The Voice of Experience, A Conversation With Jenny Pickles From the Publishing Industry

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Jenny Pickles has 15 years experience in the publishing industry. She has experienced the changes and shares her insights. What are five great ideas from the interview, and which bits of the interview can you use?

Avil Beckford: Tell me a little bit about yourself.

I have worked in the publishing industry since 1995, firstly at Emerald Group Publishing Ltd initially in the Editorial Department. Here I was responsible for organizing the annual best paper awards for excellence and managing a suite of real estate and environmental scholarly journals. In 2000 I transferred to the Business Development department and took on responsibility for digital licensing, reprints and permissions. Two years ago I was lucky enough to be offered the role of Associate Director of Global Rights at John Wiley & Sons in the UK. This involves responsibility for all secondary licensing of the many thousands of books and journals published by Wiley including translation rights rights, permissions and digital licensing.

Avil Beckford: What’;s a typical day like for you?

Dealing with the many emails from external and internal customers, working with my staff who are based in both Oxford and Chichester and with our Global Rights groups who are based around the world.

Avil Beckford: How do you motivate yourself and stay motivated?

Working every day with talented, enthusiastic and committed staff always motivates me to try harder myself, lead by example, and fully support my team. I like to encourage their ideas for improving the business, our business processes, our service levels and our productivity. Additionally in a digital age the way in which knowledge is created and promulgated is constantly changing and developing, the consequent statements and expectations of our customers grows exponentially and this constantly challenges us to find ways to meet those demands and expectations. The job is never boring.

Avil Beckford: If you had to start over from scratch, knowing what you know now, what would you do differently?

I would probably have gotten into the publishing industry much sooner than I did. I took the job initially because it was available at a time that a grant funded role at Bradford University came to an end, not because I had a burning desire to get into publishing. However, I quickly found that I loved the job, the constant challenges and the dynamics of publishing. I feel that I would know much more now if I had been aware of this when I was much younger.

Avil Beckford: Describe a major business or other challenge you had and how you resolved it.

We have been working on updating an internal IT system and this has involved selecting the most high priority issues and project managing these with IT and business clusters over the last year or so.

Avil Beckford: What lessons did you learn in the process?

Patience, patience, and more patience – and accepting that not everything can or maybe even should be automated.

Avil Beckford: How did teachers influence your life?

By encouraging me to look at life and achievments differently.

Avil Beckford: What’;s one core message you received from your mentors?

Set your goals and be prepared to pay the price in advance – this is a mantra that I have always followed. The mentor was one of the directors and co-owners of Emerald at the time, Barrie Pettman, a self made millionaire and I always thought the statement made a lot of sense. The price you pay may be financial in terms of the fees for a particular course of study or training you need to undertake, it might be the time you have to be prepared to invest in learning new skills or gaining the required qualifications to get where you want to be, it might be what you have to personally forego in other areas of your life in order to spend that time or it might be the effort of identifying who you need to seek out who may be willing to offer you further help and guidance. Whatever the price, you need to research what it is first and decide if you are prepared to pay that price, then just do it.

Avil Beckford: How do you integrate your personal and professional life?

Since moving to the south of the country to take up my new role my work / life balance has not been especially good, so I am working at building a new network of friends and areas of interest – a work in progress.

Avil Beckford: What process do you use to generate great ideas?

Talking to my colleagues over drinks or a good Thai meal always works for me. We usually come back to the office with lots of ideas.

Avil Beckford: How do you define success?

Fulfillment at a job well done or an achievement worked hard for.

Avil Beckford: What are the steps you took to succeed in your field?

The willingness to work for it without stamping on others in the process.

Avil Beckford: What advice do you have for someone just starting out in your field?

Same as above, the willingness to work for it without stamping on others in the process.

Avil Beckford: If you had a personal genie and she saved you one wish, what would you wish for? Or, if I’;ve saved you a magic wand, what would you use it for?

The good thing to wish for would be the rather clichés world peace but on a personal level a long life with good health in which to enjoy it.

Avil Beckford: Complete the following, I am happy when …..

I can spend time with my family, especially if that time is spent in a lovely sunny location with pool and great restaurants near-by.