This issue we hear from two women who do the most important and hardest job at S&H—selling advertising.
When our publisher-editor, Ben, asked us to write the Letter from the Editor for this issue, our first response was, “No, we’re not writers ... and what on earth would we have to say!” And we still feel that way. His response was, “Don’t overthink it. Just let it roll.” So we decided to “let it roll” and typed up what came to mind when we thought about our S&H journeys.
In 2010, I was called into the office of the vice president for a group of newspapers I was working for. I was the publisher of one of the community dailies. I loved most of my job—my co-workers and employees, the customers, being a credible and reliable source for what was happening in our local communities, and sharing the lifestyle stories of our neighbors and friends. I was also very involved in community activities, including serving on boards for nonprofits, attending the local college’s sporting events, and supporting local service clubs. It was demanding; it was fun; and I loved the access to people and events the position opened up for me. What I didn’t like was the corporate gameplaying that I found impossible to buy into. You can guess what happened—I was asked to resign. And I did.
Now, this wasn’t the first time this had happened; it was the second, and largely for the same reason. I decided it was clearly time to move on. (I make it sound like I was so brave. I was really crushed—my longtime dream to be a publisher of a daily newspaper was coming to a bitter end.)
For some reason, I wasn’t afraid, and, deep inside, I knew the universe would open another door—and it did. Three days after I “resigned,” a friend called and said that her brother-in-law had purchased a magazine a couple of years ago and needed help. “Well, the timing couldn’t be better,”
I said. “Let’s talk.” That’s how I ended up at Spirituality & Health—selling advertising.
It was a humbling experience, and quite a shift from a corporate-run newspaper environment to a very small organization owned by a successful entrepreneur, not to mention moving from essentially acting as the CEO into a role where I was selling again (that’s how I started my career back in the ’70s).
As with any shift, I needed to come to terms with it. And I did. I had to ask myself, “What’s really important in your life?” And I had always said that titles don’t matter; it’s what and how you contribute that count (ummm, I had to pray on that one for a bit and learned that it was true for me).
I also had the benefit of being exposed to content written to help people grow and deepen their spiritual lives with the understanding that there is a connection between our physical/mental health and our spirituality.
Since the beginning, my primary goal has been to do whatever I could to support Spirituality & Health as a sustainable business, and, for me, that has meant selling advertising to help pay our writers, printers, distributors, and employees. It’s been a good ride.
At the start of 2016, I was working at Yen Yoga & Fitness, my local yoga studio. My girls were 4 and 7, and life was very busy. I was approached with a proposition from our director, who, at the time, was also the publisher of Spirituality & Health. The proposition: to work with my mother-in-law, Ann. Now, I know what you’re thinking, and, yes, needless to say, I was hesitant. My exact thoughts: “Has anyone ever done this before? Worked directly under their mother-in-law?” Lucky for both of us, it’s been a beautiful relationship that’s only brought us closer together.
At that time, I had very little experience with sales. However, being married to a chiropractor, having birthed my two beautiful daughters, and working in the world of yoga for five years, spirituality and health were—and remain—a large focus in my daily life. As an extrovert, I wasn’t scared at all to pick up the phone. On my first day, I walked in with confidence, called several clients on my list, left voice messages—and then the craziest thing happened ... someone actually answered. That specific client asked me a very simple question: “What’s the circulation of the magazine?” I froze, asked Ann to hop on the call with me, and, once the call was over, I took myself to the bathroom for a good long cry. What had I gotten myself into?
Now, over four years later, my knowledge of this industry has grown immensely. I learned to take inventory of what I do well—and I have Ann to thank for that. This job involves a lot of patience and compassion, but selling for a publication that supports such a beautiful mission makes it all worth it. I feel very blessed to work with such a wonderful group of clients, and when people ask what I do for a living, I’m proud to say I work for Spirituality & Health. So, wanna buy an ad?