CAMP 2015: JAWS election for 2016 Board of Directors

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The Nominating Committee is delighted to present the slate for the JAWS Board of Directors and Officers. The election will take place during the Conference and Mentoring Project (CAMP) in October.  The membership will elect a vice president and five new directors.

The committee worked hard to ensure that the recommended candidates will provide the requisite skills, knowledge and wisdom that JAWS needs as well as contribute to the diversity of the Board of Directors by reflecting the membership in all its glorious identities. As always, this is a never-ending quest. We encourage all members to continue developing themselves and nurturing others so future Nominating Committees can draw again on a richly diverse pool of talent in the years to come.

The nominees are:

Vice President: Justine Griffin
A business reporter for the Tampa Bay Times, Griffin has covered the retail/restaurant beat at a variety of newspapers in Florida. Previously, she wrote for the Sarasota Herald-Tribune and was assistant projects editor there, using her digital and social media skills to engage readers with the paper’s most ambitious projects. Griffin led efforts to launch the Herald-Tribune’s Unravel project, a digital magazine aimed at young professionals. And she gained national attention last year for a first-person narrative about her experience as an egg donor that was published in a special section and won many local, regional and national journalism awards. Currently a JAWS board member, she served as co-chairwoman of the 2014-15 Communications Committee. She is an avid equestrian and has a horse named Belinda.

Deputy Vice President: Linda Kramer Jenning
Kramer Jenning is the current president of JAWS, but feels as though she got off a bit easy because she did not serve a year first as president-elect and served only one year in her current role to fill out the remaining term of Lauren Whaley. To provide continuity, she agreed to the incoming president’s request to seek the position of deputy vice president, giving her one more year on the board. She also has been a D.C. regional captain and former chair of the Fellowship Committee and served a prior term on the board as a director. She started her journalism career with the Associated Press in New York, San Francisco and Oregon. After a stint in local television at the CBS affiliate in Portland, she started stringing for Time and after moving to Washington, D.C., went to work for its sister publication People. She was Glamour’s Washington editor for eight years and currently teaches in the graduate journalism program at Georgetown University and is hoping to do more freelancing. On the crazier days this year as president, she recalled how climbing Mount Kilimanjaro a decade ago taught her that putting one foot in front of the other will eventually get you there.

Director: Georgia Dawkins
A television producer at ABC Action News, she has been a producer for the past five years. At 27, she has already worked all over the country, after starting at ABC News in New York City as a digital fellow in 2008. In 2009 and 2010, she was a desk assistant for “Good Morning America.” A former board member of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), she also served as NABJ chapter president and membership chair for several years. Being awarded a JAWS Emerging Journalist fellowship was the highlight of 2014 for her. Last year, she raised the most money of all the fellows, bringing in more than $1,200. Since CAMP, she has served as a judge to help select this year’s fellows and will serve as fellowship assistant coordinator at this year’s CAMP. She is also a proud participant in the JAWS mentorship program. Noting that she didn’t know about JAWS in college, she would like to start recruiting JAWS members earlier. She’s also interested in JAWS providing more virtual training, such as webinars on entrepreneurship or freelance journalism, and in JAWS hosting live Twitter chats on pressing issues for female journalists. “We could even use it as an opportunity to spotlight members tackling big issues,” she said.

Director: Jane Isay
Isay spent over 40 years as an editor of nonfiction books before becoming a book author. She started at the Yale University Press in 1964, creating their lists in psychiatry, psychology and child development. Over the next decades in New York (at Basic Books, Addison Wesley, Putnam and Harcourt), she discovered, edited and published such classics as: Alice Miller’s “The Drama of the Gifted Child”; Howard Gardner’s “Frames of Mind”; Melissa Faye Greene’s “Praying for Sheetrock”; Buzz Bissinger’s “Friday Night Lights”; Mary Pipher’s “Reviving Ophelia”; JAWdess K.C. Cole’s “The Universe and the Teacup”; Antonio Damasio’s “Descartes’ Error”; Patricia O’Conner’s “Woe Is I”; and Rachel Simmons’ “Odd Girl Out.” Since 2003, she has written three books, “Walking on Eggshells,” “Mom Still Likes You Best” and “Secrets and Lies.” Her fourth book, “Unconditional Love: A GPS for Grandparents,” will be published in 2017. She lives in New York City and serves on many nonprofit boards, including The New Press, Library for All and the diversity program at Mt. Sinai Medical Center. She also said, “I’m interested in diversity, mentoring and regional gatherings. I think that the listserv makes a great contribution when a good question comes up and garners so much outstanding advice.” She also wants to find out from members what JAWS could provide that would be most helpful.

