You may know that the RTDNA/F family recently grew, with the addition of Tara Puckey as Director of Strategic Initiatives.
What you may not know is that Tara was also recently named a Forty Under 40® award winner by the Association Forum of Chicagoland and USAE weekly newspaper.
The Forty Under 40 award recognizes up-and-coming association professionals and non-profit professionals for their leadership and commitment to the industry.
Tara is experienced in all aspects of association management and is a veteran of the journalism association landscape, serving most recently as the Society of Professional Journalists’ interim executive director, its associate executive director and, prior to that, its member strategist. She has a journalism degree from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) and an MBA from Western Governors University.
If you know Tara, you know that she’s a creative, passionate advocate for journalism and leadership. If you don’t, get to know how she hopes to serve RTDNA members in her new role (and be sure to say hello to her at EIJ18):
Why is journalism important to you?
Journalism is important to me because it’s something I’ve always been passionate about. I graduated with a degree in journalism and never expected to end up in associations focused on journalism, but I’m so happy I found my way here. The work we do allows journalism to flourish and be protected, which is so critical for democracy. I’ve always seen the industry as a something bigger than all of us, something that engages our society in a way nothing else can.
What are the biggest challenges facing the future of our association and industry?
I think we’ve entered a new normal in the journalism industry. The tides have turned and I don’t think that we’ll ever go back to the same type of journalism, the same engagement with audiences and the same levels of trust we may have had fifty years ago. In that same vein, associations are changing as well. People want more than just the opportunity to stand behind a cause, they want action. The two intersect, in my opinion, in finding a way for this industry to move forward and become better than we were in the past. I don’t think we have all the answers – no one does – but I can tell you that RTDNA is committed to working with anyone and everyone to continue exploring what the future looks like, supporting innovation that builds that future, and protecting journalism on all fronts.
How do you hope to help RTDNA members grow through your role?
As part of the RDTNA team, I’m excited about building partnerships for the organization. I truly believe that we’re stronger when working together, surrounded by people who challenge us, disrupt the norms and push us all to do better. For us as an association, that sometimes means working closely with many of the 70+ journalism organizations in the country, or partnering with tech companies whose work has changed the way journalism is delivered. Partnerships and relationships can only make us stronger, and I’m excited to build those at RTDNA.
What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?
When I headed to college, I had no idea what I wanted to do. I didn’t have that love for journalism or writing like other people did. For me, it was a result of sorting through every major to see which one had the least amount of math because, well, math is hard. But, it didn’t take me long to fall in love with what I was doing.
What’s one thing you are passionate about outside of work?
Volunteer work is incredibly important to me, so I dedicate time to a variety of causes from associations to our local school system to the military. A little less “feel good” passion is my regular nightly routine watching The West Wing, over and over and over and over.