The Daily Juggle
The Daily Juggle
Why you should feel rewarded when your junior makes it to the very top
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There is nothing more rewarding as a leader than to see the person that you took a chance on at the start of their career achieve the heights of success. I feel fortunate that many of the young women I have recruited during my career have left me for greater opportunities down the line.
One of those women is Jo Elvin, editor of Glamour magazine in the UK. I met Jo in 1990 when she did work experience at Dolly magazine. I had been the editor for about six months and Jo was part of the way through a journalism degree at university.
Her time with us coincided with a vacancy for a junior feature writer. Jo had great ideas and a natural writing style. It didn't take me long to convince her to quit Uni and sign on full-time.
It also didn't take me long to realise that Jo was up for anything. It allowed me to introduce a new style of feature to the magazine. Every month from then on we would workshop a scenario for Jo to experience and then she would write about it. We had her doing things like pretending to be a groupie while following around a touring rock band, dressing up as a boy for a day to report on changes in the way she was treated, and swimming with sharks. I mention the shark swim because it was Jo's absolute fear of doing it that lead to the rest of the team thinking it would make a great story.
Rather then refuse to do it as others might have done - and fair enough too, Jo went with it. It was one of the characteristics that defined her. She was a risk taker in her career from the very beginning.
So it didn't surprise me when she decided to try her luck in the UK publishing industry a few years later. I still recall the day that Jo asked me to provide the skills reference she needed to work in the UK. It was a few months before she left and I knew then that as soon as a publisher discovered her they would never let her come home.
I was right. Jo's career took off and she relaunched and launched a number of British magazines before Conde Nast poached her from Emap to launch UK Glamour a decade ago. The magazine was an instant success. It took the women's magazine market there by surprise. UK Glamour's tone and personality was quintessential Jo Elvin. It had her unmistakable voice. Competitors tried to pinpoint the success of this title at a time when others were in decline. They attributed it to a number of tangible things such as its A5 size and lower cover price. But it was the intangible things that made and continues to make that magazine compelling. And those things have everything to do with Jo's unique take on women's fashion and lifestyle.
During the past few years Jo has been offered an editorship in New York and a variety of attractive appointments back here. She has also won every major award that a British magazine editor can win, including the ASME Editor's Editor award.
I feel rewarded by Jo's success, and the successes of the many, many others that I have managed over the years. That's not the reason you identify and appoint the best you can, but it's a wonderful bi-product.
Do you have a former staff member whose success has made you proud?