I always say to my students, “I wish I had found the publishing industry as soon as I graduated from undergraduate school at Temple University.” I came across the publishing industry when I met someone who sold advertising for Essence Magazine. At the time I was working within the corporate insurance sector at CIGNA Corporation and was just about to start my ninth year in the business. While it was an amazing experience, where I learned a great deal about the corporate world, traveled the country and worked with many Fortune 500 companies, I longed for something more dynamic, more interesting and more fun! When my friend told me what advertising sales was all about I said I knew my work experience would make me an ideal candidate for a job within this industry. She introduced me to the Associate Publisher of Essence and I was thrilled. However, the Associate Publisher did not think the transition from corporate insurance to publishing would be an easy one at first. I interviewed for a year, and was passed over twice, before I landed a job at Essence.
Once I made the transition in Ad Sales I knew that I had found an industry that I could work in for the rest of my life. I was given the business category since I came from corporate insurance, so I had accounts like Citibank, Solomon Smith Barney, New York Life, America Online, and more. Based on the success I had with this category they decided to give me more business within different categories, until I was promoted to manage the biggest accounts in the business, such as L’Oreal Paris, Lancome, Maybelline, Estee Lauder, Clinique and more. The business was ever changing and I was always moving around to meet with my accounts and talk about their new launches and how our audience would fit with their various brands. And the magazine editorial was also changing so we always had something new cooking to talk about.
Now I had been out of college a good ten years at this point. And I felt I would have been further ahead in my publishing career if I had started right after undergraduate school. I had this sense that I needed to catch up somehow with where I thought I should be at this point in my life, as if I had actually chosen this industry right out of college. That is when I started looking around at M.S. in Publishing Programs. I knew that this type of Masters would round my background out so that I would learn all the different disciplines that make up a magazine, from production, to editing, to marketing and more. I graduated from Pace in 2003 and knew that now I had the full knowledge to aspire to higher levels at Essence and in my career in general.
Essence was about to go into a joint venture with Time Inc. at the time and that made me very happy as now I would be inside one of the largest publishing houses in the world and would learn even more. I went from being a sales representative to being sales management, as I was promoted to Northeast Ad Director, where I had a sales staff that reported into me directly. Things continued to go well at Essence and within Time Inc. I was promoted again to National Ad Director, where I oversaw all advertising sales across the country at Essence and took part in strategic decision making alongside the Publisher and Associate Publisher of Marketing. I came into my ninth year at Essence, and decided that nine years was enough time at one magazine and now was the time to venture out to another publishing house to see what more I could learn. I moved on to Conde Nast where I was the Associate Publisher for two magazines, Modern Bride and Elegant Bride. The bridal category was a brand new experience and very different from working for a women’s beauty/fashion/lifestyle magazine. I found it to be too small of a niche market, so I made the decision to go back to the category that I loved most, beauty/fashion.
Opportunities within the magazine world were far and few at the time, as the print industry began to shrink and numerous titles were closing due to the emergence of digital. When they say knowing another language is an asset that is not an understatement in anyway. Growing up half Chilean, I always had the Spanish language in my home life, so my next move would turn out to be within the U.S. Hispanic category at Meredith Corporation. Meredith is known for some of the largest, and oldest, magazines in the country, such as Better Homes & Garden, Parents, Ladies Home Journal, More, Fitness and others, and the Hispanic population is booming, as we all know from the 2000 Census. Here I serve as the Associate Publisher of four titles, Siempre Mujer (Always a Woman) a beauty/fashion title, Ser Padres (the Spanish version of Parents Magazine), Espera (Expecting) and Bebe (Baby), all parenthood titles. These are some of the largest Spanish language magazines in the country and now I can say I have expanded my experience to include the parenthood category, as well as the women’s beauty/fashion category. I also have the privilege of overseeing their digital properties, which gives me great exposure to this ever growing sector of publishing.
I have been teaching at Pace as an Adjunct Lecturer since 2008. I teach Ad Sales and Business Communications, both on-line. When teaching Ad Sales, I ask my students to look at many different magazines and I ask them to pick the title they could see themselves working with the most and we discuss what we like and dislike about the magazine and the advertising. We also include the web in some of the class since digital is such a large part of the advertising sales world now (and in the future). We go through a lot of exercises in which we review the ad sales discipline from many different angles including the salesperson, the publisher, the client and the ad agency. We also look at research, circulation, marketing, editorial and production, as ad sales touches each one of these areas in different ways.
In my Business Communications course I have to take a different approach. Because business communication is a tool used daily across all industries, I work with a textbook that addresses the generic principals of business communication. I then introduce different publishing scenarios that might occur in the real work environment to the class. Students address the various situations as if they had to deal with the matter at hand in writing. One week we may be addressing an angry magazine subscriber because they were offended by a magazine cover, and the next week we might be asking someone to support a publishing concept we found on kickstarter.com. It’s really a class about how to approach, think through, and address, different business scenarios (and in our case publishing specifically) which can occur, both positive and negative.
As an alumnus of Pace University, and as an adjunct lecturer here, I truly believe that education is the key to success and that our M.S. in Publishing Program provides a well-rounded perspective on this ever changing and increasingly important industry. I am so glad to see the program, and the graduating classes, grow in size with each passing year.