I’ve had some nasty bosses in my time, but I’ve also had some awesome ones.
Julie, who I worked with at Singapore CLEO at the turn of the century, was one of the best.
(Wow, that makes me sound soooooo old. To me, the turn of the century still means 1900. These days it means 2000.)
I rarely check my spam email folder, but I’m glad I did over the weekend because I found a message from Julie.
I discovered she’s left the magazine industry far behind and is living in Texas, with a pig rancher who farms consciously raised food.
I didn’t see that coming.
As Julie notes on Instagram, she’s a Buddhist vegetarian who was “contemplating an earlier fast-climb career in Asian media, judged for the most part as very successful – thankfully – and a short-lived association with a troubled and troubling business women and philanthropist. It was time for a change. Time for new challenges. Time for love? And here I am. From Bangkok board rooms, Singapore soirees, and Hong Kong client expectations, wrapped in all the deadline-driven, bottom-line targeted, top-line focused conjecture that props up modern M-A-N-A-G-E-M-E-N-T, to the American southwest and provocative concepts for agriculture and its impact on land, education and health. A recent pitstop at Prasek’s Family Smokehouse on I10, en route home from New Orleans, presented a snapshot of my adventure in change. Certainly gusts of SoTex barbecue have replaced the Bakkwa aromas of Sheung Wan (No. I have not started eating meat). And though these titles have little in common with the Harper’s BAZAARS, Cosmopolitans and CLEOs I used to work with, they are a signpost that I am most definitely GTT! (Gone To Texas)”
I love hearing stories of happily ever after magazines.
I was deputy editor of Cosmopolitan magazine when Julie hired me to be editor of Singapore CLEO. My ex and I were about to get married after 10 years together and we were eager for a new horizon.
I still remember our shouts of delight when I got the job. We were sitting in our 38sqm apartment in East Sydney when the offer came through. The money was good and the challenge was exciting. I would finally get the chance to be a magazine editor!
We got married and honeymooned in the Seychelles, with a stopover in Singapore to meet the team.
The next two years were an amazing whirl of career growth, fabulous soirées and friendship.
I’ll never forget the Sunday brunches with Julie at Mezza9 at the Grand Hyatt on the corner of Scotts and Orchard Road. The massive restaurant featured nine food stations offering all-you-can-eat Japanese, Chinese, Thai and Western cuisine, paired with bottomless glasses of French Champagne.
Those were the days!
I’m so grateful for the trust Julie placed in me, which helped me believe in my ability as an editor.
Julie’s mentoring, together with a talented and eager team of Singaporeans, led CLEO to double its circulation within a year.
It was such a buzz.
Then came the launch of Harper’s Bazaar Singapore, which was a little out of my comfort zone, but was another brilliant challenge that Julie entrusted to me.
The morning after the launch party, I was asked to return to Australia to edit Woman’s Day magazine. I was sad to leave Singapore, but excited by the opportunity I was being given – driven by the success sparked by Julie hiring me.
I remember my time in Singapore so fondly and loved catching up with some of my former workmates a few years ago. Such lovely women.
Hearing from Julie was a reminder that while I’ve had my share of unlucky moments – and black-hearted bosses – I’ve had plenty of brilliant experiences too.
Bosses like Julie have shown me the difference that collaborative, positive leadership makes to business outcomes.
I’m so glad I found the email message from her and that we are in touch again. And I’m even gladder that she’s living her best life in Texas.
Love really is all you need … well … and enough money to pay the mortgage.
Song of the day: The Beatles “All you need is love”