Forge the Best Course for You …

Wendy Newsham | March 23, 2018

I feel very fortunate to work for a highly successful, woman-owned and operated company.  Since Mary Ann Liebert founded the company 34 years ago, it has grown into the leading independent bioscience journals publisher in the world.  We have women in leadership positions throughout our organization.  For the past ten years, Marianne Russell has run the company’s operations, building on her rich career in publishing leadership.  Our Chief Editorial Officer is Vicki Cohn, one of the most brilliant editorial minds I’ve ever met.  I have the privilege of serving as the Director of Global Sales and Business Development.  Being part of a women-owned and operated company validates the frequently quoted view that diversity is good for business.   

I’ve spent the majority of my 30-year career in scholarly publishing and for the most part, have always considered this to be a field that is hospitable and supportive of women.  But maybe that’s because of the stark contrast with my early experience, which was spent in educational publishing.  In the early 90s (at least in the companies where I worked), educational publishing was very much a good old boy world (the stories I could tell….).  One of the best things about scholarly publishing is that there are so many smart, powerful, highly successful women who support and advise each other.  In that spirit, I’d like to share a few keys to success that I’ve learned along the way:

Get involved – the scholarly publishing community is rich with wonderful organizations.  Don’t just join, volunteer.  Being a committee member introduces you to many people from numerous companies.  It’s the best form of networking and a great way to learn, which brings me to my next point…

Keep learning – stay aware of what’s happening throughout our market – from end-to-end.  Listen to conversations, read blogs (have side conversations if you don’t want to comment on them – that’s what most of us do!), go to conferences, visit the exhibits, learn as much as you can at every possible opportunity.

Be a specialist – Know your segment of the business REALLY WELL.

Be confident – Knowledge breeds confidence (see above),

Keep evolving – The market is continuously changing, so if you don’t evolve, you run the risk of getting left behind.

Take chances – Often the best way to advance is to take a risk.

Accept failure – You will experience failure.  Shake it off, move on, and learn from it.

Find your voice – Define yourself and speak up!

Do what’s right for you – I’ll elaborate a little on this one.  I made the choice to stay home for seven years after my children were born. For many reasons, this was the right choice for me and I have never had a moment of regret for that decision.  When it was time to return to my career, I re-entered at a position significantly lower than when I had left, but seven years had passed, things had changed, the companies I had previously worked for didn’t exist.  It didn’t take long for my career to take off again.  I am proof that taking time off doesn’t have to kill your career.  And making the choice to not take time off can be detrimental.  Do what’s right for you…and your family.