Lessons learned

Home|Opinion|Editor's Column|Lessons learned

Next week, Steve and Susan Woody will head to Colorado to begin the next chapter of their lives — retirement. As one chapter ends, it’s fun to reflect on what has occurred and what I’ve learned.

I’ve worked with the Woodys now for several years, since 2011. When they first moved to Sheridan and started work at The Sheridan Press, I was a reporter busy covering city government, the courts and more. I loved what I did, but decided to toss my name in the hat when the editor position came open. I remember my interview with Steve for the position. One question, in particular, stuck with me and it’s one I like to ask job applicants now, too. What are you reading?

The answer, at the time, was a list of magazine titles and one book, “In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler’s Berlin.” The question caught me off guard, though. The answer, while interesting, isn’t as important as whether the applicant actually has an answer. 

I’ve learned a lot in my time working with the Woodys. Steve taught me how to manage staff, juggle human resource issues and, of course, promote what we do here at The Press. Steve has consistently championed the work done by our staff. I think all of his hard work has also helped us earn the recent honor of being nominated for the Sheridan County Chamber of Commerce’s Awards of Excellence in the large business category. 

In addition to championing the cause of The Press, he also champions causes throughout the community. He has used his column over the years to promote any number of events and organizations in the community. He knew that his column had clout and could tout area happenings that perhaps didn’t fit in the regular news of the day.

Steve also emphasized to me the value of relationships in the community. As I recently spoke with a friend about Steve’s departure, the woman remarked that Steve always made the time to meet with people. He’d often have lunch, grab an iced tea or take on a game of golf with both new and old connections. 

Susan’s lessons often were less direct. She taught by example, more than any other way. She has a backbone with the strength of steel. She even passed on to me a sign that reads, “To avoid criticism, say nothing, do nothing and be nothing.” When you work in a business as public as ours, you often must be ready and willing to take the heat. Avoiding criticism is nearly impossible.

As the Woodys move into retirement and I move into the publisher role, I know I have big shoes to fill. The impact of the Woodys on both The Press and the community will prove long lasting. 

Thank you, Steve and Susan. I wish you well in your next adventure.

By |November 10th, 2017|

About the Author:

Kristen Czaban joined The Sheridan Press staff in 2008 and covered beats including local government, cops and courts and the energy industry. In 2012, she was promoted and now serves as the managing editor for The Press. Czaban has a journalism degree from Northwestern University.

READER COMMENTS