Mia DiBenedetto

Public Relations & Communications

182 Speaks Road, Advance, N.C. 27006. Phone: 401-295-8617

Mia retired from a career in Television after 35 years with NBC News. Her life now has gone to the dogs as she describes it. She and her husband, Jack Combs spend most of their time training and competing with their Standard Poodles. They split their time between North Carolina and Thomasville, Georgia training for AKC Hunt Test competitions. Before retirement, Jack and Mia lived in Wickford, Rhode Island.

Mia has served as the MNRC Communications Director for the Master National Retriever Club (MNRC) a post she has held for 15 years. The Master National event, presented by the MNRC, is the largest AKC outdoor performance event in the world. Competing in the Master National and the Master Amateur Invitational brings her across the United States. What’s best, she says is that the poodles and hunt tests have allowed her to meet so many lifelong friends.

She is a member of the Poodle Club of America and serves as a consultant to PCA on the design and upgrade of the PCA website. Her primary interest is field work. Her standards are AKC Master Hunters, and her oldest “Ten,” is the first Poodle to ever have qualified at the AKC Master National. Ten qualified in 2009 in Texas and 2012 in Alabama. In 2018, she qualified at the Master Amateur Retriever Club Invitational event in Sedalia, Mo.

Ten’s pups Dime & Smoke compete in the Master National and Master Amateur now. In 2023 Dime, became the first Poodle in AKC history to earn an MNH title and the first of her breed to be inducted into the Master National Retriever Hall of Fame. She also competes with her poodles in the Master level AKC Upland Spaniel Hunt Tests. Mia says it’s great to see more and more poodle owners competing in the Hunt Tests. “The Poodles truly enjoy the work and there’s so much satisfaction in seeing the breed using their talents in the field.”

Her early years in television consisted of working on traditional newscasts. But in the late 90’s, NBC and Microsoft collaborated to design and manage the television news websites. This was the origin of MSNBC. Mia had the unique opportunity to travel to Microsoft to learn the skills needed to become a webmaster. During her career, she received two National Edward R. Murrow Awards for Outstanding Journalism, and an Associated Press award for Best Website.

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