Director: Sarah Shemkus
A freelancer in the greater Boston area for the past four years, Shemkus has been writing for the Boston Globe, The Guardian, local lifestyle magazines and other publications, focusing on business, food and sustainability reporting. Previously, she was the business reporter at the Cape Cod Times, a correspondent for the New Hampshire Union Leader and a web producer for eWeek magazine. Her work is available at She would like to see JAWS develop a more robust program of regional gatherings, perhaps including local trainings and speakers, online/virtual trainings or writing workshops, more ways to help midcareer journalists and a more proactive effort to collect and feature work by members. “Many of us share the big pieces we’re proud of, but it would be inspiring and useful to see more of the day-to-day stories members are producing,” she said.

Director: Amy Stretten
Stretten is a bilingual (Spanish/English) independent multimedia journalist, blogger and freelance news reporter based in Southern California. A Native American from the Chickahominy Tribe of Virginia, she is a mixed-race, queer-identifying woman. Stretten recently moved back to the Los Angeles area from Miami where she was the national affairs correspondent at Fusion (ABC and Univision’s millennial-focused joint-venture). In 2014, Stretten attended CAMP as the first JAWS Diversity Fellow. She has been active in the Southern California JAWS chapter and tries to recruit every woman journalist she meets, singing JAWS’ praises. She earned a Master of Arts degree in journalism and a certificate in Entrepreneurial Journalism from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. Previously, she was an on-air co-host and multimedia journalist for the Seminole Tribe of Florida’s news magazine program, a field reporter for a national aboriginal television network in Canada, a repeat guest on HuffPost Live, the host and moderator for a panel on Indigenous media at the United Nations and a reporter for the New York Post. She is currently developing a cultural fashion and style blog called The Chief of Style, which will go live this fall. If elected, Stretten hopes to bridge the gap between the generations, connect new members with veterans and amplify the voice and needs of JAWS members of color.

Director: Megan Sweas
A freelance journalist based in Los Angeles, Sweas is the author of “Putting Education to Work: How Cristo Rey High Schools are Transforming Urban Education.” She writes about social and economic justice issues and world religions for publications such as GlobalPost, Religion News Service, National Catholic Reporter, Religion Dispatches and the Washington Post. She also works part time as the editor at the University of Southern California’s Center for Religion and Civic Culture. In 2014, she reported from Italy on Europe’s immigration crisis as a recipient of the International Reporting Project’s religion reporting fellowship. Sweas previously covered politics and social issues as an editor at U.S. Catholic magazine, where she also ran the website. She was an Annenberg Fellow at the University of Southern California, where she earned a master’s degree in specialized journalism. She graduated from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. She is the regional captain for Southern California and is co-chairwoman of the 2014 CAMP committee.


Returning officers are: Amy Resnick as treasurer and Sheila Solomon as secretary. Returning board members are: Merrill Perlman, Liz Seegert, Angela Greiling-Keane, Pam Moreland and Gina Setser.

We’d also like to acknowledge the outgoing board members for lending their time, talents, spirit and insights into running JAWS. They are: Susy Schultz, Judy Miller, Donna Myrow, Kira Zalan, Hilary Powell and Erin Siegal McIntrye.


Nominating Committee
Melinda Voss, chair
Liz Seegert
Yumi Wilson