Creative Leadership: Katie Stewart connects people and ideas.
- Katie Stewart is the creative director of locally-owned and run magazine SADMAG. This magazine prides itself in being welcomed and loved by the growing arts, alternative-indie, and large queer community. The magazine also features local business owners and their unique crafts. Katie talks to us about how she finds inspirations for each issue and how she feels that an important and essential part of running a successful business is having the ability to coordinate, strategize, and communicate ideas with your team.
How do you find inspiration for each issue?
- Everything around me, events that I read about, things I hear on the radio, interesting people, music that other people introduce me to, I’ve always had a keen eye of what I think would fit well.
What skills would say would be important when you’re going into a creative field?
- In my role, you have to be a really really good communicator. And you also have to be adventurous, I feel like I take a lot of risks and because I still maintain a sense of professionalism with people I work with and I’m considerate of their needs. I listen to people and what they want to do, and I feel like we’ve opened our doors to a lot of possibilities that we might not have had otherwise. For a magazine job specifically, communication is definitely at the top. You need to communicate with people, artists, writers, and your printers.
Do you work your issues around themes?
- Yes they’re very thematic. That’s one of the strong points it really helps our editorial team decide what is appropriate to put in the issue and what isn’t. It gives us a vision and a direction and its our job to make it a unified magazine.
Does the magazine accept submissions?
- Absolutely! We have a disposable camera project, and we just gave a band a disposable camera for them to take on tour, and it provide an authentic behind-the scenes look. People really want to be a part of it when they see it, and see how nice it is.
Do you think that you give the employees of SADMAG freerange, in the way of sharing ideas for upcoming issues and what to contribute to the magazine?
- That is the strongest feature. We have a really talented team, and they tap into their network of people they know of artists, writers, and people who are going interesting things in the city. The magazine in its essence is a huge collaborative project. I don’t consider the team at SADMAG my employees, but more my colleagues. When you read the magazine, it is easy to gather that you’re really trying to showcase arts and alternative communities.
- We really value queer content and the things in Vancouver that are simmering below the surface that people don’t really know about. That is why we use our website as an outlet to talk about local events and art shows.
How do you connect to local business owners?
- Let’s say for example someone sends me a link of a distillery that opened up in East Vancouver, I’ll first do a web research on them and then usually I either cold call them or e-mail them and suggest meeting for a beer and talk about what they’re doing. Because I do a lot of the scouting and screening I get to meet a lot of interesting people, and we’re just talking and figuring out how it could work in a magazine. It all goes back to communication.
Do you feel that the Vancouver arts community is very welcoming when you suggest featuring them in the magazine?
- They’re great! I feel that Vancouver has a very tight knit community and I feel that our arts community is super receptive. We want to build Vancouver’s culture in the same way, and they’re very open to collaborate.
This is a guest post by Maxime Favreau. @maximfav
Photo by Lisa Monique.