article

Seven-Year Switch

Posted: 08/1998

The Letter

Seven-Year Switch

They say all the cells in your body are regenerated every seven years. Yet, somehow,
very little about our appearance is renewed; in fact, we are just grayer, flabbier
versions of our former selves. So much for cell memory.

If we are basically unimproved physically, then, certainly, there must be some measure
of forward progress elsewhere–emotionally, intellectually, professionally. Those gains we
measure by lessons learned, children raised, wealth accumulated, jobs done well, etc. You
can imagine my conundrum as I contemplate my own progress over the past seven years and
find myself back where I started, as editor of this magazine.

For four years beginning in 1988, I was a reporter and, later, an editor for PHONE+.
It was a job I loved but a job I left in 1991 for many reasons, but mostly in search of a
flexible lifestyle for a working mother. I found it in my own business. I began by
freelance writing for trade magazines and companies and, later, formed Marcom Support
Services, a public relations (PR) and marketing communications firm serving telecom
industry clients. As Marcom, I worked for many small and startup ventures, including the
Telecommunications Resellers Association (TRA), National Wireless Resellers Association
(NWRA), ATLANTIC*ACM, Receivables Funding Corp., Interfax, Omniplex Communications and
many others.

Starting this company was out of my character. Building it, I hope, has given me some.
Leaving it…well, frankly, has been a hard decision. I’ve enjoyed the autonomy,
flexibility and financial rewards of entrepreneurship as well as many successes and many
friendships along the way.

However, if I was ever effective for my PR clients, it was only for having been on the
other side of the desk. A well-worded line in a brochure. A bylined article in Associated
Press style. Instant answers to reporters’ questions. An understanding of telecom
business. All these things I learned as a journalist.

Ironically, if I will be effective as editor-in-chief of this magazine, it will only be
for having been on the other side of the desk. I have been fortunate to have experienced
what few journalists–as the world’s observers–ever do. What it’s like in the real world.
New business won, cash-flow strained, goals achieved and milestones missed–these are all
joys and heartaches I’ve come to know firsthand not only in my own business, but also in
those of my clients.

If I have grown as much as I think I have, what am I doing back here? The answer is
clear: PHONE+ has grown, too. It’s bigger and better than ever before. (Although I
can’t claim any responsibility for this issue, it’s proof of that.) Its publishers, my new
employers, have invested in talent and resources needed to take it to a new level of
sophistication.

So for those of you who care to know, my rejoining PHONE+ is less disenchantment
with self-employment and more a matter of being in the right place at the right
time…again. I am ready for the job, and the job is ready for me.

Khali Henderson
Editor-in-Chief


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