Abbie Fink elected trustee of non-profit that owns Independent Newsmedia

Abbie Fink has been elected as one of the five trustees of the non-profit that owns Independent Newsmedia Inc. USA.

Abbie Fink

Abbie Fink

CEO Ed Dulin made the announcement after the company’s annual meeting, which took place in Phoenix on Feb. 5-6.

Independent Newsmedia Inc. USA owns and operates community newspapers and digital sites in Arizona, Delaware and Florida, including the Scottsdale Independent.

Ms. Fink, 51, will serve a five-year term that will expire at INI’s 2021 annual meeting.

She is VP/GM at HMA Public Relations in Phoenix. She has a master’s degree in mass communications and a bachelor of arts degree in journalism/public relations from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Telecommunication at Arizona State University.

Ms. Fink’s honors include the Junior League’s Valley Impact Award for her volunteer efforts in the community; the YWCA’s Philanthropy Woman of the Year; and the Scottsdale Leadership Alumni Achievement Award.

She is an adjunct faculty member at Arizona State University, teaching Public Relations for Special Events and Social Media Strategies for Non-Profits. Her specialties include marketing communications, media relations, digital/social media relations, special event management, community relations, issues management and marketing promotions for the private and public sectors, as well as not-for-profit organizations.

Gary Edens

Gary Edens

Ms. Fink replaces Gary Edens, 74, whose five-year term as a non-profit trustee expired at the company’s annual meeting. Mr. Edens owns The Hanover Companies, Inc. in Phoenix.

From 1984 to 1993, he was chair and CEO of Edens Broadcasting, which owned radio stations in San Diego, Phoenix, Richmond, Newport News and Tampa. Prior to that he was radio group executive for Harte-Hanks, which owned radio, TV stations, newspapers and shoppers. He still has a strong believe in the importance of local media and is especially interested in digital media.

Chair Joe Smyth, who in 1991 transferred 100 percent ownership of INI to the non-profit he created to keep the company mission-driven and perpetually independent, welcomed Ms. Fink and thanked Mr. Edens for his years of service.

“It is so gratifying that this little company has been able to attract so many incredible people to support our service to our communities,” Mr. Smyth said.

“We may be small, but we make a huge difference in our communities. The dedication begins with our local teams, but their work is made possible — and made sustainable for the long haul — by an equally dedicated group of directors and non-profit trustees.”

INI is unique because it is a normal tax-paying company that is owned by a non-profit holding company. There are no stockholders and therefore no dividends are paid. All after-tax profits are reinvested in the company’s mission of community service through independent civic-oriented journalism.

The five INI non-profit trustees serve staggered five-year terms. They cannot serve consecutive terms, so at least one member is replaced each year. The four other non-profit trustees, in addition to Ms. Fink, are:

• Karny Stefan, 52, is the chief development officer of Make-A-Wish Arizona, the founding chapter of Make-A-Wish (the international wish granting organization that grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions).

She serves on the board of directors of the National Kidney Foundation of Arizona. Ms. Stefan has worked in fundraising and/or executive positions with Boys & Girls Clubs, HomeBase Youth Services, We Deliver Dreams Foundation, Monarch School for homeless youth, foster care agency Walden Family Services and Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

She has a B.A. in political science from the University of Colorado, and a MPA with an emphasis in Non-Profit Management from the University of Missouri. In 2012, she was elected as trustee to a five-year term as that will expire at the 2017 annual meeting.

• Chuck Matthews, 53, is the chairman and CEO of WGM Associates LLC, a Scottsdale-based company that provides small- and medium-sized businesses a wide range of managed services and software solutions designed to transform information technology into a core strategic asset. His background includes 26 years in management, finance, real estate and technology.

Mr. Matthews is past president of the FBI Citizens’ Academy Alumni Association, and is on the same group’s national board of directors. He is a member of Infragard and a life member of the Scottsdale Charros.
He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Finance from the University of Arizona. He was elected as a non-profit trustee in 2013, for a five-year term that will expire at the 2018 annual meeting.

• Chevy Humphrey, 51, is president and CEO of the Arizona Science Center, which has a mission to inspire, educate and entertain Arizonans about the wonders of science and technology.

In 2011, Phoenix Business Journal named her as one of the Valley’s Most Admired CEOs. She is the immediate past board chair of the Association of Science-Technology Centers. ASTC is a 600 member international organization that represents science centers and museums in 45 different countries. In 2014 she was elected to a five-year term as a non-profit trustee that will expire at the 2019 annual meeting.

• Lauren (Rosenblum) Hendeles, 27, is a content marketing consultant with clients spanning retail, real estate and technology. Prior to launching her own firm, Ms. Hendeles served as the global director of corporate communications at IO, a Phoenix-based technology company.

Previous experiences include communications manager at Sprouts Farmers Market; associate editor at The Huffington Post; and editor for AOL’s She was named the print journalism student of the year at USC, where she earned her B.A. in print journalism with a minor in marketing.

Ms. Hendeles appeared on the Phoenix Business Journal’s 2014 list of “25 Dynamic Women in Business” and took home a gold at the 10th Annual Stevie Awards for Women in Business. Elected in 2015, Lauren is serving a five-year term that will expire at the 2020 annual meeting.

The non-profit members act as trustees of the company’s mission of community service journalism, and pledge not to profit personally from their involvement. They don’t have responsibility for managing the company, but they elect the directors who bear that responsibility.

At the recent annual meeting, INI’s four directors were re-elected to serve at the pleasure of the non-profit trustees. They are:

• Richard Bricker, 69, whose career has been as a lawyer, real estate industry executive, banking industry executive, and business consultant. Consulting activity has ranged from advising on workouts and capital restructuring, to acquisitions, dispositions (various industries), strategic planning and specialized negotiation. He was elected to the Board of Directors in 2008.

• Don Henninger, 60, is principal of DH Advisors, a leadership and business development consulting group whose clients include the Maricopa Community Colleges, Accelerent, and Valley Leadership, among others.

He was publisher of the Phoenix Business Journal for 13 years before announcing his retirement in 2014. He served as managing editor of the Arizona Republic from 1995 to 1997 and served in several editor positions at the Phoenix Gazette from 1983 to 1995.

Before that, the Pennsylvania State University grad was news editor of the Yuma Daily Sun; a reporter for the Morning Herald in Uniontown, Pa.; and a reporter for the Daily Courier in Connellsville, Pa. He was elected to the Board of Directors in 2015.

• Alicia Wadas, 60, is chief operating officer at Lavidge, a full-service advertising, public relations, communications, consulting and interactive marketing agency in Phoenix. She is also an active volunteer in several community organizations.

Joe Smyth

Joe Smyth

• Joe Smyth, 74, who has chaired INI’s board of directors for more than 40 years and presided over the company’s printing, publishing and digital media expansion in Arizona, Delaware, Florida and Maryland.

He is the author of “Newsroom Guidelines for Independent Newspapers” and “Fixing America’s Broken Politics.”

In a planned succession, Joe stepped down as CEO in 2014 but continued as board chair, and the board named Ed Dulin as the new CEO.

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