Managing Editor Adam Hunter says goodbye after 13 years at Guideposts.
Posted in , Apr 26, 2017
“What do you know about Guideposts?” It was the first question I was asked at my interview with editor Celeste McCauley, the winter of 2004. My honest answer was, “not a lot.”
My periodicals of choice were Sports Illustrated, Esquire and Rolling Stone. All of whom I applied to for an internship my senior year at New York University, as I sought to launch my career in journalism. All of whom rejected me.
Celeste, and Guideposts, gave me a shot. At the time, I didn’t imagine I’d be here much more than 13 weeks, never mind 13 years. I didn’t think I’d rise from intern, to editorial assistant, to assistant editor, to associate editor, to editor, to senior editor, to managing editor of a new magazine, Mysterious Ways. I didn’t know I’d grow up here.
What I didn’t know about Guideposts was that it’s not just any publisher, not just any non-profit. You don’t work at Guideposts, you don’t read Guideposts—you join the family.
So how do I say goodbye to family?
After 13 years, I’m moving on from Guideposts for a new job. As much as the move may make sense for my career, it’s hard to leave. Stephanie Samoy, editor in our books department and longtime captain of our company softball team (I played left field) presented me with a softball signed by everyone here.
Rick Hamlin wrote and performed a song to the tune of Fiddler on the Roof’s “L’Chaim.” Kayo Der Sarkissian, our creative director, gave me eyeball lollypops—a joke about how creeped-out I get at eyeball close-ups, an image I’ve steadfastly refused to allow in Mysterious Ways. That’s to mention just a few of the creative tributes from my family here.
I keep saying “family.” To me, it’s what sets Guideposts apart from anywhere else. I learned this while editing one of my very first articles, a “Comfort Food” story about an asparagus casserole. The author received the recipe as a teenager from a neighbor, Mrs. Voight, and many years later, the dish became a staple of the author’s Thanksgiving feasts. Certainly not a story I dreamed of working on in journalism school.
Shortly after the article was published, however, I got a letter from the author, Doralee, thanking me for my work and telling me the good that had come from it.
“I thought Mrs. Voight had died years ago—I had lost track of her family around 1962. Imagine my surprise last night when I got a call from one of her daughters! She said Mrs. Voight had been in a beauty shop and someone who knew her showed her my article, not realizing that she was the source of my recipe. Mrs. Voight immediately called her daughter, who looked me up on the internet and called me. Her daughter said that the article had especially brightened Mrs. Voight’s life at a bad time. I telephoned Mrs. Voight, and we chatted about God’s provision of comfort in surprising ways.”
I saved Doralee’s letter and many letters like it. Letters from readers who have invited me to their houses for coffee or sent books they knew I’d like. They’ve inspired me to share my own family’s stories—about my father, my mother, my wife, my grandparents and even my wife’s grandmother. Over the years, I hope you’ve gotten to know me as well as I’ve gotten to know you.
What do I know about Guideposts? Here’s the answer for all you future interns. It’s a place where people from all walks of life—editors in New York City, ranchers in Oklahoma, soccer moms in Michigan, retirees in Arizona, Army vets and veterinarians and everyone in between—come together to share stories and discover the power that unites us all.
Sports Illustrated, Rolling Stone and Esquire are fine magazines… but they don’t bring people together the way we do.