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Natural Awakenings Fairfield & Southern Litchfield Counties

Letter From Publisher November 2020

Oct 29, 2020 10:08AM ● By Erica Mills

Hello! I am unexpectedly back for one more visit with you all before I turn over the reins of the magazine to an accomplished, experienced successor! I’m sure you will be excited to get to know and work with the new publisher in the coming years. 

I am finding myself overcome with gratitude and joy for the blessings received during my time as publisher of Natural Awakenings. No blessing was greater than the friendships and relationships formed along the way. This letter in the November edition seems the perfect time to express my gratitude, affection and appreciation for the incredible team I have worked with over the years. These folks ply their crafts behind the scenes, so you don’t necessarily know them... but every time you told me you liked something about the magazine, you were complimenting their work as much as mine. I’d like to give them their public due here. In no particular order:

Erica Mills has been my right hand (and at times my left also!) since the start of my journey with Natural Awakenings; she has worked on this edition longer than any other team member, including me. You may not know who she is, but she knows many of you! She has created countless beautiful article spreads, designed some of your ads, cropped/lightened/improved your photos, found lovely pictures to accompany your articles. She may have contacted you about a calendar listing; she manages the website and calendar, tracking and organizing the flow of tons of information to and from the digital and printed pages of the magazine. Trusted colleague, smart and organized designer, dear friend... she has been integral both to the success of this publication and my sanity!

Tom Cossuto is the principal of Man in Motion, our crackerjack distribution company, my good friend and another right hand (really, how many did I have?!)! He’s the one making sure the magazines get where they’re supposed to be, on time and looking good. He and his team have been tremendous partners over the years, adding and changing distribution locations, keeping an eye on returns so we could redistribute as needed, bringing extra copies wherever they were meant to go and being proactive with solutions to challenges. It has been fun to work with Tom and collaborate on innovative programs that benefited the whole community. His work is critical to the success of the magazine and he is simply the best at what he does. 

Kate Fellows is our ace ad designer, a cheerful, talented and oh-so quick creator of beautiful and engaging ads for many of our clients over the years. She reminded me recently that she started with the magazine just when I did; those seven plus years went by so fast! A spiritual practitioner herself, Kate  understands the often-esoteric concepts our clients are trying to communicate; she has a great knack for interpreting and recreating the words as eye-catching images and text. It was always enjoyable to work with her and share creative ideas. A night owl like Erica and me, it was not unusual for the three of us to
be emailing each other at midnight during a deadline week. We formed an effective and fun triad!

We had several top-notch editorial team members over the years, starting with Ariana Rawls Fine, who I interviewed by phone while I was at my Natural Awakenings’ training over seven years ago. Michelle Bense stepped in to support Ariana when things started getting bigger and busier, and in 2019 Patricia Staino took over as Managing Editor for both this edition and the Hartford franchise as well. Each one of them brought stellar editorial know-how to the table, but their contributions went beyond technical skill. Whether it was coming up with article ideas for others to write and coaching the contributors or conceiving/authoring ambitious articles themselves, each became an integral part of the editorial vision of this community publication. Their interviews and interests livened up the pages, sparking great energy. It was terrific collaborating with them over the years, brainstorming issue/article ideas, outlining editorial plans, and, of course, pulling each issue together. I am in awe of their skills and dedication to the craft of writing. Working with them has made me a better writer and editor. 

Over the years many other team members contributed their skills, knowledge and energy to this community publication. Each made our collective work better, sprinkling their personal magic dust on the endeavor, spreading the word and helping it grow. I was and am so blessed to have had the opportunity to serve the community with such a dynamic and dedicated team. It was a true honor and privilege to work with them all and represent them in the community.

With a grateful heart, I wish you and each of them abundance in all ways during the coming season and the new year to come.

In love and light,


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