Submitted by TCMedia

The staff and board of Thurston Community Media, (TCMedia), are very proud to announce that our own Deborah Vinsel is being honored as one of this year’s recipients of the Soroptimists award, recognizing Exceptional Women of the South Sound region.

Carol Goss, of the League of Women Voters, Thurston County, (LWVTC), submitted Deborah’s nomination on behalf of the league.

“Deborah Vinsel is a marvel to watch,” says Carol, “she administers a complex organization specializing in producing community video output and she is an incredible “worker bee”!”

The League of Women Voters and TCMedia have a long history of collaboration helping local voters understand local politics for our region – a relationship that has flourished under Deborah’s direction.

“I’ve had occasion to watch Deborah manage candidate forums for the LWVTC, ” continues Carol, “which can be opportunities for contentious exchanges and high tensions. Deborah is a maestro at facilitating the technical setup with TCMedia staff with an eye for high production value, while creating an environment of collegial interchange and civic and civil discourse.”

Authentic Voices

Deborah has had a storied career in community television, working her way up from a producer and trainer at Waycross Community Television in Ohio, to her current position as the CEO for TCMedia, a role she has held for over 33 years.

“I get a lot of satisfaction out of the creative process when I can be hands-

on making media,” says Deborah, “so while I love being in front of the camera, editing, and directing, the greatest joy is from helping people find their voice so they can share their message in their own authentic way. It has always been the secret sauce for me,” she says, simply, “and it’s why I do what I do.”

Under Deb’s leadership, TCMedia has spent 30 years telling the stories of our community and is now embarking on a new phase that reflects the diversity and richness of Thurston County and beyond.

Carol Goss helps explain these changes, “TCMedia is piloting the organization as 100% non-profit with no government funding and having to reinvent their funding model. Through it all,” says Carol, “Deb demonstrates integrity, creativity, grit and grace as she and TCMedia continue serving Thurston County with an entrepreneurial spirit.”

Building Community with Media

For her part, Deborah recognizes that the same values that attracted her to community media straight out of college are the very same that guide the transition for TCMedia today.

“I fell in love with the concept of empowering people to use the medium to speak for themselves,” says Deborah. “I was so fortunate to have several mentors who were pioneers in the community media movement, and they greatly influenced my perspective on how to build community with media.”

Respectful, Inclusive and Walk the Talk

“So, yes, I’m proud of the award-winning work we have done to inform the community,” explains Deborah. “Programs about important issues, educating voters about candidates and ballot measures, showcasing our communities’ heritage, festivals and events – they are all projects that make me proud,” reflecting Deborah adds, “but, I’m probably most proud that TCMedia is a safe place for all people to explore the creative process and to share their work.”

“Over the years we’ve had community producers who were not always visible or acknowledged in the greater community. They would become a part of our creative family and they knew when they were with us they would not be diminished, ridiculed, or ignored. They would be included and treated with respect. I’m proud we believe that everybody’s voice is important, and we continually strive to walk that talk.”

As TCMedia continues expanding its services and training, they will be reaching deeper and further into the area’s diverse population looking for more opportunities to ensure community voices are heard. Perhaps yours.

Congratulations to Deborah and to all of this year’s awardees. You can find details on the upcoming awards banquet and a complete list of the Olympia Soroptomist recipients here.

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