It all started in a little office above a car wash in Headingley, Manitoba. This is where a young man, full of grit and determination, decided to create a magazine publishing business catering to association clients. He wasn’t new to the business; he had earned Salesman of the Year on multiple occasions with a different publishing company. But he was new to running a business and all of the details that go along with it.
That was more than 10 years ago. Since that time, Matrix Group Publishing Inc. has gone from humble beginnings and three employees working over a car wash, to a highly skilled workforce that is split between the company’s headquarters in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and a sales office in Hamilton, Ontario.
In Winnipeg, the “newest” member of the team has been around for over three years. Some of the “old dogs” in the building have been around much longer. These people know their stuff. They know how to sell association magazines, they know how to create publications from nothing more than an idea, and they have years of experience working with clients to ensure that the process from concept to mail-out is trouble-free.
In Hamilton, the focus is on advertising sales. The men and women in this office are experts in reaching the right advertisers; those that make sense in your magazine. This group has been trained to connect with businesses and they do, with hundreds from all across North America, every single day.
The men and women who work at Matrix Group Publishing Inc. are great at what they do. They don’t mind hard work; in fact, the more of a magazine’s work load you pass off to them, the better!
They always hit deadlines.
They always respond to your correspondence.
They always put in the effort required to create a product that everyone is proud of.
In just over a decade, Matrix Group Publishing Inc. has matured into a publishing firm that always delivers on its promises. This is evident in the product we produce and by looking at our list of long-time clients, many of whom have been with us for over five years.
We’re ready to turn your idea for an association magazine into reality!
Meet some of the people who will help make your magazine a success!
Jessica has been with Matrix Group Publishing Inc. for eight years. She started on the phone, as a sales person, and has since transformed into a publishing force to be reckoned with. Rest assured, if Jessica is calling you about the possibility of creating a magazine for you, she has already done her research and believes it could be a success.
In fact, one of her favourite parts of the job is what others might call a necessary evil; the research. She explains, “My favourite part of publishing is the research we do on behalf of our clients and the many industries we serve across North America. When I reach out to an association, the research has already begun and even in the preliminary stages, I am already confident that this particular group could sustain a publication.”
One of Jessica’s favourite projects to date has been the creation of a bundled package for one of our existing clients, which includes magazine advertising, magazine profiles, and website advertising. “There are always new technologies emerging in the publishing sector, including digital publications, online buyers’ guides and e-newsletters,” she says. “Advertising has had to keep up with these trends, and creating this bundled package really assisted us in providing a ‘one-stop-shop’ for our clients. We now handle magazine and web ads for them, which frees up their time for other association initiatives.”
One such initiative is growing membership, something which Matrix can help out with as well. Jessica points out that having our sales team make hundreds of calls a day to industry specific businesses goes a long way to getting an association’s name in front of potential members. “When our sales team makes calls on any given magazine, they are explaining that they’re calling on behalf of such and such association, they’re sending media kits that include the association’s logo, and they’re providing information that includes the association’s website, names of contacts, and mission statements. Our sales team is calling for advertising, but they’re inadvertently showcasing our association clients to businesses who are good candidates for membership, too.”
Without a doubt, Peter says that his favourite magazine is Basin Bits, which he helped create for the North Dakota Association of Oil and Gas Producing Counties. It started out small, 28 pages for its inaugural issue, but is now consistently over 80 pages and even had one issue that came in at 136 pages; Matrix’s largest publication to date!
In almost 10 years with the company, he has been responsible for the creation of magazines like Fireline, published for the National Wildfire Suppression Association, and Cultivating Business, published for the Canadian Association of Farm Advisors. These, along with Basin Bits, are successful today because Peter approached these groups with a concept for a magazine that had yet to be created, and then he created it.
Peter says this is the fun part, noting that, “Seeing a new association and its Executive Administration beam at the sight of their new magazine is very satisfying.”
He also enjoys the challenge. It’s not easy to first approach an association about creating a new magazine for their members, and it can be even more difficult getting advertisers to show support for a product that has not even been published yet.
But Peter doesn’t care. “Publishing gives me the opportunity to establish the roots of the magazine, to be involved from day one. This has been very rewarding on many projects over the years.”
A long (LONG) time ago, Shannon walked out of the University of Regina with a Journalism Degree and straight into a job as editor for Matrix Group Publishing, Inc. It didn’t take long for her to earn top spot as Editor-in-Chief, a position she has held for over 10 years.
