.
Kathleen James was elected to the Vermont House of Representatives in November 2018, representing the Bennington-4 district. A Democrat, she serves on the Education Committee and has been appointed to the New England Board of Higher Education and also to the NEBHE Legislative Advisory Council. She’s the co-vice-chair of the Climate Solutions Caucus and a member of the Social Equity Caucus and the Women’s Caucus. She’s a proud graduate of Emerge, a hands-on program that trains women Democrats to run for public office. She’s also the executive director of the nonprofit International Skiing History Association and editor of its bimonthly journal, Skiing History. James lives in Manchester Center with her wife, Alexandra Heintz. Her oldest daughter lives in Chicago and her younger daughter is a junior at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Jennifer Tanaka was named senior editor of digital news at Chicago Public Media WBEZ 91.5-FM. In her new role she’ll lead the digital content team “to amplify WBEZ’s position as an essential destination for outstanding journalism and news coverage in Chicago,” according to a station announcement. She formerly worked as an executive digital editor and deputy/senior editor at Chicago magazine. Since 2014, Tanaka has been director of digital communications in the alumni relations department at Northwestern University.
Barry Pearce won the grand prize in the Chicago Tribune’s 2019 Nelson Algren Literary Awards. The nationally recognized annual competition honors original short fiction. Pearce’s short story, “Chez Whatever,” was chosen from among the more than 3,000 pieces submitted to the 2019 contest. The short story passed multiple rounds, and was finally selected over five other finalists by judges Mona Simpson, Jane Smiley, and Jennifer Acker.
“Chez Whatever” is the story of a young woman who, while struggling through a snowstorm to meet her lover, has a strange encounter at a valet stand that alters the course of the evening and, in ways she won’t appreciate for many years, the trajectory of her life.
It is part of a book in progress, a collection of linked stories called “The Plan of Chicago.” Pearce lives in Chicago, where he works as a ghostwriter.
Dan Weinrib is the incoming president of the Jefferson County City Clerks Association for the 2020 term. This past August, he received his state municipal clerks certification after completing prerequisite continuing education in just under three years. In June, he will have completed his two-year term as Temple Beth-El board president.
Weinrib pictured here with Baseball Hall of Famer Johnny Bench and Dan’s son, Jack, at the 2019 Opening Day celebration in Cincinnati.
Ann-Nora Hirami teaches sociology and U.S. history at Plymouth High School and was selected to be a summer scholar by the National Endowment for the Humanities. She attended a Landmarks of American History & Culture conference, titled “From Immigrants to Citizens: Asian-Pacific Americans in the Pacific Northwest,” at the Wing Luke Museum in Seattle, Washington.