Last November, an old friend and former colleague I stay in touch with through Facebook undertook a monthlong “gratitude project.” Every day she wrote a brief post on the social media site about something she was thankful for—from a stretch of gorgeous autumn weather to her daughter’s success at school.
If I were to take on such a project in my professional life, my first post would be thanks for the International Sleep Products Association’s publications team.
There are seven women who, along with me, handle all of the editorial, advertising and circulation functions of mattress industry publication BedTimes and also Sleep Savvy, our sister publication for mattress retailers.
In all, this team produces 20 magazines a year, maintains two websites and travels to several industry trade shows. Needless to say, this group doesn’t have a lot of downtime, often working nights, weekends and holidays just to get done what needs to be done.
I’ve worked closely with some of them, including Kerri Bellias, vice president of advertising sales, and Debbie Robbins, ad production manager, for nearly nine years. Same with Stephanie Belcher, our art director. Associate Editor Barbara Nelles worked as a freelance writer contributing to both magazines for several years before joining us full time four years ago. Managing Editor Mary Best is among the newest members of the team. She and part-time proofreader Betsi Robinson came on board last year. Mary Rulli, our circulation manager, handled subscriber relations for Sleep Savvy for several years before adding BedTimes’ circulation to her duties in January.
Like any group, we have our disagreements, sometimes getting frustrated and short-tempered. (And I apologize here for the times during the past year when I’ve been the frustrated, short-temperered one.)
But I feel blessed because we really do work well together. Producing a magazine is a complicated project, with dozens of moving parts that must be coordinated. Our team is made up of dedicated, professional women who know that the rest of us are depending on them to do their jobs so that we can do ours. They are über-efficient, working on tight deadlines without all of the resources we’d love to have. To a person, they want the print magazines and online efforts to be the best they can be—strong editorial products with equally strong advertiser and reader support.
I’m personally closer to some than others, as is the case in any group of people. But I know I can trust and count on each one. If I had to assemble a publications team from scratch, this is the team I’d put together.
Later this month, we’ll celebrate the annual Thanksgiving holiday in the United States. It’s my favorite holiday, centered on family, friends, American football and an enormous turkey. At many Thanksgiving dinners, guests go around the table and share what they are thankful for this year.
Whether you celebrate Thanksgiving or not, if you appreciate the team you work with—the people who make your job easier and make your own work look better—this is a great time to take a few minutes to express your gratitude and appreciation.
I’ll start: Thanks team! I couldn’t do anything without you!