Vivian Belen Award Winners, 2015

The NRWA could not operate without the dedication of its board and other volunteers. To say thanks, we celebrate an individual volunteer or two every year. This year, I’ve selected two members whose efforts during 2015 have been transformative, and have helped ensure a prosperous future for our organization. Their impact will be felt for years.

Both Brenda and Mary Jo went far beyond their elected roles in order to make The NRWA better. Thank you.

- Shauna C. Bryce, NRWA President, 2015


Brenda Cunningham

With Brenda’s cultivation, our membership base is larger and stronger than ever.  

As Membership Chair, she led our Directors of Industry (our board members devoted to a particular constituency in membership, such as new business owners) in several outreach projects that significantly grew our membership. For the first time, we met—and exceeded!—the 600-member mark.

In addition to outreach to bring in new members, Brenda led outreach efforts to our existing members. She ensured that, as a board and an organization, we were aware of and responsive to member needs ranging from educational opportunities, to business building, to technological questions. Brenda has been a tireless member advocate who has helped us provide greater member value.

During turbulence in our administrative support positions, Brenda also fulfilled many of the admin functions associated with our membership support. She spent countless hours over several months patiently training admins, including The NRWA’s current admin. This significantly reduced the impact of our sudden admin turnovers on our membership as well as on other board members. 

Throughout, Brenda created a positive, interactive, and supportive culture within our organization and our membership base.

Mary Jo King

Mary Jo volunteered to spearhead a project critical to the continued success of The NRWA: the review and harmonization of our operating documents. 

Forming a new Governance Committee under her role as Secretary, Mary Jo combed through our bylaws, standing rules, organizational chart, and other documentation that had become fractured over the years. Gaps and redundancies were challenges to the foundation of The NRWA. 

Over an intense period of months, Mary Jo led the review of our organizational structure and the overhaul of all these governing documents, making detailed recommendations to the board. These recommendations included restructuring some board roles and creating job descriptions for new board positions, the Sponsor Relations Chair and the IT Chair.

She also created a Board of Directors Reference Manual that was the basis for creating an orientation for incoming board members. Both the reference manual and the orientation are firsts for The NRWA, and help ensure smooth board transitions and operations. These projects are critical to the success of our board and, therefore, to the very success of the organization. 

In addition to serving as a very active executive board member, Mary Jo’s good spirits and sound counsel have been invaluable to our leadership.


The NRWA created the Vivian Belen Award to honor those who have given selflessly to the organization,  in many cases, without the “title” of board member. They exemplify everything Vivian believed in. They continue to do her work. To ensure that we follow the code of ethics she helped formulate, practice fairness and honesty, and continue mentoring and educating peers and colleagues.

  • Marie Zimenoff (2014)
  • Sophia Marshall (2013)
  • Kathy Harber (2012)
  • Pat Criscito and Kathy Sweeney (2011)
  • Marcia Baker (2010)
  • Donna Tucker (2009)
  • Bonnie Kurka (2008)
  • Sally McIntosh (2007)
  • Kathy Sweeney (2006)
  • Sherri Morgan (2005)
  • Ann Baehr (2004)
  • Sally McIntosh and Linda Matias (2003)

The National Résumé Writers' Association
P.O. Box 482, Collingswood, NJ 08108

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