Communicator of Achievement

Communicator of Achievement Award Nominations 

Nominations for the NFPW’s national Communicator of Achievement Award are now closed. Judges will choose our recipient from nominees selected by state affiliates from around the country. 

National COA nominations were due on or before Monday, March 22, 2021

If you have questions, contact Karen Stensrud, 2021 national COA director. 

What is the Communicator of Achievement Award?

This award, the highest honor bestowed by NFPW, is given to members who have distinguished themselves within and beyond their profession. Nominees presented by state affiliates are recognized for exceptional achievement in the communications field, service to NFPW and impact in the community.

Each year, the COA and runner-up are announced at the Communicator of Achievement Award Banquet during NFPW’s annual conference (we held a virtual event in 2020). Nominees are recognized and honored at the banquet, as well as in NFPW’s publications.

Click here to see a list of the past winners.  

Sandy Nance, NFPW’s 2020 COA, was honored during a virtual event with guests across the country. A retired journalist and public relations professional and a member of Colorado Press Women, Sandy enjoyed a long career, working for United Press International, The Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune, Mountain Bell (later USWest), and the American Water Works Association in Denver. COA runner-up Teri Ehresman, a member of Media Network Idaho, was an editor at the Idaho Falls Post-Register and then spent 25 years in public affairs with the Idaho National Laboratory. Both these women were nominated for Pulitzer Prizes during their journalism careers!




Karen Stensrud of Fargo, N.D., our 2021 COA director, was named NFPW’s COA in 2010.

Karen is vice president of brand and executive communications at Bell Bank, one of the nation’s largest privately held banks. Karen started her career as a newspaper reporter, then established her own marketing  communications business before joining Bell in 2003. Co-founder of the Fargo Women’s Business Exchange and a board member of the historic Fargo Theatre, Karen is known as a mentor among her colleagues. 

Karen is serving her fifth NFPW president as an advisor and was a three-term president of the North Dakota affiliate. She is a two-time NFPW contest Sweepstakes winner and has twice been honored as North Dakota’s Communicator of Achievement.