Emily Bradbury will become executive director of the Kansas Press Association on July 30.
She is just the 10th person — and the first woman — to serve in that role.
She succeeds Doug Anstaett, who will step down after leading the association for the past 15 years. He will assume a part-time, supporting role as KPA consultant and lobbyist.
Bradbury, 40, said she looks forward to the opportunity and the challenge.
She will jump right in to her new responsibilities this Friday when she helps lead the board of directors through a strategic planning session. Mike Matson of Kansas Farm Bureau will serve as facilitator.
She takes over at a time when the press association and its member newspapers are being buffeted by digital competitors, the growth of social media and a changing advertising market.
“There is so much uncertainty in our world and even in our industry about the changing landscape of our business,” she said. “But one thing remains the same: what we do matters and is vital to a functioning democracy. We don’t take this responsibility lightly, and neither do our members.”
Bradbury said the role of KPA is simple: working for members.
She said: “Our association is committed to supporting our members every day. What does that look like? That is the question we will be asking our members over the next several months as we examine our association’s services and member benefits. We are one of the oldest associations in Kansas and we know that what helped our members 10 years ago may be irrelevant to them now. We are going to examine every aspect of our business to see how we can best support our members going forward. We are excited and hopeful for the future.”
Bradbury grew up in Haysville, just south of Wichita. She graduated from Washburn University in 2000 with a B.A. degree in history.
After graduation, she spent two years as the executive assistant to former Kansas Secretary of State Ron Thornburgh.
In 2002, she was named executive director of Kids Voting Kansas, a program KPA still manages on a limited scale.
She moved to her current position of director of member services in 2008 and added the title of assistant director in 2015.
She was named one of Topeka’s 30 under 30 in 2005 and was recently named to the Kansas Historical Society Foundation’s Board of Directors. She also is a member of PEO International and a member of the William Allen White Partnership Board in Emporia.
Bradbury and her family have experienced a whirlwind last few months as she prepares to take over the reins at KPA.
Her husband Ryan accepted a new position July 1 as superintendent of schools in the Wellsville USD 289 district following nine years as superintendent and high school principal in Madison.
That, of course, necessitated the purchase of a new home and the sale of the one they had in Madison for nine years.
It also required the uprooting of their two children — Kyle, 13, and Cassie, 8 — to new schools and a new neighborhood.
During this same time frame, the KPA board decided to consider marketing the building at 5423 S.W. 7th St. in Topeka because it contains triple the space needed.
“We love our KPA home, but we’ve either got to become a landlord and fill much of the unused space with tenants or just downsize to something more manageable,” she said. “The association doesn’t have to move, so we can be selective in this process.”
She will be working with three full-time staff members and one part-timer after July 30.
“I have had the pleasure of working with Doug his entire tenure at KPA,” she said. “He taught me about the important role a newspaper plays in its community and the difference we can make by shining the light on transparency issues across the state while serving our members with passion and a sense of purpose.
“I may not have been a journalism graduate from one our fine institutions here in Kansas, but I learned on-the-job from one of the best.”
She also will be joined by Amber Jackson, advertising director since 2014; Lori Jackson, administrative assistant/advertising since 2010; and Judy Beach, accountant since 2017.
Doug Anstaett’s career
Anstaett’s career began upon his graduation from Kansas State University in 1973.
All the newspapers he served were at one time members of Stauffer Communications, Inc., a Topeka-based media company.
His first job was as a reporter for the Pittsburg Headlight-Sun, which later became the Morning Sun. Ken Bronson, long-time Kansas newspaperman, was publisher in Pittsburg at the time.
A year later, he transferred to Topeka to cover agriculture and rural development for the Capital-Journal.
In 1977, he was named editor of the Nevada Daily Mail in southwest Missouri.
Eighteen months later, he was chosen as the one of the first two participants in the Stauffer Management Training Program. He went to the Grand Island (Neb.) Independent and trained under publisher and mentor David Beliles,
In December of 1981, he was named general manager of the Brookings (S.D.) Register, where he served for nearly six years before an opportunity arose back in Kansas.
In August, 1987, he transferred to the Newton Kansan, where he served as editor and publisher for 16 years.
While in Newton, he won three first place awards in the William Allen White Editorial Excellence Contest sponsored by the Inland Press Association (1992, 1999 and 2002). He had won the same award in Brookings in 1987.
In 1992, he also won Inland’s sweepstakes award, given to the editorials judged best among all circulation categories.
He joined KPA in January 2004.
He and his wife of 45 years, Lucinda, have two daughters, Beth (Russ) Iversen and Ashley (Matt) All, and seven grandchildren: Olivia and Sebastian Iversen and Helena, Thomas, Penelope, Silvia and Georgia All.
The Anstaetts plan to spend time traveling and tending to their farm near Lyndon.