I’m feeling bittersweet: I just filed my last editor’s note in the 10-plus years since Brian Rasmussen and I launched Insight. I’m sad because I’ll be leaving a company I helped create, that I’m proud of — and I love. Yet, I’m happy because I’ll finally have time to do all the things I never had time for in 37 years of deadlines.
The day started early, listening to Green Bay Packers CEO Mark Murphy address the St. Norbert College CEO Breakfast & Strategy series. Insight has been a sponsor of the series from the start, and I’ve enjoyed serving on the steering committee that selects the speakers each year. As a night-owl journalist at heart, I won’t miss the crack-of-dawn business breakfasts. But to have spent hours with many of the region’s top leaders such as Murphy, and to know them on a first-name basis — and especially, learn what motivates them to inspire others — has been among the greatest privileges of being the editor of Insight magazine.
I grew up in Northeast Wisconsin, but knew very little about the place since I left after graduating from Southern Door High School. After attending college at UW-Eau Claire, I began working in newspapers in Milwaukee, then more than a decade in upstate New York. As a journalist, I felt very “plugged in” to those places before coming home to Wisconsin when our kids were small.
I felt like a fish out of water. What the heck made this place tick? I had no idea until I began writing about business.
Crime topped the front pages of the daily newspapers where I worked before. Back in Northeast Wisconsin, I never felt safer. What made the biggest headlines? Business.
When a company like Oshkosh Corp. continues to score million-dollar defense contracts and announces it will build a new headquarters, that’s big news. When a company like Acuity Insurance in Sheboygan plans to hire hundreds of people for good-paying jobs — and wins top national awards for its exceptional company culture — that’s big, too. And when the Packers announce a partnership with Microsoft to build an innovation center called TitletownTech in Green Bay, the impact is felt throughout the state.
These are the sort of stories that have made my job fun.
There are thousands more stories like these we’ve had the privilege to share with you.
Insight’s partnership with New North Inc., producing the mid-year and annual reports for the regional economic group, has also opened doors for us to become acquainted with the region’s most influential business and community leaders. It’s been a great experience to work with the New North Branding & Marketing Committee — and I’ve learned so much from New North’s founding co-chairs, Bob DeKoch of The Boldt Co. and retired Kimberly-Clark executive vice president Kathi Seifert, as well as Jerry Murphy, executive director. I’m proud to say Insight has been a champion for New North Inc. and advancing the regional economy.
Being a champion for the regional economy has been at the heart of what we’ve done at Insight. When Brian and I envisioned what our magazine would look like, we agreed the content would be straight-ahead journalism. This commitment to integrity would set Insight apart from some other print publications in this region.
We decided to focus on what businesses were doing well, what they had learned after surviving hard times and how our readers could learn from their experience. This led to our vision statement: “To be the trusted source for information that drives business growth, shares inspirational ideas and celebrates success.”
Our mission, “Connecting minds, creating insights,” has allowed us to stay focused on what we do best, while keeping the door open to opportunities that fit our vision.
Fitting perfectly with our mission and vision, Insight has added more events. Brian and the team plan to take on more events as Insight’s clients become more interested than ever in face-to-face connections.
Heading up our sales efforts all these years, Brian knows more than anyone what Insight’s business-to-business clients want. Insight will continue to evolve — and, I’m sure, grow — as the company responds to its customers and stays on top of market trends, including all things digital.
I’m excited to say MaryBeth Matzek recently joined the Insight editorial team, and she’s got what it takes to carry the vision forward. MaryBeth freelanced for Insight from the beginning, and even worked part-time on our staff for a couple of years.
So, what will I do next? For starters, I’m pleased to say I’ll serve on the Insight editorial advisory board, offering ideas and consulting as needed. I’ll continue to participate on a few community boards. Beyond that, my husband and I plan to travel — a lot! We’ve got a little cottage in Door County that we can enjoy with family when the weather is fine and rent out when we’re traveling. We’ll visit our sons (one working at Epic in Madison and the other, a freshly commissioned officer with the U.S. Army, who will be at Fort Carson, Co.).
I plan to write, because that’s what writers do. I also hope to get involved in some of the causes nearest and dearest to me, from the arts and the environment to peace and justice issues.
And when I get some of these extra-curricular activities out of my system after a few years, I expect to be re-energized for something new. So, who knows?
Stay tuned for the next chapter.