Board of Directors

About the Board

Election of JAWS officers and new board members takes place at the annual business meeting, in conjunction with our fall Conference and Mentoring Project.

Eligibility for the JAWS board: Any active member who has camped with JAWS twice. Officers and board members serve one- or two-year terms. All are elected by a vote of the membership.

Job description for the board: The primary responsibility of the board of directors is to ensure that the organization operates in a fashion true to its stated mission and principles. The board provides continuity to the organization as individual members come and go.

The board has two trusts: The group’s growth and future, and to further the group’s goals.

It is responsible for setting policies, making decisions, delegating work and assuring the decisions are carried out. The board is legally responsible for governance of the organization and adherence to federal, state and local laws, audits done annually and income tax form filing.


A director’s responsibilities include:

  • Maintain a current membership in JAWS and attend the annual conference.
  • Know the bylaws, mission, purpose, goals, strategic plan, programs and services for the organization.
  • Raise funds and actively seek financial support and donations for JAWS and its projects; The goal is for each board member to give or get $500.
  • Prepare for and attend all board meetings. The board holds regular in-person meetings twice a year, spring and fall. The date of the spring meeting is determined by the president, in consultation with other board members.  The fall meeting is held immediately preceding JAWS CAMP, at the same location. In addition, the board convenes on the second Saturday of every month via conference call. The president and committee chairs will schedule additional meetings as needed.
  • Build and guide long-range plans for membership, programming, fundraising, staffing and resources.
  • Ensure programs and services address membership needs.
  • Recruit members and attendees for annual conferences, contribute program ideas and make sure members are involved in the group.
  • Contribute and/or solicit stories for the JAWS newsletter, listserv, social media accounts and website.
  • Review the minutes to ensure that critical matters, resolutions and topics of discussion have been adequately covered.
  • Be willing to commit at least several hours per week of volunteer time on areas such as membership, social media, programming, fundraising and CAMP.

For more about the board and the by-laws governing JAWS, see the JAWS Bylaws.

To read our plans for the next five years, see the 2012-2017 Strategic Plan.

These women on the JAWS Board of Directors set policy and represent the organization as we pursue our mission of supporting the professional empowerment and personal growth of women in journalism. Each has committed to helping strengthen and grow our unique organization.

Email board member

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Secretary: Sheila Solomon

Sheila Solomon is a native of Newport News, Virginia, and a graduate of Hampton Institute (now University) in Hampton, Virginia. She’s worked at newspapers in Hampton and Newport News, Virginia.; Long Island, New York; Charlotte, North Carolina and Chicago, Illinois. Solomon’s also worked as an adjunct journalism professor, served on numerous boards and been a frequent speaker at journalism workshops and conferences.

Term expires Oct. 22, 2017

Lisa Gillespie

lisa-gillespieLisa Gillespie is the health care reporter with WFPL, the NPR station in Louisville, Ky.

Term expires Oct. 2018

Jane Isay

Jane Isay spent over 40 years as an editor of nonfiction books before becoming a book author.

Term expires Oct. 22, 2017.

Sarah Shemkus

A freelancer in the greater Boston area for the past four years, Sarah Shemkus has been writing for the Boston Globe, The Guardian, local lifestyle magazines and other publications, focusing on business, food and sustainability reporting.

Term expires Oct. 22, 2017.

Andrea Stone

andrea-stoneAndrea Stone is director of career services at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, where she loves her job, helping launch the careers of a new generation of journalists.

Term expires Oct. 2018

Megan Sweas

A freelance journalist based in Los Angeles, Megan Sweas is the author of “Putting Education to Work: How Cristo Rey High Schools are Transforming Urban Education.”

Term expires Oct. 22, 2017.