So We All Can Be Heard – Fall 2013
by Marianne Wolf-Astrauskas
Now there are four: Gladys Erickson – 1967, Joanne Zerkel – 1986, Olga Carlile – 1992, and myself, Marianne Wolf-Astrauskas – 2013. The histories of IWPA and NFPW will forever regard us on the impressive list of national winners of the highly respected Communicator of Achievement Award.
The Communicator of Achievement competition was initiated by the National Federation of Press Women Executive Board in 1956 for presentation the following year, and then annually or as merited. It was originally called the “Press Woman of Achievement and Citation Award” before being renamed in 1989 with the title as it stands today. Nominations were started at the affiliate level suggesting the person have “experience and achievement, ability as a writer, dedication to the profession, contribution to NFPW and personality.” IWPA began honoring a member of its affiliate with the state award in 1960.
Today, the Communicator of Achievement Award is the highest honor bestowed by the National Federation of Press Women upon those members who have distinguished themselves within and beyond their profession.
Upon receiving the award in 1967, Gladys Erickson said it evoked feelings of “pride in my profession, and gratitude that NFPW awarded such an honor to a newswoman.” Erickson felt an obligation to support NFPW and the Illinois Woman’s Press Association having served as affiliate president for the 1975-1977 term. She won acclaim for her writing for the Chicago American and its successor, Chicago Today, before becoming the public information officer in 1969 for the newly created Illinois Department of Corrections. She was a book author as well as a public relations consultant and freelancer. Erickson was also IWPAs Woman of the Year in 1963, the same year she was given the Golden Cross of the Royal Order of Efpoiia by King Paul I of Greece. In 1958 she was also cited by the Greek government for her service.