SIPA Member Profile: Demby Left Wall St. and Never Looked Back

Glenn Demby, Vice President of Editorial, Bongarde

What was your first job out of college and how did you get into this business?
I was languishing as a third-year, corporate lawyer on Wall Street making a lot of money and having no time to spend it when I saw an ad in the New York Law Journal: “Looking for a Different Way to Use Your Legal Degree?” It hit me that I was. I did the interview, got the job—at Brownstone Publishers—and never looked back.

Has there been a defining moment in your career? Perhaps when you knew you were on the right road.
My very first day of work at the new job. The mission of Brownstone, may it rest in peace, is to explain the law in plain English and provide practical, ready-to-implement compliance solutions. The stuff is written by lawyers but targeted to people in business who are not lawyers but confront legal issues on the job every day. I thought this was what I’d be doing when I signed on with that corporate law firm. But I immediately discovered that B-to-B publishing provided the instructional/pedagogical outlet I was looking for.

In brief, describe your business/company?
Bongarde Media is a Canadian-based, B-to-B publisher that helps companies in North America keep their workers from getting hurt or ill on the job and comply with occupational health and safety laws. Recently, we’ve expanded into HR.

What are two or three important concepts or rules that have helped you to succeed in business?
A. Customer need is paramount—our job is to ascertain that need;
B. Information isn’t enough—to provide value, the info must be processed, analyzed and distilled so that it solves the user’s problems and makes his or her job easier;
C. Editorial creation is as much about marketing as “good writing” in the sense that editors need to understand what need their material is addressing and LET USERS know that such value is being delivered.

What is the single-most successful thing that your company is doing now?
Hmm. I guess I’d say migrating traditional paper products to functional web-based services—especially in safety training and Canadian OHS compliance.

Do you see a trend or path that you have to lock onto for 2011?
Continuing the reinvention of journalism and information delivery. Nobody “reads” anymore. Information is absorbed on the go and in a million different formats and media. IMHO, the quality of the information and analysis we provide is a cut above. But our delivery systems and formats are obsolescent and need to be re-engineered to enable users to process the info more easily.

What are the key benefits of SIPA membership for you and your team?
Idea sharing and the chance to interact with the best minds in our industry.

Where did you grow up?
My wife claims I never grew up. But I did spend my childhood years in New Jersey.

What college did you attend? Is there a moment from that time that stands out?
I went to Columbia, the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy (Masters) and Columbia Law. My dad says I have more degrees than a thermometer. My favorite moment in that time was learning that I had made Phi Beta Kapa. I was a lousy student in junior high and high school; so getting that stupid gold key felt like a real accomplishment.

Are you married? Do you have children?
I’ve been married 20 years this November and have a 16-year-old son and 10-year-old daughter.

What is your favorite hobby and how did it develop in your life?
Tough question. Probably the thing I love above all others is history. I can’t get enough of it. And if I ever had to leave this business, I’d take a shot at teaching the subject.

Is there a book you recently read or movie you saw that you would recommend?
When I was on a plane the other day, I saw “Black Swan.” I mean literally SAW it. The guy sitting next to me rented one of those video gizmos and I watched the movie over his shoulder. It looked pretty good and I’m looking forward to seeing it with the sound. My favorite book is “Without Feathers” by Woody Allen. Once while reading the book on a train, I was laughing so loud that the conductor threatened to throw me off.

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Glenn will add his expertise to the
Content Generation track at SIPA 2011,
as a speaker for “Passion Gets Payups”
(writing with emotion and empathy).
It’s just one of the many impactful sessions featuring
exciting speakers who sit on the industry’s cutting edge.
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SIPA’s 35th Annual International Conference
SIPA 2011: Cashing in on Content –
Models for a New Decade.

June 5-7, Capital Hilton, Washington, D.C.
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