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Natural Awakenings Atlanta

Ch-Ch-Ch Changes

This issue is my 12th since taking over this magazine—one year’s worth of helping awakening Atlantans. There are many things to feel good about this first year. We’ve doubled readership; established a yoga section edited by Atlanta yoga luminary Graham Fowler, as well as a monthly column by Lucretia Robison that extends our perspective and adds color to our pages; and, at a more personal level, I’ve enjoyed having my son Noah contribute to these pages.

At one year in, the thing I’m most satisfied about is the overall quality of our editorial content. I’m biased to be sure, but I believe that our readers are served by one of the best Natural Awakenings editorial teams in the country. And this would not be possible were it not for the efforts of our splendid managing editor, Sarah Buehrle.

Ironically, she was mentioned to me by the previous publishers as a mere afterthought. After providing me with the contact information for all then-current staff, they mentioned Sarah, who had written a handful of articles for them. Upon seeing her résumé, I was immediately excited; she had more than a decade of experience as a writer, editor and managing editor. Moreover, she had strong interest in a good portion of our editorial scope.

Upon interviewing her, I was even more excited; she was as good in person as she was on paper. Now fear crept in—I can’t afford this bright light. I asked her what she required, and miraculously, she needed exactly what I could afford.

Sarah, an energetic mother of two young girls and a committed volunteer, is a godsend. I am enthralled with helping guide our editorial content, but the truth is I could do no editorial work at all and the quantity and quality of what we deliver would remain steady. As I told Sarah, she had become, overnight, one of the most important people in my life.

Her high level of professionalism and integrity, coupled with my desire to establish and maintain an editorial department with a high level of professionalism and integrity, led me to a decision not common among publishers of small properties: I gave her the authority to veto me in certain matters of editorial. The only way I can prevail is to fire her, and that’s not happening.

Simply put, my gratitude knows no bounds when it comes to Sarah. Unfortunately, circumstances change and due to letter family matters, the May issue will be her last in her current capacity. It is a bit early to be writing an appreciation, but I am anticipating our May issue to be the best yet, and she will be writing this letter at that time.

Sarah, thank you for being the wonderfully talented and delightfully affable person that you are. This magazine would not be anywhere near as strong as it is without you. And while we say “so long,” it is hardly “farewell,” because we look forward to your contributions as a writer.

There is one other significant staff change. While she is, in one way, more behind the scenes than Sarah, our layout person, Lisa Castro, has been responsible for every page you see in Natural Awakenings. As long as I have been in the work world, there has been no one more pleasant to work with than Lisa. Her cheery disposition and can-do attitude make every interaction a happy one.

Replacing Lisa is Kristin Hutchinson, a long-time business associate whom I’ve used on occasion in the past for design and layout work. In addition to laying out the magazine, starting with this issue, Kristin also helps some advertisers with design and layout.

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