How did you get to be an editor?
A youthful enthusiasm for Formula One led to me producing a fanzine for that sport back, ooh, a while ago now. The interest in journalism sparked by that experience has since seen me navigating a professional path that’s taken in trade and professional titles with topics ranging from logistics, public transport and group travel through to SME management and, today, the still nascent and never less than fascinating world of workplace and facilities management. The dynamism of this sector and its practitioners, thrust into the spotlight this year because of their critical role in the nation’s response to Covid-19, was attractive to me in the early years of this century and has only become more so.
Tell us a bit about Facilitate
Facilitate is the magazine of the Institute of Workplace and Facilities Management, published on its behalf by Redactive. We produce regular print magazines, newsletters and events to support the IWFM’s core objectives, seeking to inform and create a sense of community through the content we produce. My team and I also look at what our colleagues at Redactive do for their own clients, some of which helps flavour our approach.
What does a day in your working life look like?
I feel as if I am contractually obliged to respond with an answer that our IWFM audience will find reassuringly familiar: “no two days are the same”. What’s involved is the consideration of emerging themes, the commissioning of agreed content, meetings to project future content against campaign objectives, interviewing, writing, surveying, weighting digital versus print work, assessing performance. Most of the above is required every day, it’s the balance that varies. (Also, see ‘One piece of advice’ below.)
Career highlight to date?
No single moment stands out as being head and shoulders above any other. I’ve helped launch two major media industry titles, written tender documents, authored plenty of articles, interviewed people ranging from racing drivers to the managing directors of multinationals; and I’ve produced many a special edition or supplement. Each has been satisfying for reasons important at the time, ranging from the calibre of those interviewed, the importance of the campaign or the nature of the event needing my involvement. Thinking about this question, it occurs to me that very time we’ve made a change to format, content or character has been satisfying in hindsight when I can look back and realise it worked as intended for the audience. It’s not always the case – you’ll always come up against the odd dead end - but it’s great when you can.
(Also, I once photo-bombed Ayrton Senna. Does that count?)
What does winning the Editor of the Year award mean to you?
What’s particularly important is that an independent judging panel has recognised the work we do at Facilitate. The nature of this profession requires us to provide for an extraordinarily diverse audience of IWFM members. While it’s my name recognised here, I see it just as much as a very welcome breakthrough for the profession itself. Workplace and facilities management as a profession is barely forty years old, and the IWFM fights hard for greater recognition of the work its members do. Hopefully, this award helps in that regard.
For me personally, it’s an opportunity to step back for a minute and realise that my work, as well as that of the wider Facilitate team, resonates outside the profession as well as within it, which is very gratifying.
One piece of advice you’d like to give anyone considering a career as a membership magazine editor
You need to walk away from time to time. So much editorial work these days is about process and sustaining myriad strands of activity across multiple platforms, the effect being that your time can too easily be drawn to what’s of immediate rather than future importance. Multiple format publication requires anyone in this line of work to block out sufficient time to ask the big questions about their title’s essential aims. You may find that your direction of travel needs to change.
About the memcom membership excellence awards
The memcom awards celebrate success in the fields of People & Leadership, Marketing & Communications, Digital, Engagement and Print. The 2021 awards are now open for nominations and more details can be found here.