Catholic diocese has new communications director
Steff Koeneman enjoyed visiting Yuma's historic North End on Friday. She strolled through the streets and leisurely browsed through the shops.
She was also in town to introduce herself to the community as the new director of communications for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson. She takes the place of longtime director Fred Allison, who retired after 28 years with the diocese.
Her new job combines her religious heritage with a background in journalism and communications.
“I'm a Democrat, I'm a liberal and I'm a Catholic,” Koeneman said.
A native of Southern California, she graduated from the University of Southern California with a degree in journalism and a minor in religion.
She worked for a couple of newspapers in California before moving to the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson, where she covered different beats, including education. She eventually moved into the design department.
Koeneman then worked in the field of corporate communications, including for a rural power company in southeastern Arizona.
Then she moved back to Tucson, where she worked for the Pima Association of Governments and later the Pima County Public Library, where she oversaw the communications department for 27 branches.
“Nothing beats promoting the library,” she said.
Koeneman is now promoting her faith at the diocese, based in Tucson. The fifth-largest diocese in the continental U.S. has a territory of 43,000 square miles. It includes Arizona's nine southernmost counties and covers San Luis to the west, Clifton to the east, Nogales to the south and Payson to the north.
Her goal is “always to be sure we are distributing good information. And if we're not, then figure out how to improve that.”
She noted that the parishes are autonomous but do call for assistance.
She believes her background in journalism will help her maintain good relationships with the media.
“I still think like a journalist,” she quipped, adding, “I prefer to work with the media. I've learned that just saying, ‘I need your help' is pretty effective. I know you have a job to do. My job is to get the best outcome as possible.”
The diocese communicates with parishioners through the Bishops Monday Memo, available online at www.diocesetucson.org, and the monthly newspaper The New Vision, which is also published in Spanish.
Koeneman noted that the diocese is very “conscientious” about reaching out to Spanish-speaking community as well.
Mara Knaub can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 539-6856. Find her on Facebook at Facebook.com/YSMaraKnaub or on Twitter at @YSMaraKnaub.