Christian Retailing

NEWS Transitions
Michelle Wright joins Parable Group team PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sally Ross   
Wednesday, 25 March 2015 09:00 AM EDT

Parable-Michelle-WrightSan Luis Obispo-based marketing agency The Parable Group has announced that Michelle Wright has been hired as a digital marketing specialist. Wright has a 20-year background in sales and marketing with specialties in project management, publicity, social media and promotions with a strong entertainment focus.

Wright joins The Parable Group most recently from Hughes PR, where she served as marketing/PR specialist for the Cantinas Foundation. Wright also brings industry knowledge from previous roles with Rogers & Cowan, Provident Distribution, Renovation (non-profit) and Reunion Records.

During her years at Provident Distribution, Wright managed retail campaigns for Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment faith and family films including The Bible miniseries—the highest grossing, non-theatrical video sale to date through the Christian retail channel and the No. 1 miniseries of all time across Blu-Ray, DVD and Digital HD.

“I’m excited about the future of our digital marketing solutions and the new technologies, opportunities and relationships that transpire daily. Michelle’s extensive experience complements our distinctive approach to implementing accountable marketing solutions, providing an important opportunity to meet and exceed our clients’ diverse needs,” says Steve Potratz, president of The Parable Group. “We are delighted to welcome this talented new member to our digital team.”

In her new role, Wright will serve on the digital marketing team under Laura Clark and champion online display, video, mobile, social media and email campaigns for a variety of Christian organizations and ministries. The Parable Group enjoyed marked growth in their digital marketing services and is forecasting tremendous continued growth for that channel in 2015.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to join The Parable Group marketing team,” Wright said. “After interfacing with the company in several different capacities over the years, I have gained the utmost respect for the leadership and mission of the team. I look forward to contributing to the expanding landscape of marketing faith-based entertainment products.”

David C Cook appoints interim executive publisher PDF Print E-mail
Written by Lisa Beech   
Wednesday, 18 March 2015 12:00 PM EDT

Verne-KenneyDavid C Cook has announced that Verne Kenney has been hired as its executive publisher. Kenney will assume the responsibilities that Dan Rich held as head of David C Cook Trade Books and Media until a long-term chief publishing officer is hired.

“Dan and his team have built a solid and sustainable Trade Book and Media unit over the last nine years,” said Chief Executive Officer Cris Doornbos. “With Dan’s pending retirement at the end of May 2015, along with the dramatic changes and challenges in Christian publishing overall, I see this as a window of opportunity to intentionally re-visit our publishing strategy and develop a long-term strategic model. Once we determine the best ‘go forward strategy,’ we will resume our search for a new chief publishing officer.”

Kenney is a trusted and respected colleague within the Christian publishing industry. While at Zondervan, Kenney led the team that collaborated with Randy Frazee and Max Lucado’s “The Story” campaign, which has been adopted by thousands of churches worldwide. Concurrently with his role as executive vice president of sales for Zondervan, Kenney also was appointed trade book publisher and head of marketing, leading those teams on an interim basis. In addition, he ran the Spanish Vida publishing business, turning it profitable and increasing its reach significantly in subsequent years. 

“I’m so pleased to be joining the David C Cook team,” Kenney said. “It’s great to be with a company driven by a mission to serve the local church in a global way. Cook is uniquely positioned as a global leader in serving the church with engaging, biblically-based content and I look forward to working with them to advance their mission.”

In this unique role that reports directly to Doornbos, Kenney will develop and document a proposed ‘Go Forward Strategic Plan’ with the Trade Books and Media team. Additionally, he will be responsible for co-creating a future focused set of new activities, processes and business models for Trade Books.

“For over 20 years I have enjoyed knowing and working together with Verne,” Doornbos said. “He has the experience and the objective assertiveness I’m looking for, with a history of successful strategic planning and a way of thinking ‘outside the book’ that I truly respect.”

