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Counselor Senior Editor Michele Bell's slanted view of the world.

Shore Leave

Filed under: Fun, Personal, Travel

Well, hey there Sailors!

Long time, no blog! Why, you may ask? For no other reason than I really haven’t had much to say (shocking, I know, considering my nonstop flapping trap, as Joe Haley often points out).

But I’m back, and giddy as all get-out. Now, most of you who read my blog postings know that I often cover the industry’s social, after-hours events, showcasing the business’ most fun celebs in their natural habitat (read: the bar). This time, I’m turning a gimlet-eye toward my ASI colleagues.

Last week, 90+ staffers from ASI’s Editorial, Marketing, Supplier Sales, Supplier Internet and CreditConnect departments decamped to quaint, quiet and staid Cape May, NJ (the part of the Jersey Shore not drenched in skanks, Axe and cheesiness), for a two-day overnight retreat to recharge our batteries and engage in massive brainstorming sessions.

Spearheaded by ASI’s executive vice president & publisher Rich Fairfield and planned by Gene Rahill, ASI’s director of digital advertising, and Suzanne Izzo, manager of digital advertising, the event was incredibly informative, enlightening and valuable, with members of the Paradigm Group joining us to lead listening and collaborative sessions and networking events held to help ASI employees meet people outside of their own cliques and departments. It was a huge success, and lest you think it sounds like one long, coma-inducing strat plan session — far from it! You’ll see new and innovative initiatives being implemented for ASI’s magazines, products and services very soon and lots of fun and exciting announcements coming within the next few weeks. For now, read on to check out photos of your favorite ASI characters!

More soon (promise!) and hope to see many of you at ASI’s Power Summit in November.

— M

Four of my favorite ASI colleagues in one shot (from left): Jake Krolick, creative director for ASI’s marketing department and resident Keith Richards-esque reveler; Ron Ball, my designated work husband and ASI’s vice president of supplier sales; the vivacious and stunning Krista Taylor, account exec extraordinaire of ASI’s Supplier Internet Sales department; and Colin Graf (or “El Diablo,” as I call him, due to the sulfurous hangovers he causes me every time we hang together…), director of ASI’s supplier marketing efforts and one talented guy. Jack Flohr (left), director of marketing for ASI’s membership services, and Larry Basinait, director of ASI’s statistical research. We call Larry “The Basinaitor” because he’s our wonky stat superhero!
A moment about Gene Rahill, ASI’s director of digital advertising: Not only did he spearhead the entire retreat — a huge undertaking when dealing with so many different details and personalities — but, as with everything he does, he did it with humor, patience and excellence. He is a favorite of everyone at ASI. Here’s Krista Taylor (left) and Hillary Haught, two of my fave blondes ever! Hillary is the senior designer of ASI’s magazines, and is a critical reason why we win as many design awards as we do. When Krista, Hillary and I get together, our main topic of conversation is the HBO show True Blood and how, um, smart, we think all the male actors on the show are and how we’d like to, um, write sonnets with them. Yeah, that’s it.
Rich Fairfield, ASI’s executive vice president and the publisher of its five magazines, and Hillary Haught. Rich and I travel to trade shows overseas quite often and he has the patience of Job with my “eccentricities” and vices. Meet Patty Cangelosi (left), one of ASI’s newer employees and our fantastic copy proofreader. Before dinner at the retreat, ASI’s newest employees did a skit impersonating some of the company’s more chronically kooky personalities (I’m looking at you, Ron Ball). Patty impersonated me, complete with circus-big hoop earrings, stilettos, dark sunglasses, a cocktail in hand and sass that could melt glass.
Hands up: Who doesn’t know ASI’s senior vice president, Chris Lovell? I’m guessing not many of you… Chris is an ASI stalwart and has a near Talmudic knowledge of the industry. She also wields a wit so sharp it’s bracing. (From left): Joe Haley, ASI’s managing editor and star of The Joe Show; Andy Cohen, editor of the award-winning Counselor magazine; Melinda Ligos, ASI’s senior vice president and editor-in-chief of its magazines; and Larry Basinait at Cabanas beach bar in Cape May, NJ. As it is the off-season and it was a Tuesday night, the bar was dead, save a few locals. Then about 40 ASI staffers blew in, like a wave of locusts spreading mayhem. The bartenders, of course, were thrilled; the locals, not so much.
Melinda Ligos (left) and Barbara Ambrose, assistant to Rich Fairfield. Barbara has been at ASI for nearly 14 years and is just phenomenal. Truly, we are so lucky to have her with us. Here’s C.J. Mittica, editor of the award-winning Wearables magazine. We call him “Chaz” in the office and stand in awe of his Hemingway-esque ability to consume scotch.
Designer Hillary Haught and Marketing Guru Colin Graf, going after ASI’s Mirror Ball trophy for dancing. (From left): Meet our new copywriter, Chuck Zak, who handles all the creative writing for ASI’s catalogs and who’s taken on some new editorial writing for our magazines, shown here with Wearables editor C.J. Mittica and awards editor Karen Akers.
Monica Fisher is one of the designers for ASI’s magazines and someone with the patience enough to work closely with me on Supplier Global Resource, ASI’s magazine for industry importers and manufacturers that I edit. Monica is leaving ASI for a new opportunity, and we will miss her! The little man with the big mouth. Here’s my pal and colleague, Joe Haley, star of ASI’s The Joe Show, entertaining the crowd. Joe’s personality is so larger-than-life, his aura has an aura.
This is one of my favorite photos, though I wish it came with a sound chip so you could hear the sheer melodious laughter from Karyn Coates, director of ASI’s member benefits, shown here with Jakey Krolick. (From left): Monica Fisher, Joe Haley and Andy Cohen, who’s usually our Captain Killjoy but who was downright convivial thanks to copious amounts of gin and tonic.
My pals Karyn Coates, Colin Graf and Jakey Krolick, who — like the rest of us at Cabanas bar that night — spent lots of quality time with the trinity of terror: Jim, Jack and Jose. The man with the coolest walk ever, Gene Rahill (we call him “The Strutter” at ASI), and Joe “my favorite dessert is a Guinness milkshake” Haley.
If ASI employees had industry fan clubs, Vince Deissroth — supplier sales account exec — would have the most members. Wicked fun and whip-smart, Vince is the one all the cool industry kids want as their rep.