Addy Indy beginning a new era

MIDDLEBURY — And so an era ends. After 31 years at the Addison Independent, 28 of which she served as advertising manager, Jane Spencer will bid adieu at the end of this week and take on a newly created role as library director of the Bixby Library in Vergennes.
“We’ve been planning for the transition for the past month or more,” said Addison Independent publisher Angelo Lynn, “and we have things pretty well lined up, but right now, during these last few days, there is a collective sigh going around the office. We’re all going to miss her; and I’m going to miss her. Jane and I have worked together for the past 27 years, and she’s been as steady as a rock.
“She’s pretty much run the ad department, and run it well, on her own,” Lynn continued. “She has a great sense of community and the two of us have always been on the same page in terms of the separation between news and advertising with a good balance between the two. But, mainly, we’ll all just miss her presence. We’ve spent a lot of hours together each week of the year, year after year … it’s always hard to say goodbye.”
Spencer started at the Addison Independent as a part-time advertising sales representative in 1980 under owner Gordon Mills. The advertising manager at that time was Susan Shulz, and three years later — after becoming a full-time sales representative and after Shultz had become assistant publisher, Spencer took on the job as manager.
A former high school English teacher at Milton High School and later Mount Abraham Union High School, Spencer had taken a break from teaching for the birth of her daughter, Ella, and was back in the marketplace for part-time work when the position opened.
“I had always liked the paper and thought it served a good role in the community,” Spencer said of her first impressions of joining the newspaper. “Then I really liked working with the people here, and going out each day to help businesses promote themselves … It’s all about helping our customers thrive, and I loved being on the inside with those businesses, learning about what they do … It’s been a privilege to work with so many area businesses and organizations and to help them accomplish their goals.”
Spencer noted that not only was the work satisfying, but that it was also stimulating to be “part of an organization that put out a great product week after week, and it is a really great product, to serve the county and the business community … It also made you feel very professional to be working with a great group of people to make the paper better and who wanted it to be an excellent product … It’s been exciting.”
As she begins her job at the Bixby Library next Monday, Aug. 29, she had previously summed up her feelings about the upcoming transition in a previous story.
“It’s been a lot more than a job to me,” she said a few weeks ago. “I love the Addison Independent. I love how it serves the community. I love the customers, the clients that I work with. And quite honestly, I love the people here. But the Bixby presented some new challenges for me, and I thought there was a tremendous amount I could learn, as well as contribute. It was that combination of things that really enticed me.”
Taking over the role of advertising manager for the Addison Independent is Elisa Fitzgerald, a Lincoln resident and former advertising manager and publisher of “Vermont Magazine.” She has most recently worked for the past five years with Hearst Television — WPTZ (Channel 5) in advertising sales, including managing sponsorships of community events and venues, such as the Burlington Discover Jazz Festival. That stint mirrored an advertising sales position held in the New Haven, Conn., market in the late 1980s, which was a follow-up to a short stint she served as broadcast division administrator for Price Communications Corp., a New York City-based company that owned 10 television and 15 radio stations, a legal journal and outdoor advertising. In the early 1980s, she worked for six years as the executive editor for Tandem Press Publishers in Tannersville, Pa., a publisher of books and education programs, and which led her to a trip to China in 1982 for an early exhibition of Western books.
A resident of Lincoln since 1995, Fitzgerald had joined the staff of “Vermont Magazine” in 1994 under then owner/publisher David Sleeper as advertising manager and held that position until becoming associate publisher in 1999 to 2001. Sleeper promoted her to publisher in 2001, a post she held under new management for the following year. Following that position, she served as executive director of the Burlington Discover Jazz Festival for a year.
She first came to Vermont as a high school student at Burke Mountain Academy, and continued her studies at Yale University, graduating with a B.A. cum laude with distinction in American Studies and Film, along with a major in English.
“Elisa brings a lot of energy and new experience to the Addison Independent,” Lynn said, adding that the goal will be to “use Elisa’s skill set and talent to continue to make the newspaper the best it can be and to serve our advertisers in the most creative and effective ways we can.”
Fitzgerald, who started work this week, said she was eager to work for the paper and with the community.
“I’m looking forward to working with our area’s business owners whom I’ve grown to respect and depend upon as a resident of Lincoln since ’95,” she said, “ and I’m delighted to be on the Addy Indy team. I’m a great fan of the paper, which represents and serves our communities with meaningful integrity.”

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