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CHRIS KATTERJOHN Commentary: An old friend moves on

April 2, 2007

CHRIS KATTERJOHN Commentary An old friend moves on

It's difficult to say goodbye to an old friend.

Glenda Russell, publisher of IBJ sister publications Indiana Lawyer and Court and Commercial Record and head of our Senior Expos of Indiana division, is leaving our company for a new opportunity.

Glenda and I have worked together 22 years. We go way back, all the way to 1985 when IBJ Corp. purchased the newspaper she was working for, at that time known as The Indianapolis Commercial.

Glenda was general manager of the Commercial, a public-notice newspaper that was approaching its 100th anniversary. Her tiny, four-person operation became part of our company, which included IBJ and business papers in five other cities and a couple hundred employees.

It didn't take long for Glenda to spread her wings.

In 1990, she came up with the notion of starting a newspaper for Indiana attorneys. With the help of original Indiana Lawyer Editor Chris Banguis, Glenda got it off the ground and created a publication that has become a mustread in the legal community.

Along the way, she herself has become a strong voice and influential person in that community and made many friends, from up-and-coming attorneys to federal and Indiana Supreme Court judges.

She led the evolution of the Commercial into the Court & Commercial Record and directed that publication to record year after record year.

Because of her leadership at CCR, she became a board member and officer of the Association of Court & Commercial Newspapers, a national trade group, and of the Hoosier State Press Association.

Through those two organizations, she learned to network and lobby in the Indiana General Assembly on behalf of public-notice newspapers and to advocate for the public's right to know.

When we acquired a senior publication, we turned it over to Glenda, who expanded the franchise into the trade show business targeting seniors. We no longer own the publication, but the expos are going strong.

And even though Glenda didn't have a direct role in the operations of the Indianapolis Business Journal, as part of our management team she helped strategize and contributed ideas that helped shape IBJ and our entire operation.

An idea person who likes to think outside the box, Glenda did not succeed all the time. Sometimes she came up with ideas that just didn't work. But what idea person hasn't? You know what they say: If you don't fail sometimes, you're just not trying hard enough.

Glenda's greatest skill has always been in building relationships. An unusually high percentage of her business connections evolve into real friendships. I've never seen anything like it.

It says a lot about what kind of a person she is.

Glenda and I were business associates for many years before we became friends. What really brought us together on a personal level was our music, and I'd guess that was about 10 years ago.

We'd always talked about it-she sang at weddings and I played guitars and sang all the time, by myself and in bands. She finally got tired of talking about it one day and invited me down to her house in Greenwood for a little jam session.

She invited some other friends, too, and we had a big old night. By the end of the evening, we were amazed by each other's talents. The experience opened a whole new dimension in our relationship, and we started to become true friends. We've done a lot of jammin' since.

Over two-plus decades, we've spent a whole lot of time together and worked together under four different owners. We've seen just about everything. In our friendship, we've been there for each other through good times and bad.

Here at IBJ Media, we will miss Glenda and will do our best to keep her legacies alive and thriving. On a personal level, I will have lost a business associate but not a friend. Good luck, Glenda.
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