Mainebiz Publisher Donna Brassard is taking on an expanded role in Mainebiz's parent company, New England Business Media, which also owns the Hartford Business Journal and the Worcester Business Journal.
Brassard views her promotion to group publisher of the three publications as an opportunity to advance best practices across the company's divisions and further the company's success.
"We give people information they wouldn't get anywhere else, because we're in the local market and we know what's going on — we can respond and react to what's happening," Brassard said.
Brassard's promotion took effect March 1. It's the latest advancement in a career that started upon her graduation from St. Lawrence University, in Canton, N.Y., with a journalism degree. Early on, she worked in advertising sales for publications in New York City such as Better Homes & Gardens, Early American Life, Country Home and Country Journal before relocating back to her native New England, where she joined Business Worcester and Worcester Monthly in the mid-1980s. There, she held positions in advertising sales, marketing and circulation.
In 1990, Business Worcester became the Worcester Business Journal and Brassard became the ad sales manager. She was then promoted to associate publisher, a position she held for five years before coming on, in 1999, as publisher of Mainebiz.
At the time, Mainebiz was a small operation that had started in 1994 as a kitchen-table operation.
"We jumped at the opportunity to move into this market," she said. "When we took it over it was monthly. It was pretty much Portland-centric, with sales of about $300,000 per year, and three employees and bunch of freelancers. It was a shoestring operation. But we saw the potential here."
Since then, with Brassard at the helm, Mainebiz has grown to 17 employees, revenues have more than quadrupled and the publication provides coverage and events throughout the entire state.
Her role to date includes audience development throughout NEBM, with a focus on ensuring the implementation of best practices in digital sales and sponsorship sales, working with NEBM teams and sharing her long-time sales and management expertise across the three offices.
"Donna has been a wonderful leader of Mainebiz, and we look forward to her having a larger influence company-wide," said NEBM CEO Peter Stanton.
Brassard said her primary focus in 2017 will be on sales, working with all three offices on developing a plan for ongoing sales training and reinforcing the use and benefits of magazine management software. She also plans to focus on sharing best management practices across all departments of the three publications while continuing her duties as publisher of Mainebiz.
As a local regional business publisher, Brassard said, NEBM has been ideally situated to survive through economic downturns and thrive in an industry troubled by declining readership. Continued response to the changing needs of the market, combined with ongoing staff training, technological adaptation and out-of-the-box thinking for new revenue sources, has been essential in the organization's advancement, she said.
"We've been able to continue to grow and adapt as we move forward," she said.
Brassard said she relishes going to work.
"I really believe in our mission," she said. "I love talking with business owners and learning about the different types of businesses out there. People are passionate about what they do. That makes it exciting."
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