It was never my intention to be a publisher.
In fact, I started The Network Journal in 1993 to keep me busy, after being laid off from my engineering job at Pan American World Airways.
I was passionate about engineering, a well-respected profession that promised to take me places.
The Network Journal, however, took me further. Never in my wildest imagination did I think that we would celebrate our 15th anniversary now.
I knew nothing about publishing. But I believe that anything is possible if you work hard. So that’s what I did. I took crash courses in advertising sales, layout and design, article pasteup and photos resizing. Then I assembled a team of journalists — Herb Boyd, Kenneth Meeks, the late Akinshiju C. Ola and Tania Padgett — who helped shape The Network Journal into a must-have publication for small-business owners and corporate achievers. We worked out of a 150-square-foot office on Nostrand Avenue in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, which had two desks, no windows and no air conditioning. Claudette Ogilvie, who found our office while looking for a notary public, became our first office administrator and advertising salesperson.
But the team was committed to the idea of a Black-owned magazine that focused on issues of concern to Black professionals and small-business owners; and the challenging physical conditions in which we produced TNJ did not deter them. With their work providing an excellent foundation, and new talent that has since come on board, we have interviewed thousands of small-business powerhouses and corporate trailblazers, and we’ve packed each issue with money-making and career-building strategies. I am still amazed that I was able to pull it off.
We’ve come a long way since 1993, in the course of which we have won several journalism and community-service awards. Mindful of our duty to give back to our community, we launched a scholarship program with Howard University and we’re now preparing to do the same with the City University of New York — at Medgar Evers College’s School of Business, in Brooklyn, and at York College in Queens. We also implemented two successful annual business awards programs — the “40 Under Forty Achieve-ment Awards” and “25 Influential Black Women in Business Awards.”
I could not have made this successful journey on my own.
I owe a special recognition to those who started this journey with me: Herb Boyd, Kenneth Meeks, the late Akinshiju C. Ola and Tania Padgett. Their contribution set the stage for the success of The Network Journal. I extend special thanks to our current editor-in-chief, Rosalind McLymont, who, for the last several years, has helped turn TNJ into a publication with the highest standards of journalism. To all of our readers, editorial contributors and advertisers and to all who have given us support, advice and kind words to keep us going, a thousand thanks.
Here’s to another 15 years!