Happy Hanukkah! Today’s Media Monday is Flo Eckstein, publisher of the Greater Phoenix Jewish News. Truth be told, I’ve known about the paper for 40 years. The Jewish News is the number-one resource for news about the Jewish community in the Valley. So even before I was a public relations professional, I was pitching stories to the editorial team – to cover such things as high school youth group activities, graduations, promotions and most recently, my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary.
So it seems fitting that today, on the second day of Hanukkah that we feature Flo.
Take it away, Flo.
I’m a rare bird – a Phoenix native of a certain age. My parents came to Phoenix in the 1920s. I was born at St. Joseph’s Hospital, then a wooden building that stood on the site of the Arizona Center. I attended Kenilworth and Grandview elementary schools and the late West Phoenix High School. I am a proud graduate of Phoenix College, the University of Arizona (Bachelor of Arts in English) and Arizona State University (Master’s in Social Work). I am a lifetime resident of central Phoenix.
My husband Paul and I were high school classmates. We went on our first date at age 23 and married at 24. My parents hosted our wedding reception at the Westward Ho Hotel, a downtown Phoenix landmark. In our 47 years together, Paul and I have raised two sons and enjoyed the companionship of seven dogs (no more than two at a time). We’ve lived in our home for 40 years.
Professionally, I evolved from secretary to social worker to small business owner. Since 1981, Paul and I have been owners, and I’ve been publisher, of Jewish News of Greater Phoenix, a community weekly newspaper founded in 1948 and owned by my parents for 20 years. I’ve always loved to write and believe passionately in the power of words for conveying facts, opinions and emotions. It’s been a fascinating 32 years at the office, working alongside talented, devoted colleagues to serve our readers within and beyond the local Jewish community, through traditional and new technology -- delivering accurate news, insightful commentary and effective advertising information through print and cyberspace.
My grandparents and parents taught me by example the value of investing volunteer time in our community. I have enjoyed serving the citizens of Phoenix in several capacities, including as a member of the City of Phoenix Parks and Recreation Board and, currently, the Camp Colley Foundation Board. I am also on the Arizona State University College of Public Programs Dean’s Leadership Council. Through the American Jewish Press Association executive committee, I have the pleasure of sharing ideas and resources with professional colleagues in other markets.
I am lucky to have spent my life in the city I love, within a few minutes’ drive of many members of our family, including our son Tim, daughter-in-law Keri and grandchildren Lauren and Owen (our son Michael lives in Oakland, Calif.), in a stunning desert landscape punctuated by majestic mountains and graced with dramatic sunsets. I am fortunate also to do work that I love, and to do what I can to make our community and our world just a little bit better.