Change is one of those things that happens whether you are ready or not, paying attention or a passive observer. It’s really what you make of the change that counts. This past year provided time for a lot of us to reflect on the modifications that we would make in our businesses when life returned to normal, or at least that’s what happened to me. I take some comfort in Deepak Chopra’s observation that “all great changes are preceded by chaos.”
At Springfield Business Journal, I sensed that in the chaos of adapting to a world with COVID-19, our overarching work culture was shifting a bit. Staff members were working more independently out of necessity. Technology solutions changed the way we communicated with each other, and at what times and how frequently. During this time, there was increased demand for people to truly own their work and to see each task through the various stages of completion. New strengths were discovered, new leaders surfaced and existing leaders were pushed even harder. Now, more than a year after being forced into change, we are emerging stronger as individuals and as a whole. Change was set into motion and there was no turning back.
In late 2020, I began meeting with editorial leaders Eric Olson, a 20-year SBJ veteran most recently serving in the role of editorial director, and SBJ Features Editor Christine Temple. Olson and Temple, working in tandem, kept the daily and weekly news machine cranking through the chaos. How do you meet an increasing demand for timely, accurate business news and information when so much business wasn’t even being conducted in real time? How do you plan for corresponding artwork and photography without actually meeting face-to-face? How do you facilitate meaningful and essential collaboration in the newsroom while also navigating new hires, waning freelance availability and virtual communication? These were just a few of the challenges that these two faced and conquered.
In our many discussions, the three of us embraced a bigger vision of what our modern newsroom could become as we emerged from the challenges of the year behind us. We had already proven to ourselves that there is more than one way of doing things. So, our new challenge became clearing the slate of all the things we knew to be true of our engrained processes, structure and workloads to make way for the new vision. How would we build it if we built it today? That became the question. The answer is multifaceted and began to reveal itself when all of the SBJ newsroom talent joined the conversation. What follows are a few of the highlights.
Olson has a new outward-facing focus and holds a new editorial title, vice president of external relations. In the two decades Olson has spent with SBJ, he has fostered relationships that cut across all local industries and business interests. In his new role, he will put those relationships to work for SBJ and, more importantly, for our readers. Olson heads up the newly formed editorial advisory board of local leaders that will convene quarterly to advise on content, design, focus and processes. He will engage a wider range of contributing writers and expert opinions while continuing to contribute high-level content of his own. Olson also will be making his personal contribution of time to the local business community by volunteering for outside board and committee work in his areas of expertise and interest.
Temple also holds a new title as executive editor and will focus the brunt of her time on our most valuable newsroom asset, the staff. In addition to providing direct oversight and responsibility for our news products, Temple manages the newsroom. She brings with her a vision for increased collaboration and a new daily cadence in contrast to our traditional weekly rhythm. Temple also has led the charge with the launch of SBJ Podcasts and hosts the award-winning No Ceiling women’s leadership series.
Geoff Pickle recently took a title more descriptive of the talent he has been bringing to SBJ for some time now. Pickle made the leap from web editor to digital editor. After all, he does provide oversight of 14 e-newsletters, two websites, and a cadre of digital tools and products.
The SBJ newsroom also comprises two talented reporters with plans to add a third full-time reporter by summer. Mike Cullinan and Emily Cole are integral members of the team and with each issue they are honing expertise that will allow them to pursue more traditional news beats when joined by the third reporter.
Business decisionmakers depended on SBJ throughout 2020 in the same way they did in the preceding 39 years. SBJ remained committed to bringing timely, accurate business news during a difficult season without sacrificing page counts or original content. We now have exciting business recovery stories to tell, ours and yours, and we are staffed for the task.
Springfield Business Journal Publisher Jennifer Jackson can be reached at email@example.com.
The Bark Yard dog park and bar concept launched; Charity Fent Cake Design LLC moved; and a pair of business owners collaborated on opening The Hidden Hut LLC.
This poll is not a scientific sampling. It offers a snapshot of what readers are thinking.
Heather Kite, owner of startup business Rooted Deep Farms, talks about tough times during the winter of 2020-2021. She says determination was a necessary component that kept her going.
Jeramey and Julia Henson, co-owners of HM Dentworks Academy, discuss the importance of family in work-life balance. They say you can’t make up for the major life events. HM Dentworks Academy is also co-owned by Chris McWhirter.
Rachel Barks, owner of Artistry Pottery, talks about her struggle with PXE, or Pseudoxanthoma elasticum, a disease that affects the eyes. She says that despite her struggle, she is ultimately thankful.
Jessica Burkland, a Missouri State University business instructor in the Department of Management, talks about small business start-up trends in a post-pandemic year. Burkland, who owns Activate Consulting & Training and volunteers as a small business mentor for SCORE of Southwest Missouri, says startups that offer new services and products to help people work from home or that enhance mental health could find greater success.
Jim and Debbie Meinsen, co-owners of TCI Graphics, say the past year has been one of the toughest they have faced. Now in the company's 50th year, the couple says they learned a few things in 2020.
Charlie Rosenbury, president of Self-Interactive, calls on his experience in programming to illustrate lessons he has learned running a business and life in general. Springfield Business Journal's 90 Ideas is presented by Great Southern Bank.
Darline Mabins talks with SBJ’s Christine Temple about growing up after a tragic accident took the lives of her mother and older brother. Mabins is now the regional branch sales manager for Arvest Bank. No Ceiling is an SBJ podcast, going in depth with local women, sharing their journey to the top of their professions.
Caleb Scott, owner, coach and player for Queen City Insane Asylum semi-professional football team, talks about the ways that the team works to support each other on and off the field. Scott says you can’t force people to become leaders, they have to come naturally.
Steve Williams, owner of Crosstown Barbecue, discusses the role relationships have played throughout the 51 years that Crosstown Barbecue has been in business. He says that while he puts effort into providing the best food he can, ultimately “people like to do business with people they like.”
Randy Bacon, professional photographer and humanitarian, relates his experience building relationships with clients since he became a photographer. He says building relationships with his clients and perfecting his craft are the most important things he does to spread his business.