Editorial: The People Who Make This Happen

Meet the staff at Gulfshore Life magazine

BY November 29, 2017

As we proudly present this December issue, I—just as proudly—would like to acquaint you with the editors and art people who created it. Their names and titles are presented in small type on p. 30, but let me tell you that their contributions are large, indeed. And it’s not just me saying this: We won 13 awards at the Florida Magazine Association’s annual event (this year held in Naples), including Magazine of the Year for 2017. So, drum roll, here are quick takes on my colleagues who made this happen.

Cayla Childs, Senior Editor

She’s the go-to person for meticulous copy editing and establishing a system of serious deadlines (the Cayla Rules). But, she says, her most fulfilling experience so far was a writing one. In reporting on the challenges facing adults with autism in Collier County, she told a lot of the story through her family experience with her brother Griffin. It was a compellingly powerful story—beautifully crafted, full of intelligence and insight, and so moving about her family’s love and support for her older brother. It was recirculated by national advocacy organization Autism Speaks.

Justin Paprocki, Senior Editor

Editor and writer, Justin’s our social media and online presence whiz, too, having a lot to do with moving those numbers on up. In one of his finest stories for the magazine, he spent a season with the Naples High School football team and gave us revealing insight on why it’s such a successful program. His biggest thrills here? Doing the tree pose on a paddleboard while doing a yoga piece for us. And, he says, getting up close and personal with a gator while writing a story about gator trappers. Daring? Yes. But we’re keeping a close eye on him.

Jennifer Reed, Senior Writer

What speaks more than saying she won two first-place FMA awards this year—one for in-depth reporting on Dunbar, the other for a service feature on retirement? Jennifer’s a relentless reporter, incisive thinker and fine writer turned loose to help us understand social challenges in our community. She says she was never invested in a story more than in exploring the reasons behind the violence and diminished hope in the Dunbar community. “And never as hopeful that my reporting might make a difference,” she adds. It did, in fact, become a key reference point for those seeking to improve life for Dunbar residents.

Jesse Adams, Creative Director

He’s the force behind the beautiful layouts and strong covers that won us the best overall design award in the FMA competition. He brings a lot of creative thinking, a keen eye and great taste to his work and has built a stable of outstanding photographers and illustrators to carry out his plans. His most memorable moment? Having to sign a “death waiver” from Lee County for permission to shoot from the atop an elevator shaft high above Fenway South in Fort Myers. “We ended up with a one-of-a-kind photo and a great view of the game,” he notes. Never one to settle for anything but the best.

Matthew Kritis, Deputy Art Director

Having designed for Elie Tahari in New York and served as conceptual color designer for Chico’s, guess what? Yes, he’s the creative hand behind our oh-so-chic fashion pages. It’s so much fun watching him put his cool, contemporary ideas into play. He says his most memorable moment with us was shooting this year’s spring fashion feature at the Gasparilla Inn & Club. Coincidentally, former First Lady Barbara Bush and her secret service agents were on the grounds, and, Matthew says, “I had to be very careful not to get them into any of our shots. Luckily, we could spot them because of their Hawaiian shirts, dark sunglasses and ear pieces.” Good eye, Matthew, as ever.

Tarra Wood, Graphic Designer

So quiet, so good, she dresses up the features in the front and back of the magazine with imagination and class. On her own time, she paints and creates artworks in her home studio. These skills paid off beautifully for us when she decorated our “Best Of” feature in May with some charming illustrations of her own.

Brianne Hayden, Assistant Art Director

Unflappable and strikingly fast in turning work around, she does most of her designing for other publications in the company (Gulfshore Business and Naples Health, among others). But she’s there for us when we need her, with her very creative visual sense and the flexibility to keep going for better and better effects.

So there’s our dream team, at once proud of our recent honors and knowing that we’re only as good as our next issue. We hope you’ll like it as much as we enjoy creating it for you.