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.

The president, vice president and staff meet twice monthly to prepare for executive committee and board meetings. At monthly executive committee meetings, officers and the past-president 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)

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.

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.

Stacey Freed

Stacey Freed was a senior editor at Remodeling, published by the Washington-D.C.-based Hanley Wood. Since 2013 she has been freelancing for national trade and consumer publications. Her work has been featured in Better Homes and Gardens and USA Today special interest publications; The Washington Post; Realtor; Professional Builder; This Old House; Real Simple; AARP.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 a 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.

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, U.S. News & World Report, Scientific American, AARP, Cancer Today, Oncology Live, and ASCO Daily News. She also writes and edits for leading health systems and nonprofits and has received various writing awards, including the ASJA Best Trade Article Award.

Laura Laing

The author of three math books, Laura Laing has been a freelance journalist and writer for more than 20 years. She is currently writing an experimentally themed and structured memoir, and her essays have appeared in The Rumpus, Creative Nonfiction, and Full Grown People. Her essay, “Your Leaving” appeared in the 10th Anniversary of Consequence Magazine and received the 2019 ASJA Best Essay Award.

Terms Expiring 2023

Beverly Gray

Beverly Gray, a film industry veteran, is the author of the bestselling Roger Corman: An Unauthorized Biography of the Godfather of Indie Filmmaking, which in paperback was tastefully retitled Roger Corman: Blood-Sucking Vampires, Flesh-Eating Cockroaches, and Driller Killers. She has also published Ron Howard: From Mayberry to the Moon . . . and Beyond, and, most recently, Seduced by Mrs. Robinson: How ‘The Graduate’ Became the Touchstone of a Generation. Her articles have appeared in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, the Hollywood Reporter, Family Circle, and the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. She blogs twice weekly at Beverly in Movieland.

Terms Expiring 2024

Lottie Joiner

Lottie Joiner is the editor-in-chief of The Crisis magazine, the official publication of the NAACP, and a Washington, D.C.-based freelance writer. She writes about social justice and civil rights with a focus on issues that impact marginalized and underserved communities. Lottie’s work has been published in The Washington Post, USAToday, Time.com, TheAtlantic.com and The Daily Beast. Most recently she was named a 2019 Folio: 100 Honoree which recognizes media professionals in magazine and digital media.

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-Consititiuion). www.merlisa.com


Holly Rizzuto Palker

Holly is an award-winning writer, a profiles editor for Literary Mama, a drama teacher, and a mom. She 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, and more. Holly won Writer’s Digest Annual Writing Competition awards for her NextAvenue profile, “Women Share Tales at Stories Around the Table,” some of her Parents’ articles, and her short story “Three.” She has spoken on panels at the ASJA Conference and HerStories Project. 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

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