Sunday, July 17, 2011

Sayonara, or until next time...

Some of you may be wondering about the posting for the AMPA E.D. position. Yes, it's official. I've resigned and will not be returning to steer the AMPA ship this fall. I thought I'd take a moment on the AMPA blog to share a fond farewell. A bit self-indulgent, yes, but I figure if Oprah can do it, why can't I?

When I first took the E.D. position back in 2005, I knew I had a big job to do. I'd never been in such a position before, but with my editorial and communications background, I knew that I could effectively tackle many of AMPA's challenges and at least manage the rest. Talk about a steep learning curve! Despite having worked in magazines, I knew little about the entire industry, and man, did I get schooled! It really is easy to fall into your own little world, putting out your own magazine, without much thought for what else is happening in the industry. I discovered in a hurry the many unique demands that publishers face, and how even within our relatively small industry, these demands vary by genre and size of magazine.

I soon set to work trying to figure out how best to support Alberta publishers to meet these various demands. Two critical factors became evident: professional development and sustainability. And that is how I spent much of my time at AMPA: providing useful and engaging PD to help Alberta magazine professionals compete in an ever-changing media landscape, and devising ways to drum up government and public support for Alberta magazines whether through funding, subscriptions or attending events. In doing so, I've had the chance to work on a number of rewarding projects and see firsthand how different magazines benefited from our work. In particular, I'm proud of how the Alberta Magazines Conference has continued to grow and evolve to the point where speakers would approach me to present instead of me having to woo/stalk them.

Through my work, I also got to know many people within the industry both provincially and nationally--publishers, editors, designers, sales execs, printers, and the like--as well as those outside the industry--funding agencies, government representatives, professors and of course, readers. I'm happy to say that many of these people have come to be not just colleagues but good friends--some of them I'm sure will be life-long friends.

I've always said that the mag biz is one built with passion. This may sound cheesy, but it's true. No one really works in mags for the money or the glamourous lifestyle (ha!). I was always grateful that I had a job that I truly cared about; one that actually had a positive benefit on people's lives and one where I didn't feel like throwing myself out a window after a few months or poking out my eyeballs after a few years.

That said, it's the right time to move on. I never really thought I'd have kids, and while having one has definitely changed my outlook on the world, she's not the only reason I've decided to change gears. While the work at AMPA is never done, I feel like I've done all I needed to do to set the organization up for a long and successful future. Early on, I dealt with some dark financial times, which was important because it taught me to be frugal and creative about how to stretch a dollar. Now we are more fiscally secure than we've ever been. And, after seeing Andrew's hard work in my stead, I'm even more confident the good work AMPA does can and will carry on. Unfortunately, it won't be Andrew who will carry the torch moving forward (he has some exciting plans of his own!), but I'm sure we will find another capable and passionate individual to continue down this path. (Interested readers, please see posting below.)

I will still be involved with AMPA as a consultant and blogger, and will still cross paths with many member magazines as a freelance writer/editor (wink, wink, nudge, nudge editors!). In the meantime, I thank all of you for helping to make my time at AMPA so gratifying, and I hope that I was able to support you in some way during that time. Onward and upward! Or as Op would say, "Live your best life."

--Colleen Seto
[Former AMPA Executive Director]
AMPA Blogger-in-Residence