April 15, 2020
Jocelyn Paoletta, Publisher Region Magazine
A Convergence of Interests
As the BRBC commences a second year of publication, I wanted to step out of the shadows to share the story behind and the purpose of Region Magazine.
The conversation about starting a business to business magazine began on the day I interviewed for the job of Communications Director for the BRBC seven years ago. Quite honestly, at that time, I knew very little about the BRBC, not-for-profit membership organizations, chambers of commerce, or the nuances of economic development in the Greater Bridgeport Region.
But then CEO, Paul S. Timpanelli, was enthusiastically telling me about the region he and the BRBC’s Board of Directors (business leaders from more than 50 top companies) were devoted to.
Paul shared that, while the BRBC did not have the kind of budget for-profit companies had, they did have this amazing group of people volunteering on boards and committees who were tireless in their support of the BRBC and the Bridgeport, Stratford, and Trumbull Chambers of Commerce. And, when I expressed concern that there were elements of the BRBC’s open position I had little experience in, he said not to worry. He proceeded to share stories about how members had helped those who had come before me.
I said to Paul then, you need to find a way to tell the stories you are telling me to a wider audience. Having come from the magazine world in another life, I naturally suggested that the BRBC might start a magazine. After all, if you know City and Regional magazine history, the first major City and Regional magazine in the United States was started by a Chamber of Commerce (a story for another day).
Starting a direct mail magazine is easier said than done. Especially in a digital world. And, at the time, the BRBC needed a new website. The launch of that website was my first task to manage after being hired.
Paul and I talked a lot about the magazine concept over the three years that I had the honor of working with him. And, in that time, we and a volunteer economic development committee headed by Paul Antinozzi of Antinozzi Associates Architecture & Interiors and Ken Oppedisano of Main Enterprises decided that BRBC focus needed to turn to dispelling the notion that there is nothing going on in the Bridgeport Region from an economic development perspective.
As a result, The QR (Quarterly Review of Economic Development) was born. The QR is a visual and informative listing of key economic development activity in the region. We could not have developed and delivered this important publication without the support of the volunteer committee. The BRBC remains hopeful, given the challenges ahead, that they will be able to include The QR with this magazine in a future issue. LINK HERE TO SEE PRIOR EDITIONS OF THE QR.
Upon Paul’s retirement, it was interim CEO and equally enthusiastic lover of Bridgeport and the BRBC, Mickey Herbert who gave me the runway to launch this business magazine as an added way to market BRBC members and Greater Bridgeport.
The first issue of Region Magazine was published in June of 2018. The concept was to take our Membership Directory, which was printed and mailed to BRBC members once a year and turn it into a quarterly publication with more content and direct mailed to a wider audience of businesses. And now, with seven issues published, complete with a Business Resource Guide (BRBC Member Directory) and content promoting the region and members we have reached this milestone issue.
And, what a milestone! The first issue of 2020, themed around the advocacy work the BRBC does on behalf of its members, is breaking in a time when all eyes are focused on how the community and elected officials are navigating a crisis of enormous proportion.
Under current President and CEO, Dan Onofrio, the BRBC will work to bring the community together in positive and meaningful ways. And, indeed, the BRBC mission is to bring business, non-profits, municipalities and the community together.
That convergence of interests is how and why the BRBC exists.
As we navigate the weeks and perhaps months ahead in a post Covid 19 world, the BRBC along with all of you will find a path forward in this new world of ours.
We have to - we can do no less - and we will do it together.
The face to face meetings and events the BRBC regularly delivers will be postponed for a time. But the digital world is proving its value as the BRBC will bring folks together via tele-conferencing and webinars. And, we are hopeful this magazine will continue to be a vehicle that can support and promote members and the region.
It is important that we recognize publishing Region Magazine is no easy task. It takes a whole lot of BRBC member companies to create each issue. The BRBC would not be able to bring you this publication without the continued and consistent support of the volunteer BRBC Board of Directors, Chamber and Program Boards of Directors, advertisers, and members who share their expertise in each issue.
