The truth is it was never my dream to be a magazine publisher. My main goal in life was always to be a mother; apart from that I didn’t have any professional aspirations. But I should have known, that coming from a family of entrepreneurs, it was inevitable I would someday do the same. My first venture was an ironing business I ran out of my home called Pressing Matters.
I charged $1 an item, offered pick-up and delivery and it was said I was priceless to the school teachers, working mothers and music industry clientele who helped me to be able to stay at home with my three small children at the age of 21.But after a few years, I needed to get out of the house, so I applied for a job at O’Charley’s as a hostess. My goal was to continue to stay home with my kids during the day and work evenings. Little did I know that job would last 12 years – through a divorce, a remarriage and two more children. The restaurant business subjects you to all walks of life and you don’t get to choose who crosses your path. I worked almost every position in the building during my tenure, but the biggest thing I learned was how to interact and enjoy a myriad of people.
The magazine career was introduced by way of my brother, Todd. He and a partner were publishing a coupon magazine called Metro Mail. And just like everyone else, they saw the promise expanding to Williamson County; and I was tagged for the job. After much debate, I said I would give it a try, but not until school was out because I still had a three-year-old at home and I wasn’t about to change my model of being a stay-at-home-mom during the day. Long story short, I had a blast that summer of 2002: meeting clients, going on lunch appointments, experiencing a new world, feeling that I had value as more than just a mom. Metro Mail dissolved after that one issue, but Todd approached me that same fall about doing another publication. We would combine the costs of graphics and printing, but he wanted to do another coupon magazine. While I enjoyed the work, I felt that a coupon magazine had no substance. And so Southern Exposure Magazine was birthed.
My only qualification for becoming a magazine publisher was that I wrote a mean letter and I knew a lot of people. The success we’ve had can only be attributed to one thing—God has blessed this venture, enabling me to learn a lot along the way and bringing me the best people to help. To have a job that exists to celebrate and record what goes on in my home of more than 30 years—to promote the heart of Williamson County—is more than I could have imagined.
… FAST FORWARD to 2012
It’s been several months since we’ve been here together – since our October/November 2011 issue to be exact – and man, I’ve missed you! If you’re reading SEM for the first time, we’ve been on a sabbatical looking for just the right recipe to continue to serve our Williamson County family and beyond after 10 YEARS of publishing. There was a time I wondered if a chapter in my life had closed. It took me getting to the place of knowing that I would survive whatever the outcome was, but thankfully, God had a different plan.
Not only am I back doing something that I love – promoting my home – but I am a part of a team whose mission mirrors my own. In June, Southern Exposure Magazine was purchased by the Williamson Herald’s parent company, CMD Publishing. Williamson Herald owner and publisher, Derby Jones and I are finally able to realize our dream of working together!
I am blessed that Derby has confidence in my capabilities and has allowed me to continue as publisher of “my baby.” And while the lion’s share of our incredibly talented staff remains (thankfully), one huge adjustment is the loss of Nancy Nanney, our art director who has been with me since the second issue. She has been such a vital part of SEM – way beyond the aesthetics and creativity she brought to each page. She anticipated my shortcomings, loved me anyway and was a champion for the cause WITHOUT FAIL. How do you fault someone whose life is being called in a different direction – a move back to her hometown in Mississippi to be close to family and the urge to start a new career as a teacher?
Another big change for me was moving back into an office environment after working out of my home the last two years. I forgot how great it was to have people to bounce ideas off of (thank you Donna) and have a space that is meant for work. Home can now be home again!
And while my biggest responsibility is to pour into my family, it’s a gift to be given a platform to speak to thousands of people in my community. My message to you is …
In a time where we exist on instant gratification at the click of a keypad or mouse, don’t lose the opportunity to slow down your pace and soak in the stories of your community. Pick up a copy of Southern Exposure Magazine, or even better – subscribe.