When my husband Joe & I first talked about buying SJ Magazine, one of the questions he asked was: Could I see myself having the magazine in 10 years? I told him I couldn’t. But if it did happen, I said, wouldn’t that be wonderful. It was 2005.          

Turns out, it’s been so much more than wonderful. 

Not many people realize I started working for the print issue as a freelance writer what seems like a million years ago. At one point, I interviewed for the Editor position, made it down to 2 finalists, but didn’t get the job. 

I’d like to say that my response was to buy the company. But no, that didn’t happen then. My response was actually devastation. I thought I had lost my dream job – a position I believed I was perfect for.

Less than a year later, though, that new editor left and I was offered the position.

Of course, it didn’t take long for me to realize the SJ ship was pretty much sinking. And every now and then Joe would say, “We should buy it.” And I would say, “No we shouldn’t.”

But then one day I said, “Really? You think we should?”

That sale process and those early days were not easy, but 19 years later, this company has its own story of growth and change and challenge and success and influence. We’ve gone from publishing one monthly print issue to producing events, podcasts, a Facebook series, plus we have a strong social media presence and a website with original content. 

The very first time I realized we were on to something was when I was invited by FOX29 to appear on their morning show. They asked me to bring the unique toys we had just featured in a holiday shopping article. But when I started calling the local shops to get the items, they were sold out. All of them. The shop owners told me that a few days after the magazine came out, people came in asking specifically for the items we had highlighted. Some people walked in holding the magazine. 

It was the first time I realized the power of the voice we had, and as time went on and things like that happened more and more, I also realized a responsibility came with having a voice. So we created a mission statement: 1. Empower women. 2. Promote South Jersey. 3. Support nonprofits. Everything we’ve done since then has been guided by that mission. 

Which brings me to where we are now. You may have noticed that in the print issue, we often use “SJ Mag” when referring to anyone who works here. And about 5 years ago, we started using the tagline “So much more than a magazine” on the cover of our media kit. It was a reflection of what we had become, what we had organically grown into.

We are now taking that a little further, progressing to SJ Mag Media, which better explains who we are and what we do. While we will of course continue bringing you this print magazine each month  which, as a reader once told me, is “the heart and soul of South Jersey,” something that made us all so very proud – we now have many, many more places to connect with our audience (sjmagmedia.com, the Women of Excellence Awards on Sept. 12, Facebook, Instagram, our e-newsletter, to name just a few).

It is amazing to think a conversation Joe and I once had led us here. And what’s incredible is I didn’t get here alone, and I’m not alone now. Many SJ Mag team members were instrumental in our growth. And what’s really special – the South Jersey community was too. Our readers, our advertisers and our business partners all played a significant part in bringing us to this very wonderful place. 

It’s a place I couldn’t imagine all those years ago, and a place that wasn’t always easy to get to. But we are here, and we continue to evolve and grow while doing the work we set out to do. I can’t thank you enough for taking this journey with me. And I hope you connect with us at those other new spots. 

Can I imagine SJ Mag Media 10 years from now? Yes, I can. And I know it will be wonderful.

September 2023
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