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Me and My Job: Suzanne Wilson-Higgins
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Posted by IPG

1 What is your job title and company? And roughly how many people work for your company?

I’m managing director of Lion Hudson. We have a head count of 52.

2 What are your qualifications and working background, and when and how did you take on your current job?

After a degree in music history and an MBA, I worked in marketing and business development for five years before moving into commissioning in academic and professional publishing with Butterworth-Heinemann and Reed-Elsevier. I had five years in international library supply and bookselling at Blackwell’s, then nearly ten years in print on demand and ebook services at Ingram and Lightning Source. I worked as EU sales and marketing at Lion Hudson for five years, and took on my current job as managing director in April following the planned retirement of my predecessor.

3 What does your average working day entail?

Mostly engaging with people and money, and partly engaging with books!

4 What do you enjoy most about your job?

The job combines business and Christian faith every day.

5 What achievements are you most proud of?

Pride comes before a fall! (Proverbs 16:18)

6 What are your biggest challenges?

Encouraging a creative culture and generating timely cash.

7 What have you experienced in your job and publishing that you didn’t expect?

Enduring friendships with people in publishing at all levels.

8 What is the best thing about working for an independent publisher?

The best thing about working for a small independent publisher is having permission to speak truthfully and act, coupled with lack of bureaucracy. In my current job you have to be willing and able to do anything from responding to a burst pipe to addressing shareholders. It is varied and fun, especially compared to my previous jobs in big companies where you function as an expert in your field like a cog in the wheel.

9 How do you switch off from your work?

Walk the dog!

10 What advice would you give anyone wanting to start or progress a career in publishing?

To start: pick a function you are interested in or passionate about, whether editorial, design, administration, sales, production, finance, marketing, distribution, IT etc. Get qualified in that function then get work experience in it and apply for entry jobs. Or: just start a publishing company, join the IPG and figure it out! To progress: remember that this is a creative industry based on relationships. Never burn bridges with people in publishing. You might be reporting to them next year!

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