Kenney will oversee all day-to-day operations of the Trade Book and Media unit beginning March 23, from acquisition and development of new book projects, to developing and implementing sales and marketing strategies. Kenney’s expertise has proven that he is successful at creating the strategies necessary to deliver impactful books to the market place.

Eerdmans Publishing appoints senior acquisitions editor PDF Print E-mail
Written by Ingrid Wolf   
Monday, 16 March 2015 12:05 PM EDT

Lil-CopanWm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company has announced the hiring of Lil Copan as senior acquisitions editor—General Trade.

Copan brings two decades of experience to Eerdmans. She has worked in acquisitions for several religious publishing houses—Abingdon Press, Ave Maria Press, and Paraclete Press, among others. Among her areas of expertise are trade line development, project

management, author and platform cultivation, substantive editing, and cross-platform content development.

Copan has worked with an impressive array of bestselling authors including Madeline L’Engle and Lauren Winner. She acquired Frederick Buechner’s Faces of Jesus for Paraclete in 2004 and was credited by Jana Riess in a 2011 Publishers Weekly interview for having “brilliantly suggested” the concept for her book Flunking Sainthood.

“Very few publishers manage to balance respect for authors, excellence in content, and a sense of responsibility to their readers,” Copan says. “Eerdmans has continued to invite readers and generate new ideas, introducing valued voices of faith over the last century-plus. Presenting diverse voices and faithful work with Eerdmans is an opportunity to sow seasoned skills, experience, and sensibility in the fertile ground of faith-based publishing.”

“We at Eerdmans have always had a strong interest in the relevance of ideas to the church broadly and to culture generally,” says Eerdmans Editor in Chief Jon Pott. “It is wonderful now to bolster that interest with so distinguished and creative an editor as Lil Copan has been. It is also warming, may I say, to welcome to the Eerdmans team someone whom several of us have long counted a friend and kindred spirit.”

WaterBrook Multnomah announces staff changes PDF Print E-mail
Written by Christian Retailing   
Thursday, 12 March 2015 01:23 PM EDT

WaterBrookMultnomahWaterBrook Multnomah, a division of the Crown Publishing Group, has announced several recent changes among its staff, including the promotion of Laura Barker to vice president and editorial director.

A 12-year veteran of the company, Barker served in several management roles for WaterBrook from 1998 to 2004, including managing editor and editorial director, before doing freelance work for a season.

Returning to the company in 2009 as editorial director, she has helped lead Multnomah’s editorial team with a high level of professionalism and expertise. In addition, she has acquired and edited some of Multnomah’s most important authors, including Kay Arthur, Liz Curtis Higgs and Joanna Weaver. She has established herself as an integral part of my management team and has become a trusted colleague in helping me in my transition here.

Susan Tjaden has been promoted to editor, continuing to report to Barker. Since joining the staff in March 2012, Tjaden has worked on such titles as Shaunti Feldhahn’s The Surprising Secrets of Highly Happy Marriages and the forthcoming Unafraid by Susie Davis. Her recent acquisitions of promising authors like Joshua Becker, Elisa Pulliam and Becky Thompson showcase her publishing instincts.

Kendall Davis has been promoted to assistant editor. Since joining WaterBrook Multnomah in July 2012, Davis has provided support to the editorial team and to our authors and agents. Her professional demeanor, commitment to excellence and creative problem solving have made her an invaluable member of the Multnomah team.

Debbie Mitchell has been promoted to vice president/director of operations. Mitchell’s role is a widely varied one. In addition to her responsibilities directing production, as well as managing editorial, inventory management and the art departments, she oversees all office operations in Colorado Springs.

In connection to Tina Constable’s announcement that the position of associate publisher for WaterBrook Multnomah, Convergent and Image has been eliminated, Crown Publishing is announcing new leadership for the WaterBrook Multnomah publicity and marketing departments. 

