Wells Alumnae Share Connections in Publishing

June 28, 2017
Deb Murphy '91, Ana Giovinazzo '11, and Jes Lyons '14 spoke about the benefits of working in the "small and passionate" world of publishing.
ana, deb, and jes standing in front of a bookcase

Shared by the Office of Alumnae and Alumni Engagement:

So many of us made meaningful connections here in Aurora, and it's wonderful to see those connections continuing over time. We recently heard from three Wellsians, NYC residents, and colleagues in publishing at HarperCollins — Deb Murphy '91, Ana Giovinazzo '11, and Jes Lyons '14. Though they work in differing departments, all talk about the perks of being a part of the same organization.

"I sit so close to Deb that I could probably throw a paper airplane at the back of her head from my desk, and it's great to be able to see a familiar face and chat when I come into the office," said Ana. "The same goes for Jes; we don't have a huge amount of crossover, but we exchange e-mails and like to do regular lunches."

"Having Wells connections in the office is really refreshing — since HarperCollins is such a large company, it's easy to drown in your work and forget to socialize," Jes notes. "Having Ana and Deb nearby to call for lunch or just to discuss a title we're excited about is lovely, and I'm grateful for both of them."

Deb's own Wells network brought her to HarperCollins in 1998 — she had spent time living in Minneapolis before moving to New York and into a role in the HarperCollins Children's Books division on a tip from Amy Parsons Kaufman '92. While back in New York, Deb took the opportunity to start volunteering with the Wells Alumnae Association and making more direct connections.

When Ana, following her own graduation, reached out about opportunities in publishing, the two began exchanging emails. Ana spent some time at DK Publishing, and when an opportunity opened at HarperCollins, Deb sent a note, and the connection was made.

"It's really great to be able to work with both of them, and to have made that connection happen the same way that it happened for me," Deb said.

Just before Ana found learned about the opportunity, Jes — who had dreamed of working for HarperCollins before even enrolling at Wells — landed a role in the organization's publicity department.

"There is an admiration for tradition here as there was at Wells," said Jes. "As cliché as it sounds, critical thinking and problem solving is a must in publishing — especially in publicity — and it's the many experiences I had at Wells which prepared me for the job I have now."

"A love of great literature (and a versatile English/liberal arts degree) brought me to publishing, but a fantastic work culture made me stay," Ana said. "Publishing, like Wells, is a fairly small and passionate world, and most of us are here because we love books and want to get them into the hands of other people who love them, too."

Given their affinity for the Wells Network, we can imagine the story continuing. Deb, for example, has spent several years serving as a member of the WCA Nominating Committee as well as regularly attending the College's NYC Networking Nights.

"It's exciting to be able to talk with those who are still so close to the College," she said. "Whether recent graduates, current students, or even those who are thinking of attending Wells after high school—it gives me a chance to share my own experiences and answer questions as well as learning about what's happening on campus."

"I have an immense amount of trust in the Wells network," Ana shared. "We're small but strong, and I am trying to give back to Wells wherever I can. Any current student (or recent graduate) can always feel free to contact me directly for advice on publishing. I want to share what was given to me by great people like Deb!"

Learn more about the Ofice of Alumnae and Alumni Engagement.

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