Our Leadership

ASJA is governed by a volunteer Executive Committee and Board of Directors, elected by ASJA membership.

Officers’ terms are one year. At-large board members serve for three years on a rotating election schedule. A nominating committee, led by a board-appointed chair, recruits candidates to fill empty board positions. The slate of nominations is presented to membership in an annual election, and ASJA bylaws outline the requirements for elections.

Board of Directors

Emily Paulsen

A writer and editor based in the DC area, Emily Paulsen focuses on health and healthcare topics for online and print publications, healthcare organizations, government agencies, and non-profit associations. She is the co-author of three books and a former magazine editor.

Darcy Lewis

Darcy Lewis writes about health, medicine, and the business of healthcare from Chicago. A former National Cancer Reporting Fellow, she writes for journalism outlets including Medscape, MedPage Today, U.S. News & World Report, Scientific American, AARP, and Cancer Today. She also writes  for leading health systems and nonprofits and has received various writing awards, including the ASJA Best Trade Article Award.

Stacey Freed

Stacey Freed has been freelancing for national trade and consumer publications for over a decade. Her work has been featured in The New York Times; Washington PostBetter Homes and Gardens and USA Today special interest publications;  RealtorProfessional BuilderReal SimpleAARP.org; Forbes; OneZero/Medium; and Zillow, among other places. She is a co-author of Hiking the Catskills (Globe Pequot, 2022). Freed has won a Neal Award for specialized journalism and several awards from the American Society of Business Publications Editors. She holds an MFA from George Mason University. Her essay, “Tourist No More,” published in She Can Find Her Way: Women Travelers at Their Best (Upper Hand Press, 2017), was nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

Lottie Joiner

Lottie Joiner is an award-winning freelance writer. She writes about the condition and lived experiences of those in marginalized and underserved communities. Lottie’s work has been published in The Washington PostUSA Today, Time.com, TheAtlantic.com and The Daily Beast. Lottie was a 2015 Center for Health Journalism Fellow at the University of Southern California at Annenberg. She participated in Yale University’s 2016 Thread at Yale Media Storytelling program, and in 2017 she was named a Schuster Institute/Fund for Investigative Journalism Diversity Fellow. In 2019, Lottie was named a Pulitzer Center grantee and a Folio 100 Honoree, which recognizes the top innovators in publishing. Most recently, Lottie was named a Maynard 200 Fellow in its 2021 Executive Leadership Program and a 2021 participant in the Poynter Leadership Academy for Women in Media program.

Terms Expiring 2024

Lisa Rabasca Roepe

Lisa Rabasca Roepe is a Washington, D.C.-based freelance journalist who writes about gender equity, diversity and inclusion, the culture of work, and personal finance. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Fast Company, Wired, Insider, Boston Globe Magazine, the Christian Science Monitor, Marketplace, Ms. Magazine, The Muse and HR Magazine.

Christopher Johnston

Christopher Johnston has published more than 3,500 articles in numerous regional and national publications including American Theatre, Christian Science Monitor, History Magazine, and Scientific American. His book, Shattering Silences: Strategies to Prevent Sexual Assault, Heal Survivors, and Bring Assailants to Justice, was published by Skyhorse Publishers in May 2018. He teaches playwriting and creative nonfiction courses at Cleveland State University and a variety of workshops for the William M. Skirball Writers Center and Literary Cleveland. In 2020, Johnston received an Ohio Society of Professional Journalists award for best investigative reporting for a digital publication. In 2018 and 2019, he received an Ohio Arts Council grant and a Dramatists Guild Foundation Writer’s Alliance Grant. In 2019, he also received the Distinguished Professional Contribution Award from The Renee Jones Empowerment Center in Cleveland that provides a full spectrum of services to help women survivors of human trafficking recover.

Terms Expiring 2025

Jennifer Billock

Jennifer Billock is an award-winning writer, bestselling author, and writing coach. She has worked with businesses and publishers including the Smithsonian, The New York Times, National Geographic Traveler, Disney Books, The Atlantic, Kraft Foods, Midwest Living, Arcadia Publishing, and the MSU Press. She specializes in food, travel, history, and witchcraft. Check out her website at www.jenniferbillock.com, subscribe to her Substack at kitchenwitch.substack.com.

Merlisa Lawrence Corbett

Merlisa Lawrence Corbett is a Central Florida-based independent journalist and author who writes about sports, home and garden, and real estate. She is the author of the book, “Serena Williams: Tennis Champion, Sports Legend, and Cultural Heroine.”

A former tennis columnist for Bleacher Report and reporter for Sports Illustrated, Lawrence Corbett wrote the foreword for Arthur Ashe Jr’s. “A Hard Road To Glory: A History Of The African American Athlete: Track and Field.” She covered sports for the Tampa Bay Times, Tampa Tribune, and Pittsburgh Press.

