Pam Yip remembered at SABEW’s annual fall conference

Posted By Crystal Beasley

By Marty Wolk

Fulton SABEW President's AwardPam Yip, longtime business columnist for the Dallas Morning News, was remembered at SABEW’s 2015 fall conference in New York for her dedication to the organization, the profession and most of all, her readers.

SABEW President Joanna Ossinger paid tribute to Yip for her passion and dedication to SABEW, honoring her with a posthumous President’s Award. Yip served on the board of governors from 2007 until her death from cancer Oct. 4 at age 59.

In accepting the award, Yip’s former editor Dennis Fulton said he often teased Yip over her wardrobe, which he said seemed to consist largely of Ralph Lauren Polo outfits and SABEW logo shirts.

Fulton said Yip was unusually dedicated to her job and to her mission of helping readers with their financial issues. One year he noticed that Yip had not taken any vacation days and asked her why not. She said she loved working too much. “What would I do with a day off?” she asked.

“I put it in her evaluation as a goal,” he said. “To be successful that year, she had to take vacation.”

Pam took one week off the next year, of the six she was owed.

“Pam was a consummate professional,” said Ted Beck, executive director of the National Endowment for Financial Education. “She was passionate. She was a great reporter. She was very good at what she did.”

Beck said Yip was unusual because in addition to the work she did for her column, she would often call seeking answers to individual reader problems, going well beyond what she had to do for publication.

“She would say, I owe my readers a response – and she would get one,” Beck said. “Pam is someone we should all aspire to be like – both professionally and personally.”

Beck dedicated this year’s SABEW/NEFE personal finance reporting workshop in her memory.

“Pam was SABEW’s biggest cheerleader,” said Jill Jorden Spitz, SABEW past president and senior editor at the Arizona Daily Star. “Whenever someone shared kudos with the board, Pam was always the first to offer her congratulations. And when the news was not so great, like after a layoff, she was the first to offer support. She certainly will be missed.”

Pam was especially remembered for her key role in organizing SABEW’s successful 2011 conference in Dallas.

“She was a great host,” said past President Rob Reuteman. “She was a very warm person, low-key but quite effective, and with a wonderfully dry sense of humor. She certainly favored sweatshirts, I remember that. So sorry to see her pass.”

Marty Steffens, SABEW chair of business and financial journalism at the University of Missouri, also remembered Pam showing her the sights of Dallas, including the Highland Park Village Ralph Lauren store, where she was well known. “The world has lost a good soul” Steffens said. “She was brave, funny and full of contradictions. We will miss her deeply.”

In addition to writing columns and features on personal finance for the Dallas Morning News, Pam spent countless hours on the phone with readers helping guide them through financial problems, Fulton said.

She launched a Helpline where a group of volunteer certified financial planners would man a phone bank on Sunday afternoon in the basement of the newspaper, taking calls from the public, providing guidance at no charge.

In 2009, at the depths of the great recession, she expanded on the idea, creating a financial help blog where readers could get help seven days a week. Readers would post questions on the blog and one of Pam’s team of planners would answer.

“Pam was truly a caring person,” Fulton said in a note. “She had empathy for her readers, and she considered it her mission to help them.”

Pam was an exemplary service journalist — someone who always had her readers in mind and tried to guide them to make better financial decisions.

And she was an exemplary board member. When she got sick she always said how sorry she was to miss our board meetings, and how she hoped to see us all again at the next one. She was a voice of reason at the board table, and a committed and hard-working volunteer. She will be missed.

To donate to SABEW in Pam’s memory, visit the donation page.

Marty Wolk, 2014-15 president of SABEW, is an assigning editor at NerdWallet.

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