Small But Mighty, the Staff of Lavender Magazine Reflects on 500 Issues


By Andy Lien and Shane Lueck

One of the most important pieces of a publication is the masthead. It tells everyone who works for the publication, what roles they play, how to contact them, as well as other pertinent information, such as inspirational people who have passed on but remain on the masthead with our respect. Each issue of the past 500 is produced every two weeks by a small but mighty crew. To us, it’s our job: we show up, suit up, and get the job done. Rarely does the light shine on the people who make it happen, whether making sure our First Thursdays run as they should; answering the phone as the first point of contact with the public; coordinating and selling ads to make sure our publication stays in business; managing the financial matters of a business in its 20th successful year; conceptualizing and designing innovative and appealing layouts; putting the talent and vision into the ads and photography of both the magazine and the website; researching, podcasting, posting, and tweeting Big Gay News every day; as well as coordinating stories, photo shoots, and contributors. So much is done by so few. Here are the reflections of the staff of Lavender Magazine regarding 500 Issues:


StephenStephen Rocheford
President and CEO
Start Date: May 1, 1995
First Issue: 1
Thoughts on 500 Issues:
“Incredible that we made it this far.”


BarryBarry Leavitt
Sales & Advertising Director
Start Date: April 12, 1999
First Issue: 102
Thoughts on 500 Issues:
“As the saying goes, time flies when you’re having fun. Issue 500 is my 399th issue with Lavender, and it’s been amazing to work here during a time of so many wonderful changes and achievements within the GLBT community. I’m proud to work with so many talented people who pour their hearts into creating a publication that is often cited by people around the country as a gold standard for local GLBT publications. Here’s to the next 500!”


PierrePierre Tardif
Vice President and CC
Start Date: June 14, 1999
First Issue: 106
Thoughts on 500 Issues:
“I’m very proud of the Lavender staff members who have conceived the magazine over the years. I feel extremely fortunate to have worked with such talented individuals. Minnesota’s community is beautiful, vibrant, and thriving, and the award-winning magazine simply mirrors its rich GLBT environment. I’m thrilled that Minnesotans have chosen Lavender and its advertisers issue after issue since 1995, earning nationwide comments such as ‘Minnesota hosts the best regional gay media in the country,’ considering the numerous quality publications our peers publish in other states. Kudos to you, Minnesotans, and to Lavender for this first 500-slice of gay history!”


CarolynCarolyn Lima
Chief Financial Officer
Start Date: July 17, 2001
First Issue: 162
Thoughts on 500 Issues:
“I have been around Lavender for 13 years. I work with an amazing TEAM of people. Yes, personnel has changed over the years, but, despite everything, this team has never missed a deadline. It’s a great and award-winning magazine that comes every two weeks and is distributed to over 900 locations. It is a challenging team effort that has been successful over 500 times. Great work, team, and we will do it another 500 times!”


SuzanneSuzanne Farrell
Senior Account Executive
Start Date: September 1, 2001
First Issue: 165
Thoughts on 500 Issues:
“I’m in awe of working on over 330 issues. Time flies when you are having fun!”


HubertHubert Bonnet
Creative Director
Start Date: August 16, 2004
First Issue: 241
Thoughts on 500 Issues:
“I am always amazed that with such a small group of people we manage to produce such a quality publication (every two weeks) as Lavender Magazine. I think that the freedom, the flexibility, the variety of tasks required for the job, knowing that we are working for a great cause, and the people I work with have kept me motivated all these years. For my 251st issue, I am just as excited as I was for my very first one. On to the next 500.”


MikeMike Hnida
Graphic Designer
Start Date: March 25, 2005
First Issue: 257
Thoughts on 500 Issues:
“It’s interesting to look at my years with the magazine and try to sum it up, but I can tell that my design and photography skills have grown and I’ve learned a great deal from others within the industry. What I’ve appreciated the most about my tenure with Lavender is, of course all of the good laughs we’ve shared, but also the flexibility to use my creativity. Whether that is designing covers or layouts for the magazine, the freedom to flex my creative muscles has been a great opportunity both in the past as well as looking toward the future.”


LindaLinda Raines
Sales & Advertising Traffic Coordinator and Editorial Assistant
Start Date: November 28, 2005
First Issue: 274
Thoughts on 500 Issues:
“What an amazing accomplishment! I enjoy looking at the copies of the earliest issues of the magazine in our archives, and randomly pulling issues down the line—it really is impressive to see how the quality, size, and content of the magazine has grown and improved over the years. It’s also wonderful to see recent covers showing GLBT couples being able to legally marry in the state of Minnesota and also proudly holding their children as families—how far the community has come!”


AndyAndy Lien
Managing Editor
Start Date: June 23, 2011
First Issue: 422
Thoughts on 500 Issues:
“I am so very grateful to work for this community, in this state, with these people, doing this work. Pulling together projects that appeal to readers, advertisers, and the general public is an incredible opportunity, because the community is abundant in both stories and potential. Noting that I’ve only done 78 issues out of 500 puts the effort into historical and mathematical perspective; then again, I’ve never liked math. Thank you, everyone.”


ShaneShane Lueck
Editorial Assistant and Contributor
Start Date: February 2, 2012
First Issue: 435
Thoughts on 500 Issues:
“Even in my relatively short time with Lavender, I’ve seen it grow and prosper as the GLBT community gains more visability. It’s been a pleasure to be part of that push forward. I began with a piece discussing Princess Diana and her touring exhibit and I’ve come so far since then. I can feel myself grow with the magazine and it’s a magical feeling.”


Michelle Ulmer
Appointment Setter
Start Date: February 18, 2013
First Issue: 463
Thoughts on 500 Issues:
“Hats off to Lavender for being a key resource to the community for so many years.”


AntonAnton Reichl
Sales & Advertising Account Executive
Start Date: April 7, 2014
First Issue: 494
Thoughts on 500 Issues:
“It’s great that Lavender has such longevity and influence in not only the GLBT community, but the Twin Cities community as a whole. Congrats!”


RobertRobert Felton
Sales & Advertising Account Executive
Start Date: April 15, 2014
First Issue: 495
Thoughts on 500 Issues:
“I am excited! It is exciting working for a magazine that has seen and reported on so much growth in the wonderful state of Minnesota! I am proud to be part of the Lavender family and the 500th Issue.”

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