Shannon has helped take over 600 association magazines to press. She has guided clients who are brand new to magazine publishing through the process, and she has built lasting relationships with her association contacts, many of whom have worked with Shannon for years.
“I’ve seen all sides of it,” she says. “I have helped clients who came into the process knowing nothing about publishing a magazine, and now they are seasoned veterans. I have also worked with clients who have had horrible experiences with other publishers, and after working with Matrix, they now see that the creation of a magazine for their members can actually be quite fun and rewarding.”
With more than a decade in the industry, you might think the job would get boring. Not so, says Shannon. “Every day brings something different. When I was in my 20s, I would joke about how, when at a party, I could rattle off interesting tidbits about so many different topics because we published magazines for so many different industries. Now that I’m married and busy chasing around two little boys, I get to impress my husband (or possibly drive him crazy), with all the interesting things I learn while editing articles every day.”
When asked what her favourite part of the job is, Allie’s answer made everyone laugh. “This is going to sound funny,” she explained, “but my favourite part of the job is actually the totally random, bizarre challenges that pop-up during production.” Not that those happen often, she reassures!
For example, when looking for Peru’s flag on a stock image site, Allie came across three different versions. She picked the one that best worked for the cover she was mocking up, and that was that. Until she decided to do a bit more research into the three-flag phenomenon. What she found showed she had picked Peru’s War Flag. Who knew there was even such a thing?! An email to Peru’s tourism bureau to clarify which flag she should use cleared up the problem…and ensured that our client didn’t inadvertently declare war on another country!
Allie has been an editor with Matrix Group Publishing Inc. for more than five years. In that time she has worked with new and seasoned clients, has skillfully stepped in as Editor-in-Chief to cover a maternity leave, and throughout all the day-to-day tasks that magazine publishing brings, she is calm and easy to work with.
This even includes when Basin Bits, our largest magazine, is in production. Allie worked on the very first issue and has been instrumental in its growth. “Basin Bits was my very first magazine,” she recalls. “The first issue was 28 pages and the third issue was 136! It was such a challenge and huge undertaking to put together a magazine that was five times bigger than the first issue. To see it all come together and flip through the pages when it came back from press was such a huge accomplishment and I still remember that feeling four years later!”
Neil is everyone’s go-to-guy when there’s a question about sales and advertising. It makes sense―he has been with Matrix Group Publishing Inc. for well over a decade and his experience shows in his handling of issues that inadvertently arise when working in sales.
But what Neil is really known for is his personality. His advertising clients love his cheery demeanor, his tendency to break into song, and his references to old-school music and current day sports highlights. The employees who work with him in the Winnipeg office enjoy these things too, but working with him in person has one added benefit―his inclination to add dance moves to the songs he’s singing.
All kidding aside, Neil is instrumental in the day-to-day operations of both the Winnipeg and Hamilton offices. He’s been with the company longer than almost every other employee and in that time, has spoken with advertising clients in every single province in Canada and in every single state in the United States.
This, says Neil, is the best part of his job. “I absolutely love speaking to people across North America. I have clients that I’ve worked with for years; I know about their families, their travels, their hobbies. I love the fact that in an hour, I could chat with a rancher from Texas, a head-honcho from California, and a contractor from Ontario. And of course, I love bugging them all when their sports teams are losing to Winnipeg or Canadian teams!”
If you want to talk to someone who knows their stuff, you’ll want to track down Shoshana. She’s been with Matrix Group Publishing Inc. since day one, which means almost 15 years! She has overseen accounts recievable, accounts payable, distribution, client relations…and, well, the list goes on. Did we mention she also has a B.A, an MBA, oh, and three active kids to chase around, too!
Now, as Operations Manager, Shoshana is still involved with all those areas previously noted, and she is now learning the sales side of things in the Hamilton office too. You might think she’s crazy but in reality, she enjoys the busy days and all of the challenges that go along with the title.
What she most enjoys, though, is learning. “I really like learning about all the different industries we create magazines for,” she explains. “I like getting to know the people behind those industries, too―both the association clients and now our advertising clients as well.”
Client relations has always been one of Shoshana’s strong points. She credits this to years in the business and being part of a company that grew from small player to major publisher in a very short time. Of course there were growing pains, she explains, “but with every obstacle we learned very valuable lessons that are now part of everyday operations. Our day-to-day activities run fairly seamlessly and if something ever arises that is out of the ordinary, everyone knows their zone, and how to react quickly and efficiently to put things back on track. We have great people working for this company, and it shows.”