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.
Conover garners Klinefelter Award
By Chris Kirk, Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association, and Jerry Kirk, Honorary Member
Robin Conover, editor of The Tennessee Magazine, is this year’s recipient of the prestigious H.E. Klinefelter Award presented at CCA’s annual Institute in Baton Rouge. She is the 59th recipient of the award, the highest honor the organization bestows upon a deserving member.
Robin joined the staff of The Tennessee Magazine in October 1988 as the communications specialist. Her talents as a photographer immediately impacted the effectiveness of the magazine as a communications tool for the state’s electric cooperatives to empower and interact with members. She was named managing editor in 1996, advancing to editor in 2002, attaining her current position of vice president of communications for the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association (TECA) in 2011.
“Robin is synonymous with The Tennessee Magazine and has been for many years. Her editing skills are on par with her photographic skills, and she is one of the premiere photographers in the industry,” said David Callis, executive vice president and general manager of TECA.
Her greatest talent is her vision, which has made The Tennessee Magazine the most highly read periodical in the state, Callis continued. “She has a depth of understanding that comes from her roots in rural Tennessee and her love and appreciation for our cooperative members.
Callis said Robin’s work for the cooperative association has “given us a level of success and respect throughout the state and our national network — not to mention improving the quality of every one of our cooperative’s outreach efforts.”
What the nominators said
Jerry Kirk, a former editor of The Tennessee Magazine and the 1988 recipient of the H. E. Klinefelter award, hired Robin to work for the publication nearly 30 years ago.
“Robin hit the ground running and has never let up,” he said. “The fact that she now has the title of vice president of communications speaks volumes about how the organization views the contributions she makes to the success of the organization…and to have communications included in the upper echelon of management is a tribute to what this woman has achieved over the years.”
Close friend Billy Gibson, director of communications for the Association of Louisiana Electric Cooperatives, added, “Over the years, Robin has firmly established herself with professional organizations as a trusted, proficient, personable and highly regarded master in the field of communication…I have been especially impressed at how in the latter states of our career tracks as cooperative communicators, Robin has shown no indication of flagging in her work, her enthusiasm for her craft or her passion for finding new ways to communicate with members of Tennessee’s rural electric cooperative system.”
Above and beyond
Nominees note Robin graciously gives her time to professional development organizations in all cooperative communication arenas. She is the board president of National Country Market, an advertising co-op owned by electric cooperative member publications.
She is also active in the electric cooperatives’ Statewide Editors Association (SEA), serving as president 2007-2008. She has conducted photography and photo-editing workshops for SEA meetings as well as CCA professional development workshops and Institutes. She’s been recognized in the association’s annual communications contest as an award-winning writer and photographer, garnering the prestigious Photographer of the Year award multiple times through the years, including 2017.
Away from the office, Robin is an animal lover and outdoor enthusiast. She is active in many local groups, donating her talents to philanthropic causes such as land preservation, pet rescue and local art shows. And even in her leisure time, you can bet that a camera is close at hand, ready to capture a captivating image.