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Your Path: Top 100 Women from a rookie’s perspective

It’s been three weeks since I joined The Daily Record staff. I arrived just in time to be swept into the excitement that is Top 100 Women, our celebration of successful business women around the state.

It’s been a frenetic sprint of nonstop email and editing, checklists and meetings, learning–as-I-go and making news acquaintances. But it’s also been inspiring and even fun.

The book: First, there was the book. A phone-book-sized tome with alphabet tabs that has become my most meaningful work possession. I received the book on my first day here and I will not lose it. Yes, there are other copies, but I guard mine carefully and keep my coffee as far away as possible.

Note: The book and coffee are not on the same side.

Note: The book and coffee are not on the same side.

This book has all of the application forms for this year’s recipients and I sifted this tome to write close to 30 winner profiles in a writing/editing/fact checking fest. The Top 100 Women magazine is the biggest of the more than 30 special publications I will edit in a year’s time, and needless to say, I wanted our pub to look perfect.

It was a great first project, because I just had to dive in – so I did, reading about our winners and their triumphs, their setbacks, their hobbies and their joys. How does she do it is a question often asked about successful women. There, I was with 100 different answers in front of me, responses that varied greatly based on career and personality and life experience. Everyone’s journey is so different – sure, we all know that intellectually. But when the evidence was gathered in front of me, it was so encouraging and affirming.

The Meyerhoff: Less than two weeks to the event and the pub had been sent to press. Suzanne, our publisher, and I met at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall with our caterers from Chef’s Expressions and Eli Eisenberg, the CEO of VPC Inc., who will produce the event. Inside the hall itself, Marin Alsop, the BSO’s conductor, was rehearsing with opera singers. Out in the lobby, we reviewed menus, verified the location of the bars and checked timelines.

Scoping out the Meyerhoff

Scoping out the Meyerhoff

And oh yes, there was one other detail. Eli went over the public speaking portion of the program. Or how I, along with other TDR staff, am supposed to sound when I stand in front of 700 people and announce the winner’s names. You know, at the Meyerhoff.

I don’t know yet which part of the alphabet I will be reading, but I have been studying up so I can say with right amount of “glow” and an expression that is somewhere between a smile and a frown, “Gina Ramsey. Vice president of digital media. Adventure Web Interactive.”

The clothes: This was the fun part. Each year, Octavia Boutique at Village of Cross Keys loans TDR staff dresses for the event and last Friday four of us went to choose our finery from racks of ruffles and lace and satin.

Betsy Wendell, owner of Octavia Boutique

Betsy Wendell, owner of Octavia Boutique

“Try everything,” Maria, our comptroller advised me, as she handed me a black dress with glittery rhinestones angling across the front. “This is perfect for you.”

You will have to wait and see if she was right.

One week. We have one week to finalize all the details and to get ready for our winners and their supporters. I can’t wait.

Jessica Gregg is the special products editor for The Daily Record. Send her an email at [email protected] if you would like to blog for Your Path.