- The Washington Times - Monday, July 21, 2003

“Two wars and a plane inside a building is probably enough for anybody,” former Pentagon spokesman Victoria Clarke told the local chapter of the Association for Women in Communications at the National Press Club Thursday.

Ms. Clarke was quoting what her father had said when she told him she had decided to resign her post as assistant secretary for public affairs at the Department of Defense after two tumultuous years. The remark brought a laugh from audience members, many of whom work in the front lines of the broadly defined communications field.

Presented with the organization’s annual Matrix Award honoring women of achievement, Ms. Clarke — the official credited with pushing the embedding program for journalists during the Iraq war — said she would accept it on behalf of her former 75-person staff. “The best in the business,” she enthused.

You can take the woman out of the Pentagon but not the Pentagon out of the woman. Asked privately what she is doing now — maybe a memoir project? — the high-profile ex-civil servant and mother of three requested that her answer be “off the record.”

The other honoree, anchor Kathleen Matthews of ABC affiliate WJLA-TV Channel 7, felt no such reserve when regaling the crowd with tidbits of her broadcasting career past and present. Or how the personal and professional worlds go hand in hand, often to the advantage of both. Washington, where local news can be nationally and internationally significant as well, is “a town of overlapping circles,” she said.

No question about that, especially as the luncheon’s mistress of ceremonies was Maureen Bunyan, Mrs. Matthews’ co-anchor at WJLA and a 2002 Matrix awardee. Ms. Clarke and Mrs. Matthews also were acquainted previously. (They originally met on a professional mission to Russia advising women there in 1993.)

“Women are coming together in greater numbers than ever before,” noted AWC National Chairwoman Lynn Osborne, president of Arlington’s Ad Management Insights, in introductory remarks cheering on an organization founded in 1909. AWC grew out of a women’s journalism society, Theta Sigma Phi, and has 100 chapters in the United States alone. The name was changed to the present one in 1972. In addition to awards and scholarships, members have focused on social issues and raising women’s status in a number of ways.

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