Team approach works at PennWell

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Michelle Walke became PennWell's director of publishing services in December after seven years of working on the company's conferences.

MB:What concepts did you bring from your previous job?

Walke: Teamwork. Instead of production people specializing in certain things, we're having different groups of people be responsible for different things. That way, we don't have to wait for anyone on anything, and people are enjoying the diversity of their jobs more. It seems basic, but most production departments run a very specific way because, well, that's the way it's always been done. Because I'm new to this, I don't have that stuff in my head already.

MB: Your team must have thought you were out of your mind at first.

Walke: They thought I was crazy. I kept telling them that as individuals they couldn't move foothills, but as a team, they could move mountains. And it's working out that way.

MB:What are you now working on?

Walke: We're moving our ad tracking to digital. I'm a process person, and it's very important to me for things to be more efficient. Before I took this job, I sat with one of the people who dealt with the ads and it was incredible to me how much she had to go through just to get the ad into the magazine. Reps weren't providing enough or proper information, and there was no pushback from production. They had no leverage. Now, they do. They have me. Things that used to take two weeks now take a day. We want to get the ads in and out of here in a day, and sometimes that means making sales reps fill out their forms. It's working.

-Mark J. Miller

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