As a membership association, a driving policy of the organization is to work with members for outside services. And, as a not-for-profit, the BRBC is forever grateful to those members for either donating services or being creative on pricing to help us deliver the magazine and all the organization’s programing to you.
Members who have and continue to go above and beyond to help produce this publication are American View Productions; Brody Printing Co., Inc., a Certified Minority Enterprise; and Universal Printing & Mailing Services, Inc.
My sincere apologies to Brody and Universal for having to cancel the print and direct mailed version of Region for the spring. Just one of the many unfortunate results of managing through a pandemic. I must share that the teams at both businesses have done everything from teaching me how to package files for printing to saving me by being flexible when our timing inevitably changes print and mailing dates.
I reached out to several members to help me with content for this issue who I also want to thank. This was not an easy time to volunteer!
You can get a little insight into Frank Borres and his AVP team on page 34. Suffice it to say Frank, Brian, Ami, Sali, and Elias (both Brian and Elias are the men behind all seven Cover photos) have been critical support since the first issue. Most of their time and effort is volunteered! Frank is a member of the BRBC Board of Directors. He and his team were instrumental in the design and writing of, Boats, Boats, and More Boats in the Bridgeport Harbor, found on page 50 - LINK FOR PDF.
BRBC member, Melissa Biggs of DePino, Nunez and Biggs, a bipartisan Government Relations firm wrote the article on lobbying on page 15 - LINK FOR PDF.
Joan Law and Mary Beth Nelsen collaborated in writing, Tips for Creating “Space” in Home and Work Environments, on page 30 - LINK FOR PDF.
Joan lives in Stratford with her husband Steve and she finds herself tweaking things in her own space as life changes during this time. Joan has been practicing and teaching Feng Shui, Clutter Clearing and Organizing offices and businesses for over 20 years. Joan was also a valued member of the BRBC team.
Mary Beth and her husband Keith live in Oxford and are both BRBC members. She with The Right Resource and he with one of our longest term member companies, Lindquist Security Technologies.
Mary Beth serves as a BRBC Board member, has served as the Board Chair of the Women’s Leadership Network, and she serves on the Board’s Human Resources Committee.
Bob Abbate is the President and Creative Director of Bob Abbate Marketing, a digital/legacy advertising agency and branding firm. Bob is also an active member of the BRBC Board of Directors. He is remote-working out of what he has coined “the fortress of solitude” in his Trumbull home. Bob and team produced, Marketing Your Business During a Global Crisis, found on page 48 - LINK FOR PDF.
There is one more person who gets a shout out as well. Mr. Joe Paoletta, my amazing husband, for taking a pretty decent photo of me finishing up this issue from my kitchen table.
Serendipity brought me to the BRBC seven years ago. I consider myself one very lucky person for having gotten to know the extended BRBC member team that has allowed me to make Region Magazine and so much more a reality in my time with the organization.
In my original version of this commentary, the version prior to COVID 19 invading our lives, I was suggesting readers (who would have been holding the magazine in their hands while having morning coffee) also look for the digital version of this issue online at www.brbc.org.
And, now here I am on April 8, 2020 changing my story. For the time being, the only version of the spring issue of Region Magazine you will see is this digital version. And, as the pandemic has forced the BRBC to adjust how it operates, the plans for future issues of the magazine are to be determined.
The goal of this organization has always been to converge interests to make our community the best place to live, work, and play. I have faith that the mutual interests of business and community will continue to come together in special and unique ways to build and re-build our Greater Bridgeport Region.
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Jocelyn Paoletta, is honored to be the founder and publisher of Region Magazine, a quarterly business magazine developed to market the Greater Bridgeport Region and members of the Bridgeport Regional Business Council. Spring 2019 through Spring 2020 issues are available via this website and the Summer and Winter 2018 issues are available via direct mail. Contact the BRBC at 203.335.3800 if you would like a copy of 2018 issues mailed to you. Jocelyn is available to manage custom publishing projects - contact Jocelyn via her LinkedIn account for more information.