In 1959, CCA instituted an award as a memorial to H.E. Klinefelter, a charter member of the organization. It is given to cooperative communicator members whose work is considered by their peers to be outstanding.
Berry earns Klinefelter award
By Nancy Jorgensen, Nancy Jorgensen Marketing Communications
Heather Berry, associate editor of Rural Missouri magazine, earned the 2016 H.E. Klinefelter Award presented at the CCA Institute in Omaha on June 7. She has worked for the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives (AMEC) since 1989.
Heather Berry, associate editor of Rural Missouri magazine, earned the 2016 H.E. Klinefelter Award
Enthusiastic. Outstanding. Dedicated. Talented. Gracious,” are adjectives used by Janet H. Schoniger, a communications consultant, in nominating Heather. “It’s impossible in a few words to describe all the contributions Heather has made to her electric cooperative association, to the field of cooperative communications and to CCA.”
Heather is an award-winning writer and photographer, social media expert and chef. And, she is the creator of Buddy Bear. In 1992, Heather developed the character that appears on the magazine’s Just4Kids page. She and others don a bear suit that she designed and appear at fairs, parades and annual meetings. Co-op employees use the coloring and comic books, backpacks and stuffed Buddys she designed to promote safety, energy efficiency and co-op education. “An entire generation of young people have a positive impression of electric co-ops thanks to Heather and Buddy Bear,” says Barry Hart, AMEC’s executive vice president and CEO.
Jim McCarty, longtime editor of Rural Missouri, recognized Heather’s potential from the day he hired her. She had no formal education in communications. “What she did have was a tremendous desire to contribute to the publication in ways other than what her job description dictated,” Jim says. “In her 25 years of service, she put an indelible mark on the publication.” She overhauled the Rural Living section, making it her own, Jim says, adding that some compare her to Martha Stewart. “No other section of Rural Missouri gets as many favorable comments as our recipe page.”
Heather’s writing and photos also appear in other sections of the magazine. In addition, she judges Youth Tour recipients, meets with legislators on Capitol Hill and performs other important tasks for AMEC.
Many of Heather’s photography and writing awards have come through CCA contests. She has made a lasting mark on CCA, first as a regional representative, then as board treasurer, secretary and vice president. She was president from 2000-2001. In addition, she served on numerous committees, including the St. Louis Institute, the contest committee and Board nominating committee. She was recently certified as a CCA Master Cooperative Communicator, and today mentors new CCA members.
Susie Bullock, former executive director of CCA, credits Heather with helping CCA keep up with changing times. “Hallmarks of her presidency included building a more active website and offering more accessible, professional development programs,” Susie says.
“Heather never fails to step up when the call comes to serve, whether it’s as director or making sure the nametags and goodie bags are ready for the annual Institute,” says Lani Jordan of CHS. “She always gets the job done, and done well — she’s the ever-reliable brick in the foundation of an organization’s success.”
The H.E. Klinefelter Award honors a lifetime of achievement for cooperative communicators. The committee considers the nominee’s efforts in improving co-op communications standards, implementing new ideas and approaches, inspiring others, displaying professionalism and being active in CCA.
A committee of past award winners selected this year’s recipient, including Donna Abernathy, Lani Jordan, David Sheets and Nancy Jorgensen.