National Press Club

Theresa Werner becomes first broadcast freelancer elected Club president

December 12, 2011 | By Joel Whitaker, Club Secretary | bevnews1@gmail.com

National Press Club leadership. Front row (l-r): Vice President-elect Angela Greiling Keane, President-elect Theresa Werner, President Mark Hamrick. Second row (l-r): Communicator Board Member-elect Suzanne Struglinski, Treasurer Myron Belkind, Secretary Joel Whitaker. Third row (l-r): Membership Secretary-elect Nyia Hawkins, Board Member Ed Barks, Board Member-elect Thomas Burr, Board Member Marc Wojno and Board Member Patrick McGrath.

National Press Club leadership. Front row (l-r): Vice President-elect Angela Greiling Keane, President-elect Theresa Werner, President Mark Hamrick. Second row (l-r): Communicator Board Member-elect Suzanne Struglinski, Treasurer Myron Belkind, Secretary Joel Whitaker. Third row (l-r): Membership Secretary-elect Nyia Hawkins, Board Member Ed Barks, Board Member-elect Thomas Burr, Board Member Marc Wojno and Board Member Patrick McGrath.

Photo/Image: Noel St. John

Click here to view detailed election results

Theresa M. Werner swept to victory in the National Press Club's 2011 election Friday, Dec. 9, becoming the first broadcast freelancer elected president of the Club and soundly defeating her two opponents in a hotly contested race to head the world’s leading professional organization for journalists.

Werner, currently chairman of the Club’s Board of Governors, defeated Vice President Keith M. Hill and Young Members Chairman Tim Young for the Club’s top member position, garnering 264 votes to 61 votes and 55 votes for Hill and Young, respectively.

Hill had the sort of resume of heavy Club activity – including serving as a governor and in every officer position -- that normally would result in victory. But Werner ran a textbook campaign, gathering the support of several former Club presidents and reaching out to potential voters with a series of e-mail messages.

Young, who led a slate of candidates dubbing itself Let's Press Ahead, sought to storm the Club barricades but received just one vote for every five garnered by Werner. As a a member of the Club for fewer than two years, and chairman of the Young Members Committee for less than a year, Young lacked broad committee experience and struggled to gain the support of Club leaders and influential members.

In an unusually contested election, Young was an unusual candidate for president. He had never been a member of the Board of Governors, which is responsible for the overall management of the $13 million Club business, nor had he been an officer.

He tried to make up for his lack of experience with aggressive election communications, including an email to members referring to Werner and Hill as “legacy” candidates.

Young ran a slate for every position but secretary and treasurer. Angela Greiling Keane, current Membership Secretary, defeated Justin Duckham, Young’s running mate, 315-58.

Several of the Let's Press Ahead candidates gathered enough votes to have won a typical campaign. For example, Thomas Burr received 285 votes and Ken Mellgren received 243 votes, defeating Jamila Bey, who received 119, in a race for a seat on the Board of Governors. In a normal election, Bey's tally would have been enough to win.

Frederica Dunn, who ran to complete Werner’s unexpired one-year term on the board, received 150 votes, besting Let's Press Ahead's Ben Dooley, who received 127 votes, as well as David Hodes and Tejinder Singh. In a normal year, 127 votes would have resulted in Dooley’s election.

Nyia Hawkins received 277 votes for Membership Secretary, beating Let's Press Ahead's Bill Murphy Jr., who received 86 votes.

Suzanne Struglinski was elected to the board of governors for a three-year term as a communicator, defeating incumbent Rodrigo A. Valderrama and Emily Whitten, who was on the Let's Press Ahead slate.

In uncontested races, Myron Belkind was re-elected Treasurer and Joel Whitaker was re-elected Secretary.