Beverly Rykerd has been promoted to publicity director. Rykerd has been the publicity manager for WaterBrook Multnomah since 2011. She has directed publicity campaigns for dozens of our high-profile titles, many of them New York Times best-sellers, including Be the Message by Kerry and Chris Shook, Fearless by Eric Blehm, To Heaven and Back by Dr. Mary Neal, Bad Girls of the Bible by Liz Curtis Higgs, Greater and Crash the Chatterbox by Steven Furtick, Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World by Joanna Weaver, and The Winnowing Season and other novels by Cindy Woodsmall.

Ginia Hairston will be joining the company on April 6 as vice president/director of marketing, An accomplished and creative marketing professional with more than 20 years of experience in Christian publishing, Hairston joins Multnomah from David C Cook, she most recently served as vice president of marketing. Previously, she served as program services director for HopeChest and as vice president of marketing for trade books at Zondervan.

Paglia Rejoins PMI as licensing director PDF Print E-mail
Written by Pat Shaw   
Monday, 09 March 2015 02:09 PM EDT

patrice-pagliaPatrice Paglia, a prominent licensing executive, has joined Precious Moments Inc. as its licensing director. She brings more than 25 years’ experience with the world-renowned brand, in addition to her many other licensing relationships that span three decades.

PMI Senior Vice President of Licensing and Creative Sara Pilafas made the announcement. Pilafas recently rejoined PMI, having served as its president in the 1990s and as head of PM Creative for more than a decade at Enesco Corporation. Most recently, Pilafas served as vice president of licensing and creative at Christian Brands in Phoenix, Arizona.

“We are proud and delighted to announce the addition of Patrice Paglia to our leadership team at PMI,” Pilafas said. “Her licensing achievements are noteworthy, and her qualifications bring new opportunities to this important business segment. There is no other licensing executive with more Precious Moments knowledge and experience than Patrice, and we look forward to working with her once more.”

As division vice president for licensing at Enesco, Paglia established and maintained relationships with Fortune 500 companies that include Disney, Mattel, Coca-Cola, Warner Bros., and McDonald’s. During her 12-year tenure, Paglia also formulated international licensing strategies in 25 countries that added more than $100 million annual sales.

After leaving Enesco, Paglia joined PMI as vice president of licensing and marketing, with oversight of its $250 million consumer products licensing program for the Precious Moments brand. Following PMI’s move of its Chicago-area operations to Carthage Missouri, Paglia held executive licensing, marketing and product development positions with Roman, Inc., Building Q, and Jostens, Inc.

Prior to rejoining PMI, Paglia was retained by Enesco to formulate a strategic licensing program for Enesco and Department 56, an Enesco subsidiary.

Pilafas also announced two more additions to the PMI Creative Team. Margaret Y. Man joins PMI as its creative project manager, and Jeremy Wyman as its product developer.

Prior to joining PMI, Margaret served as product development and merchandising coordinator for the past five years at Winston Brands/Collections Etc., a major gift and décor catalog business in suburban Chicago. She has also held major administrative positions with The Salvation Army and Trinity International University. In addition, Man held similar positions with companies in Hong Kong, where she also received her Bachelor’s degree from Ching Yih College.

Wyman served as product designer at Winston Brands for seven years before coming to PMI. During his tenure at Winston Brands, his responsibilities included design of exclusive products, working closely with overseas vendors and managing freelance designers. His experience includes freelance product design for Christian Brands, Inc., and numerous graphic design projects for a variety of entities. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in visual communications from Judson University.

“Margaret and Jeremy are talented individuals with outstanding experience and skills,” Pilafas said. “We are delighted that they have come on board, and we look forward to working with them. Headed by Peggy Pak, our creative team is second to none, and both Margaret and Jeremy are important to our continued success. We proudly welcome Patrice, Margaret and Jeremy to the PMI family.”

All three positions are based in PMI’s suburban Chicago offices.

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