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Each month, this space will highlight the unique career path and insights of an SSP member. We hope that these brief profiles provide guidance to our early career members and those site visitors interested in the broad spectrum of scholarly communications opportunities. Please contact Phil Wallas with any questions or suggestions for future profiles.

PROFESSIONAL PROFILES:

Anna Jester

Director of Sales & Marketing, eJournalPress

Anna JesterPlease tell us a bit about yourself (e.g. hometown, current locale, course of study).

I transplanted to Maryland in 2010, following slightly more than a decade enjoying Lawrence, KS. Several of my formative years were spent in Alaska, Idaho, and Washington State. Wanderlust, often compounded with the opportunity to evangelize regarding content management in scholarly publishing, consistently reminds me that people, and journals, frequently share more similarities than differences.

Describe some of your current responsibilities, and what type of organization you belong to.

I am the Director of Sales & Marketing at eJournalPress, a software company providing highly customizable manuscript submission and peer review, production tracking, and billing systems. In this role, I constantly engage in dialogue about functionality and workflows, provide demonstrations and presentations, and attend or exhibit at industry meetings. Throughout the year I unvaryingly learn about new technologies and publishing industry initiatives, and often find myself in discussions about project plans, timelines, and managing change. I also serve as a Co-Chair of the SSP Membership Committee, as a member of the International Society of Managing and Technical Editors (ISMTE) Poster Committee, as the Science Editor Technology/e-Publishing Section Editor, and on the Council of Science Editors (CSE) Board of Directors.

What was your first scholarly publishing role? How did you get that job? What path led to your current position?

My career in publishing began in 2000 at Allen Press, Inc., as an SGML Specialist in the Online Publishing division. It was in this role I formed strong opinions about DTDs, figure resolution, markup languages, and file size. Later, I moved to the Online Manuscript Submission and Peer Review division, before spending three years as the Product Manager for Online Publishing and Online Manuscript Submission and Peer Review products. Each of these experiences helped prepare me for my current role, giving me real-world knowledge of how peer review, production, and online publishing systems interact with journal staff and each other.

If there was a pivotal moment or key person in your career development, please describe briefly.

I feel blessed to have been mentored by multiple knowledgeable and hilarious people with exceedingly high standards. When mentors take a different job, move, or retire they may still be providing you with exactly what you need – even if that was to broaden your network. To this day I can still rely on the answer to, “What would Guy Dresser do in this situation?”

What tools, web sites and organizations do you find most valuable for your career development?

Attending sessions at industry meetings (SSP, CSE, ISMTE, STM, JATS-Con, the Emerging Trends Seminar, etc.) remains my preferred way to learn about what journals have done, plan to do, and may never agree to do again. People share things at meetings that would not remain after proofreading an email or blog post. I also read the Scholarly Kitchen blog and listen to the Marketplace and Dinner Party Download podcasts.

What advice would you give to people interested in a career in scholarly communications?

Embrace change and encourage your peers. Expect to learn something every day. Ask questions! What do you wish you could do with scholarly content? Many of our industry’s start-ups were created by people who wanted a tool that didn’t exist. And never be afraid to confirm the meaning of an acronym.

Watch a video interview with Anna Jester and other SSP members, as they answer the following question: What are the essential publishing skills for scholarly publishers?