Damien Willis Recognized as National Communicator of Achievement Nominee

Photo of Damien Willis in a standing thinker poseDamien Willis of Las Cruces was recognized as a nominee for the 2020 Communicator of Achievement Award from the National Federation of Press Women (NFPW). This prestigious award has been given for 63 years. Willis was one of 10 nominees recognized during a virtual celebration held in lieu of events at the organization’s annual conference, which was canceled this year due to the pandemic.

Now in its 83rd year, NFPW is a nationwide organization of professional women and men pursuing careers across the spectrum of journalism and communications. The Communicator of Achievement award is the highest honor bestowed by NFPW upon those members who have distinguished themselves within and beyond their field. The recipient, chosen from nominees selected by state affiliates from around the country, is recognized for exceptional achievement in the communications field, as well as service to NFPW, the affiliate organization and the community.

Willis, vice president of New Mexico Press Women, has built a career in journalism and communications now exceeding 20 years. His work has included 13 years as a popular local radio-station DJ, public relations officer for the local attorney general’s office and Las Cruces Public Schools, and traditional newspaper journalism. He has written 800 consecutive columns on entertainment for the Las Cruces Sun-News and is now lead reporter and coach for the paper.

Sandy Michel Nance of Wheat Ridge, Colo., a retired journalist and public relations professional, was chosen from among the nominees as NFPW’s 2020 Communicator of Achievement. Nance was one of a handful of early female news bureau staffers with United Press International (UPI), was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for reporting at the Casper, Wyo., Star-Tribune, worked in public relations for Mountain Bell and US West, and was a publications editor for the American Water Works Association.

New Mexico Press Women Awards Sherri Burr Communicator of Achievement Award

Sherri Burr was named the 2014 New Mexico Communicator of Achievement, the organization’s highest honor, at the annual New Mexico Press Women conference in Las Cruces on April 26.

Burr, a Regents Professor at the University of New Mexico, served as New Mexico Press Women’s Vice-President and Bylaws Committee Chair and is currently chair of the NMPW 2015 state conference. A graduate of Mount Holyoke College, Princeton University and Yale Law School, Burr has authored or co-authored 20 books, published hundreds of articles and written four columns. Her audio books, Sum & Substance on Entertainment Law and Sum & Substance on International Law, are part of Thomson West’s “Outstanding Professor” series, which purportedly “captures America’s best law professors on compact disc.” As Chair of the Law School’s Art Committee, she spearheaded the launch of an Art Gallery to showcase community creativity.

Burr has spoken at a NFPW conference, and received numerous NFPW and NMPW awards for her publications and television show ARTS TALK. She strives to live her life purpose to teach and create, while caring for a brother who has been in a coma since 2009.

Communicator of Achievement Award

The Communicator of Achievement Award is the highest honor bestowed by New Mexico Press Women upon those members who have distinguished themselves within and beyond their profession. New Mexico’s winner will be honored at the state conference in Las Cruces, Saturday, April 26, and then forwarded to compete at the National Federation of Press Women’s annual conference, Sept. 4-6 in Greenville, S.C.

Anyone can nominate a NMPW member for consideration for Communicator of Achievement, but must complete the entire packet (see appropriate links below). The nominee must be a living member of both NMPW and NFPW, in good standing for at least two years, with no lapse in membership. Nominees are judged in three criteria: professional achievement (60%); community service (20%); and NFPW/affiliate service (20%). Previous nominees can be nominated again, so long as they have not been selected by NFPW.

The COA Award winner and the runner-up are announced at the Communicator of Achievement Award Banquet at NFPW’s annual conference. Each nominee is featured in NFPW’s AGENDA newsletter prior to the conference and spotlighted at the awards banquet.

See Rules here: http://nfpw.org/pdf/COA_Rules_2014.pdf
Click here for entry form: http://nfpw.org/pdf/COA_Entry_Form_2014.pdf
Click here for checklist before submission: http://nfpw.org/pdf/COA_Checklist_2014.pdf

Complete nomination packets should be e-mailed to Diana Sandoval-Tapia BY FRIDAY, MARCH 21 at dmcsandoval@gmail.com, with hard copies mailed to be received by March 21 to:

Diana Sandoval-Tapia, CoA Chair
19 Aldea Place
Los Lunas, NM 87031