This month’s edition of the Minnesota Women’s Press (MWP) marks not just the 30th anniversary of the monthly feminist publication, but also that of the oldest, continuous women’s publication of its kind in the country, say its two top executives.
Co-publisher Kathy Magnuson said the seven-employee publication is profitable, having survived sometimes-shaky early years. Advertisers and readers have stuck with MWP.
“We tell women’s stories that create community and create change,” she said. “That has allowed us to be profitable [through advertising sales]. We put our mission first. It gave us credibility. A lot of businesses want to reach the women’s market. Women make major family decisions about health care, investments, family cars, technology. A lot of companies are after this market.”
Topics covered range from women’s health and women’s rights to sex trafficking, domestic abuse and sexual abuse in the military. There are also fun, interesting profiles and features, including about female artists.
“Giving women that voice can be a powerful tool to stimulate awareness and motivate action,” said co-publisher Norma Smith Olson. “MWP brings women together by showcasing their opinions, supporting their endeavors and celebrating their successes.”
The monthly print and online magazine (www.womenspress.com) boasts 95,000 readers and is distributed free at more than 500 locations throughout the Twin Cities area.
“We‘ve always believed that women want to read more than diet tips, recipes, fashion or how to get the man of their dreams,” Magnuson said. “For example, there have been a lot of stories about [demonstrations at] Mall of America and the Black Lives Matter movement. We recently had a story about a leader of Black Lives Matter, and what it’s like to be a mother of two black sons. I haven’t seen that kind of story told as much.”
McFarland to merge with ad agency GdB
Teresa McFarland, a 25-year public relations veteran, is taking her small but effective shop, McFarland Communications, to the Minneapolis ad agency Gabriel deGrood Bendt (GdB). She will be president of the yet-to-be named PR unit.
“As marketing keeps getting more complex, our clients are looking for fresh ways to keep it simple,” said GdB CEO Tom Gabriel. “We’re certainly not the first to combine disciplines, but what makes this special is our long history of successes together.”
Terms of the acquisition, which becomes effective May 1, were not disclosed. Billings for the McFarland group exceed $1 million a year, placing it in the Twin Cities’ top 25 PR firms.
McFarland is no stranger to high-profile assignments, having worked for two governors, a congressman, the Mall of America and as communications director for the host committee of the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul. Her firm recently did work for the city of Minneapolis’ Nicollet Mall renovation and the Downtown East Commons project.
GdB, which was acquired earlier this year by Clear Night Group, a national marketing services company, has a client list that includes Summit Brewing, Anytime Fitness and Crystal Farms.
Report: Pay raise would help airport workers, local economy
A study called “Waiting for Takeoff,” produced last week by the Center for Popular Democracy, underscores the ambitions of Ibrahim Mohamed, the contract worker at the airport who recently became the first East African immigrant appointed to the Metropolitan Airports Commission.
Mohamed has pledged to help low-paid but critical airport workers, who are disproportionately immigrants and minorities, increase their wages to $15 an hour. A lot of these jobs of tending to planes and passengers once were done by higher-paid airline employees, many of whom have been replaced by on-call workers for contractors.
“Raising wages to the $15 … would mean over $30 million in additional wages for East African workers, and infuse even more into our local economy via local spending and taxes,” report author Eden Yosief, a research fellow with the New York-based Center for Popular Democracy, said last week.
“Putting more money in the pockets of workers will strengthen our community, and will help to create an environment where small local businesses can thrive,” said Russom Solomon, board member of the West Bank Business Association.
Sofia Fund makes inaugural investment
Sofia Fund, the female-led investment fund that announced a $3.9 million investment kitty in January, has made its first investment, part of $880,000 raised by Kidizen, a women-founded company that has created a mobile-and-online marketplace for used children’s high-end clothes and accessories.
Sofia Fund also will get Kidizen’s first outside board seat.
CEO Cathy Connett said Sofia Fund over the past two months has received more than 20 applications from women-run companies.
Kidizen was co-founded by entrepreneurial moms Mary Fallon and Dori Graff, who thought that, because kids grow out of things so quickly, there would be room for their version of a high-tech bazaar of “pre-loved” kids apparel, serving cost-conscious parents.
“Given the advice and guidance we’ve already received from Sofia’s experienced advisers, we are confident that this partnership will yield great results,” Graff said.
Sofia Fund focuses on early stage growth companies that are women-led and operate principally in information technology, clean technology, health and wellness, and business products and services.