Connecting Columbia Union Seventh-day Adventists

Columbia Union Members Score Big at Communication Convention

Story by Tamara Fisher/Society of Adventist Communicators; Photo by Gerry Chudleigh


Pictured below: Charlotte Ishkanian, a member of the Takoma Park (Md.) church, gets emotional after winning the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Charlotte Ishkanian, a member of the Takoma Park (Md.) church, gets emotional after winning the Lifetime Achievement Award.Last month at the Society of Adventist Communicators (SAC) in Albuquerque, N.M., several members of the Columbia Union Conference walked away with awards recognizing their work in the communication field.

Charlotte Ishkanian of Adventist Mission, located at the Seventh-day Adventist Church’s world headquarters in Silver Spring, Md., received the Lifetime Achievement Award. Ishkanian began her work as a professional communicator 43 years ago after graduating from Oregon University with a master’s degree in journalism. She came to the world church headquarters and started working as the assistant editor of Liberty Magazine under the tutelage of Roland Hegstad. Ishkanian then took time off to raise her three kids, but she kept busy teaching classes for Home Study International, the precursor to Griggs University.

 She then returned to the General Conference, this time in the Sabbath School department where she served as the assistant to the editor of the Adult Bible Study Guide.

In 1992 she started working as the editor of the Mission quarterlies, which promoted the 13th Sabbath Offering and covered the mission work of the Adventist Church around the world. Today she continues in this same role, having written thousands of articles focusing on the stories of Adventists all over the world. Ishkanian, a member of Potomac Conference’s Takoma Park (Md.) church, has visited every division of the world church on many occasions and has been to some of the most remote places that the church works in. She has no problem climbing rough mountain trails or sitting in the hot sun for hours on end, just to get a story.

Her commitment to the mission work of the Adventist Church is boundless. When most other people would get tired and move on to another job, Ishkanian has stood the test of time and focused on finding stories that will inspire Adventist members around the world.

 Her greatest love is to find stories of children who are working as ambassadors for Jesus. Her face will light up when she returns back to the office and shares the story of a young person she has just encountered on her latest trip. She truly has a heart for missions. 


Another big winner is Heather Quintana, editor of Vibrant Life, and her staff. The team, which includes designer Michelle Petz and creative director Bryan Gray, is located in Hagerstown, Md. The magazine, which won the Award of Excellence, is designed for sharing and focuses on achieving wellness. Quintana is a member of Chesapeake Conference’s Frederick (Md.) church.

Kimberly Luste Maran, SAC president, said, “It was exciting to see so many shops submit their work. The word is out that not only do we give awards, our judges provide valuable critiques that will help communicators do an even better job.”

George Johnson Jr., executive director for SAC, said, "It is not only thrilling to watch the awards category grow, it is equally as rewarding to enhance the lives of communicators through networking and valuable seminars.”

 Below is a list of other Columbia Union winners:

Category: Corporate Communication

Class: Website
Best in Class:

Adventist Mission

Hans Olson, communication projects manager

Category: New Media
Class: App

Best in class: Gracelink 
Falvo Fowler, creator

Jason Strack, project manager

Matthew Leffler, developer

Class: Email Newsletter
Best in class: Metropolitan Email-gram

Metropolitan Seventh-day Adventist Church Communication Department
Category: Print
Class: Magazine

Honorable Mention: Vibrant Life

Heather Quintanna, editor

Michelle Petz, designer

Bryan Gray, creative director

Class: Feature

Honorable Mention: “In the Lyme Light”

Vibrant Life Magazine

Heather Quintana, writer
Honorable Mention: “Overcoming Fear, Worry, and Anxiety: Strategies to Help You Refrain your Thoughts, Build your Faith, and Conquer your Fears”

Vibrant Life Magazine

Jennifer Jill Schwirzer, writer

Category: Broadcast
Class: Radio Show or Podcast
Best in Class: The Rest of Your Life
 Simple Truths for Life with Charles Tapp

Rob Conway, producer

Best in Class: Letting Go–How Forgiveness Brings Freedom Part 3

AnchorPoints with Robert Quintanna

Rob Conway, producer

Class: Video TV/Internet Show
Best in Class: JCI Today

NAD Youth Ministries

George Johnson, producer/writer

Suzanne Ocsai, writer

Luis Castro, writer

Loisbet Castro, writer

Robert Baker, editor

Kenn Dixon, videographer

Rich Herard, videographer/editor/technical director

Class: Video Story/Project
Honorable Mention: Another Communion

Adventist Mission 

Daniel Weber, producer

Honorable Mention: By Firelight

Adventist Mission

Daniel Weber, producer/writer/photographer 

Ricky Oliveras, editor

Rick Kajiura, executive producer

Gary Krause, executive producer

Category: Design

Class: Book Design
Best in class: Convicted

Review and Herald Publishing Association

Bryan Gray, art director

Honorable Mention: Devotional Gift Set

Review and Herald Publishing Association

Bryan Gray, art director

Ron J. Pride, designer

Haley Trimmer, designer
Honorable Mention: Miracle of the Seventh-day Ox

Review and Herald Publishing Association

Emily Ford, designer
Honorable Mention: Raise a Leader

Review and Herald Publishing Association

Bryan Gray, art director

Ron J. Pride, designer

Dennis Crews, photographer

Class: Magazine Cover Design
Best in class: Vibrant Life (Jan/Feb 2012)

Michelle Petz, designer

Heather Quintana, editor

Bryan Gray, creative director

Class: Magazine Design Overall
Best in class: Vibrant Life (Jan/Feb 2012)

Michelle Petz, designer

Heather Quintana, editor

Bryan Gray, creative director
Honorable Mention: Children’s Mission Magazine (4th Quarter 2012)

Adventist Mission

Charlotte Ishkanian, editor

Hans Olson, managing editor

Emily Harding, layout editor

Class: Project Design
Honorable Mention: Victorious Secrets

Metropolitan Seventh-day Adventist Church

Daren Cumberbatch

Marquis D. Johns

Metropolitan Communication Department
Honorable Mention: 15 Months with Global Mission

Nancy Kyte, editor

Gary Krause, executive producer

Dan Weber, photographer

Rick Kajiura, photographer

Hans Olson, photographer

Charlotte Ishkanian, photographer

The Society of Adventist Communicators is an organization for the socialization, continuing education, recognition and nurture of Seventh-day Adventists whose careers are in fields of communication. Their next convention will be held in Salt Lake City.

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