I am stepping down as editor-in-chief of Sarasota Magazine, my home away from home for 34 years. I started in 1987, first as a contributing editor, then became associate editor and then senior editor while I also edited our business magazine, 941CEO. Exactly four years ago, I became editor-in-chief of Sarasota. It has been a fantastic ride. I often joke that journalism is a perfect job for people who like to gossip and have a short attention span, since we’re always looking for insider information and are constantly moving on to the next topic.
There’s truth to that, but working in journalism, particularly magazine journalism, has been the most creative, satisfying career I can imagine. I’ve enjoyed the privilege of access to people, places and information that have given me a powerful bond to this community. I’ve been able to tell the stories we want to know and need to know, and I’ve met extraordinary people who’ve let me into their lives. I learned to be a better listener from all of you and was constantly learning about every facet of Sarasota—local politics, business and nonprofits, schools, our beautiful environment, hurricanes, where the real estate deals are (there aren’t any right now!), the arts, where to get a great pizza, the strength of our Black and Hispanic communities, the best place to walk a dog and find a beach yoga class—the list is endless.
I first came to Sarasota as a New College student. Sarasota is unrecognizable from those days, and it’s even changed a great deal in the four years I’ve edited this magazine. Some of the change is worrying. We all need to stay involved so that the quality of life that we remember and enjoy isn’t destroyed by growth. But even with traffic, new high-rises and subdivisions, long waits at restaurants and sold-out theater tickets, I can’t imagine wanting to live anywhere else.
Since the day I started, I have worked with an amazing team of people at Sarasota Magazine. We have been a family, and I thank all of them for their hard work, laughter and guidance, especially during these last two years when we were forced to work remotely and began to shift our focus to digital media. I will miss every one of them as I spend more time with my own family and explore new adventures, including the outdoor excursions and Florida travel we editors so often write about but have little time to pursue. It helps to know I am leaving the magazine in good hands with digital-savvy, literary new editor-in-chief Cooper Levey-Baker, our brilliant executive editor Kay Kipling and inspired creative director Gigi Ortwein.
Thank you, readers. It has been a privilege.