We’re excited to introduce OWAA member Jodi Stemler in today’s “Member Spotlight Monday,” a weekly feature that celebrates our present—the gift of our talented current members and their ongoing excellence in outdoor communications.
- Where were you born?
- Where do you call home now?
- What’s your nickname?
Jodi is my nickname, my real name is Joy.
- What’s your favorite outdoor activity?
I just have to pick one? Nah… Hunting, Fishing, Horseback riding… I’ll leave it to my top three!
- What is your profession/connection with outdoors communication?
I’ve done conservation/wildlife communications for non-profits and then started my consulting firm doing policy and communications work in 2005. For my clients, I write reports, do PR and media consulting, coordinate legislative efforts, edit and write for newsletters, plan and facilitate meetings – pretty much whatever projects I’m needed for! Over the last few years, I’ve increased my freelance outdoor writing and have written for FieldandStream.com, OutdoorLife.com, Range365.com, The Upland Almanac, and I’m expanding who I’m writing for and what I’m writing about.
- Why did you choose to become an outdoor communicator?
After fumbling around my early years in college trying to see what “fit,” I took a wildlife management course and realized that it just made sense and I loved it – my dad taught wildlife and I was constantly immersed in the hunting, fishing and conservation lifestyle while growing up but hadn’t realized I wanted to pursue a career in it. I knew I didn’t want to spend my career counting deer turds or spending months living out of a tent, so a field biologist wasn’t for me. I completed my degree in Natural Resource Management, but took a number of writing, law and policy courses. I knew that I wanted to combine these areas and that has been the niche that I carved out for myself – understanding the legislative/policy process as well as the science behind wildlife management, then being able to tell that story to a wider audience.
- What are you most proud of in your career thus far?
I joke that the first time I knew I “made it” in my career was when people at professional meetings stopped asking me if I was Jim Applegate’s daughter, and started asking him whether he was Jodi Applegate’s (now Stemler) dad. Working in conservation policy there can be limited big “wins” but I think every time I complete a new publication, or see an article I’ve written in print (or online) I am proud of what I’m accomplishing.
- What three words would your friends use to describe you?
I suspect we need to keep it clean :). Dedicated, an Achiever, Fun!
- What is the best piece of advice you have received as an outdoor communicator?
When I started my consulting business a good friend/colleague advised that when you do a good job, people will hear about it. If you do a bad job, even more people will hear about it! I’ve tried to live up to that by always providing the best service and best product that I can.
- When you head for the Great Outdoors, what is the one thing you do not leave home without?
Food. Seriously, I tend to get a little hangry so I always carry granola bars and water whenever I head out.
- What would you do if you won the lottery?
Buy a ranch and lots of horses and finally move back to the country like we’ve wanted to do for a long time.
- Who do you most admire in your life and why?
Lots of people – my dad, he set me on the path to my future career and I realize how many lessons I learned from him (and really only appreciated the impact he had on the wildlife profession after I started my own career). My husband and daughter – they are so completely their own people with a tremendous sense of integrity. Jim Range – he was my friend and mentor and without him I wouldn’t have started my own business; I admire all that he got done and the fact that he never needed to take the credit for doing it. I’m sure I could name a number of others.
- What was the last movie you saw?
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
- What are your top three favorite books?
All of Timothy Egan’s books (The Worst Hard Time, The Big Burn, etc.), the Harry Potter series, A Sand County Almanac.
- Can you juggle?
Literally? Ha… no. Metaphorically, heck yeah! My entire life is a constant juggling act managing all my clients and different projects, always being there with our daughter to run her around to school and her activities, and just managing time with my family and doing the things I love to do.
- What is your favorite dessert?
Tough question, I love pretty much all desserts, ice cream, tiramisu, anything with dark chocolate. But my favorite, favorite is truly fresh, locally grown berries with homemade whipped cream or crème fraiche.
- If you were a superhero, what would your superpower be?
Juggling… just kidding. I have no idea, I’m pretty content to be living life without super powers.
- Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
In 10 years, our daughter will be off to college (scary!) and theoretically I’ll have more time to travel, to hunt/fish/ride when and where I want. I’d love to finally have our farm/ranch (though I think we’d all like to have that much sooner than 10 years from now). I am pretty sure I’ll still be running my business and hopefully I’ll be doing even more freelance writing.
- What is your favorite inspirational quote?
“It is what it is – but it will be what you make of it” (Pat Summit). I used to say the front end of that quote pretty regularly, somewhat as a throw away like there was nothing that I could do about the situation. But then I saw the second part of the quote when Tennessee women’s basketball coach, Pat Summit, passed away last year and I realized that it is so true. Often things happen and it really is what it is – the biggest part, though, is making something of the circumstances that may be beyond our control. It’s not about what happened, it’s about moving forward from what happened and making the best of it.
- What do you like best about OWAA?
All of the crazy OWAA’ers! Seriously, so many of the members are dear friends, mentors and outdoors buddies. I am constantly inspired by their work and creativity and only hope that my work lives up to these incredible colleagues as well as the legacy of gifted outdoor communicators that we are following.
Thank you, Jodi, for not only your answers to our questions, but also for being valued part of “The Voice of the Outdoors.”
If you are an OWAA member and wish to be featured in a future Member Spotlight Monday, send your answers to the above questions and a photograph of yourself enjoying the outdoors (in JPG format sized for the web) to Colleen Miniuk-Sperry at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Not a member? Check us out at https://www.owaa.org.