What was your route into publishing?
Like many people in ELT publishing, I started as an English language teacher, in my case in South Korea. The chain school where I worked made its own content, and after a few months of teaching, I realised I’d rather be in their editorial department than in front of a class.
I then took some publishing courses back in Canada, before moving to Hong Kong to work for a local publisher, before moving onto Pearson in Hong Kong and the United Kingdom.
What advice do you have for anyone who wants to enter a career in publishing?
Be patient. Publishing can be a competitive industry so while many people find jobs straight out of university, for others, it may take a little bit longer. Experience in other fields is often valued by publishers, especially in education, so a slightly indirect route might actually end up being the best path to a job in books.
What do you predict for the future of the educational publishing industry?
Honestly, I have no idea. It will be interesting to see, however, if the current health situation finally results in the wide-scale move to digital and online learning that has been just around the corner for decades, or whether textbooks will remain central to the school learning experience.
What do you enjoy most about working in publishing?
It is not terribly surprising answer, but what I like most about publishing is getting to use your creativity to make excellent content. It is very satisfying to see something that you worked on, in collaboration with your colleagues, come to fruition.
Conversely, what are the most challenging aspects of working in publishing?
Making content! It can also be difficult sometimes, especially when something isn’t working.
What does leadership mean to you?
Clarity, consistency and calm – not that I always demonstrate these qualities myself.
What are you proudest of at The Content Station?
Helping to build the company from a small team to the global company we are today. It has been an immensely rewarding experience.
What’s the weirdest job you’ve ever had?
Tank watcher at a pulp mill. During regular maintenance, tradesmen had to enter the tanks to fix cracks and other issues, and as a precaution, I had to sit outside to ensure that there were no chemical or physical accidents. While obviously important from a safety perspective, staying up all night to observe other people work was painfully dull. Talk about watching paint dry! Actually, as they were often welders and you couldn’t look directly at their torch, you couldn’t even watch. It was more like listening to paint dry.
Where is the best place you’ve travelled to and why?
Mongolia was probably the most memorable, but I think you can always find something interesting to see or do no matter where you visit.
Tell us a secret.
My partner is a much better editor than I am. But don’t tell her I said so.
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