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Publisher’s letter: Open door policy

She was only two years old when I left her behind. Left all of them, really. Seven, five, four and two. But it was the baby that hurt me the most, because she was still a baby in my mind. And I wasn’t sure I was doing the right thing. What if it was the wrong thing? How could one tell if it was right or wrong?

Sometimes you have to take a chance.

Ashley Sexton Gordon. Photo by Jeannie Frey Rhodes.

So I took a chance, and I walked through the open door. Traded sneakers for heels, workout gear for a work wardrobe, and I accepted the job of editor at inRegister magazine. That was 10 years ago this month. As a longtime freelance writer, I knew the ins and outs of the publishing industry, but I had never taken the helm of such a longstanding and well-respected magazine before. It could be a wonderful adventure or a colossal, public fail. I really don’t like failing in public. So I worked long hours and poured my heart and soul into creating a publication that the community would not only want to read but would want to be part of. A reflection of the very best of Baton Rouge.

I’ve worked with amazing people within my company and talented folks who have contributed to the magazine over the years. But it is the people of our community—the inspiring men and women who’ve shared their stories on these pages—that have made it all worthwhile. I absolutely love interviewing others and writing their stories. It’s been a pleasure.

But I’m moving on to a new adventure, and this will be my last issue as editor of inRegister. Thankfully, we have an amazing editorial team in place that is dedicated to the publication. Kelli Bozeman, who has been serving as managing editor for six years, will be the new editor of the magazine. Kelli was previously the editor of House & Home magazine as well as Mississippi Magazine. She’s—hands down—one of the best writers I know, and I am thrilled that she’s accepted this position. Riley Bienvenu Bourgeois, our community writer, is stepping up to be the assistant editor. Riley has brought fresh insight and inspiring content to the publication over the last few years and will be a valuable asset in her new position. It makes leaving a lot easier knowing that it is in good hands.

Now my children aren’t babies anymore—17, 15, 14 and 12—and I can look back with clarity and know that going back to work was the right thing, not the wrong thing, to do. Don’t get me wrong, it was hard. It was hard to orchestrate the many dedicated, college-age sitters to pick up my children from school and help them with homework. It was hard to make dinner after working all day. It was hard to leave work at work and be present at home. It was hard to walk in heels.

But sometimes you have to take a chance and do the hard thing. And sometimes you have to walk through the door when it opens. I’m sure there’s a better philosophy on parenting and working and writing and knowing what is right. But I don’t know a better way to explain it. I just know that I’ve loved being a part of this publication for a decade, and I can’t wait to watch the next decade of this magazine unfold.

Thanks for joining me on this adventure. And cheers to the new team in place!