Her work has also appeared in The Guardian, Essence, AARP, Black Enterprise, HGTV.com, Apartment Therapy, Capitol File, TennisView, First and Pen, and AJC.com (Atlanta Journal-Consititution). www.merlisa.com


Holly Rizzuto Palker

Holly Rizzuto Palker is an award-winning writer, a profiles editor for Literary Mama, host of their podcast This Mama is Lit!, and a mom. A former editor for YourTeen Magazine, Holly covers many topics though her passion lies in parenting and family relationships. Her articles and essays appear in Parents, The New York Daily News, The Independent, Newsday, Kveller, Huffington Post, Psycom, Grown and Flown, and more. Her essay, “Hippo Tent,” will be featured in Literary Mama’s forthcoming anthology. She’s working on a book about her interfaith family. Check out her website www.hollyrizzutopalker.com or subscribe to her substack @hollyrizzutopalker.


Terms Expiring 2026

David Steele

David Steele has been a professional sports journalist for more than 35 years, writing for outlets that include The Sporting News, the Baltimore Sun, the San Francisco Chronicle and Newsday. His third book, It Was Always a Choice: Picking Up the Baton of Athlete Activism, was named one of the 10 Best Books in Arts & Humanities of 2022 by Library Journal. He also is the co-author of Silent Gesture: The Autobiography of Tommie Smith. He also serves on the advisory board for the Shirley Povich Center for Sports Journalism at the University of Maryland, and on the executive board for the Baltimore Association of Black Journalists.

Kim Kobersmith

A freelance journalist and content writer, Kim Kobersmith writes about philanthropy, arts + culture, and the outdoors, often from a rural or Appalachia perspective. Her work appears in the Bitter Southerner, National Parks Traveler, and the Daily Yonder. Kim joined ASJA as an associate member in 2022 and recently qualified as a professional member. She’s an active member of ASJA’s Membership Engagement Committee and will advocate for and act as a liaison to associate members.

Cari Shane

A former TV and radio reporter, Cari Shane has worked as a fulltime freelance journalist and content writer for nearly a decade. A Manhattan native, she lives carless (that’s carless, not careless) in the nation’s capital and writes for a wide variety of publications including AARP, Fast Company, Fodor’s, Scientific American and Smithsonian. She has previous board experience with multiple organizations and currently volunteers as an editor with Street Sense Media, a nonprofit that produces journalism to elevate the voices of those experiencing homelessness in DC. Cari  joined ASJA in 2017 and served as co-chair of Client Connections in 2022 and 2023; she will chair the event again in 2024. Cari is looking forward to helping ASJA “get back on strong footing so it can increase membership and continue providing great programming.”

Dara Chadwick

Dara Chadwick is a Jamestown, Rhode Island-based writer and communications consultant with expertise in content creation, branding and messaging for healthcare, government and nonprofit clients. She’s the author of the award-winning nonfiction book, You’d Be So Pretty If…: Teaching Our Daughters to Love Their Bodies — Even When We Don’t Love Our Own. Her work has appeared in AARP Bulletin, CURE, Cancer Today, The Daily Beast, The Physiologist, Shape, Parenting, Family Circle, Woman’s Day, Better Homes & Gardens and Working Mother.

The president, vice president and staff meet twice monthly to prepare for executive committee and board meetings. At monthly executive committee meetings, officers prepare and approve the board meeting agenda, as well as discuss proposals for the board to consider. The board meets monthly to ensure that all decisions forward the ASJA mission and comply with bylaws. During extended strategy sessions at least once each year, the board develops and discusses long-range plans. Special meetings may also be called.

Ongoing board responsibilities

  • Oversee ASJA’s fiscal health
  • Create and modify ASJA policies
  • Oversee volunteer responsibilities and accountability
  • Work directly with staff to develop strategies for membership and programming growth

Recent and current board projects

  • Restructured ASJA’s legal structure (2019-2021)
  • Oversaw the expansion of ASJA’s awards program (2020-2021)
  • Oversaw ASJA’s first two virtual conferences (2020-2021)
  • Revised ASJA bylaws (2021)
  • Launched new ASJA website (2021)
  • Launched regular virtual educational programming (2021)
  • Oversaw ASJA’s lawsuit against the State of California (2019-2022)
  • Initiate diversity, equity, and inclusion process and programming (ongoing)
  • Oversee new membership engagement programming (ongoing)

Past Presidents

Maurice Zolotow
Temple Fielding
Donald Robinson
Morton Sontheimer
James Poling
Robert L. Heilbroner
Morton Hunt
Jack Harrison Pollack
Lawrence Lader
Murray Teigh Bloom
Vance Packard
Gerald Walker
Bernard Asbell
Robert Bendiner
Norman M. Lobsenz
Jean Libman Block
Thomas J. Fleming
William Surface

Alfred Balk
Theodore Irwin
Jhan Robbins
Lin Root
David R. Zimmerman
Terry Morris
Patrick M. McGrady Jr.
Mort Weisinger
Ruth Winter
Dian Dincin Buchman
Grace W. Weinstein
Sally Wendkos Olds
June Roth
John H. Ingersoll
Evelyn Kaye
Dodi Schultz
Glen Evans
David W. Kennedy

Thomas Bedell
Katharine Davis Fishman
Florence Isaacs
Mark L. Fuerst
Janice Hopkins Tanne
Claire Safran
Eleanor Foa Dienstag
Samuel Greengard
Jim Morrison
Lisa Collier Cool
Jack El-Hai
Robert Bittner
Russell Wild
Salley Shannon
Minda Zetlin
Randy Dotinga
Sherry Beck Paprocki
Milt Toby
Laura Laing