No Cure for This

I let out a silent sigh and exhaled slowly so the sound was imperceptible to the caller on the phone. It was her again and she was calling once more to let me know she’d be late. This used to happen occasionally but it had turned into a monthly, and now almost weekly, occurrence. And she always used the same excuse.  I took a long look out the window. Yes, our vice president Tara Taffera was in a situation that no drug, alcohol or gambling rehab was going to cure. In fact, it might not be curable at all. What was I going to do with her?

Now before I go further and get you too worried, let me explain.  Tara Taffera is a 16-year veteran of Key Communications Inc. and is a joy and treasure to work with. She serves as editor and publisher of our Door & Window Market (DWM) magazine, a magazine she helped start nearly 15 years ago and serves as editorial director role for our other magazines. But Tara suffers from a major affliction: that of achievement.  In fact, some might say she is a “classic OVER-achiever.” She is a noted authority on the fenestration industry and has even been interviewed by the New York Times and quoted by the Wall Street Journal. She is also the winner of a number of awards from groups such as the American Society of Business Press Editors and American Business Media. In fact, we have an awards area in our office, and a good many of them belong to Tara.

In our industry of business-to-business publishing, the top honor you can receive is called the Neal Award. To win a Neal, your work is judged by at least three different panels of judges. It is a very rare honor. In 2009, Tara’s story “Millions Spent, Nothing Gained” in USGlass magazine was a finalist in the Best Single Article category–the Neal equivalent of “Best Picture.” So when I tell you Tara is a high achiever, you can see why.

Tara is too humble to be proud of all her accolades and awards thus far. But I know she, together with her husband Cory, are proudest of their three most important productions: Isabella, 13, Sophia, 10, and Gianna, 6. I have so enjoyed watching Tara grow professionally as well as watching these girls grow up that I can’t even describe how enjoyable it’s been. As you can see below, they all bear a strong resemblance to their mom and I used to get such a kick when they would follow Mom around the office in a row just like the human equivalent of “Make Way for Ducklings.”

tarandgirls

The Taffera female contingent of over-achievers: (clockwise from top center): Tara, Isabella, Gianna and Sophia.

And they have followed in their Mom’s examples in other ways too. Because I know when Tara is on the phone telling me she might be a little late on this morning or that, it’s because one of her daughters is getting another award. These girls are more highly decorated than General Norman Schwarzkopf was when he retired. They get awards for academics, citizenship, sports and music. If there was an award for getting awards they’d get that, too.

I never mind it. I am so proud of them (and I just got to watch them grow up) that I can’t imagine the sense of pride their parents feel.

And I get just as much pride in being able to tell you that just today it was announced that Tara is a finalist in this year’s Neal Award in the Best Webcast category for our DWM newscast.  The monthly newscasts you see for DWM, as well as for our USGlass, AGRR and Window Film magazines, require quite a bit of time, effort and planning to bring them to you.

I am especially delighted to see us nominated in this category because the newscasts are a joint effort between the editorial department Tara leads and our digital services department, headed by our vice president Holly Biller. Tara, Holly and especially our video producer Christopher Bunn deserve huge congratulations for the honor.

So this time instead of telling me she will be a bit late so she can go watch one of her daughters receive an award, I get to tell Tara and Chris that they will be off for a day … to go to New York City ….  for the Neal Awards Ceremony.  Congratulations.

 

 

6 Responses to “No Cure for This”

  1. Congratulations to your great team! What a fun blog entry Debra.

  2. Deb Levy says:

    Thanks Cheryl. We greatly appreciate your good wishes.

  3. What a great tribute to a wonderful woman inside and out. I’ve so enjoyed working with Tara over the years and admire her integrity. I’m really pulling for her to win! Good luck to the entire team!

  4. Mark Imbrock says:

    CONGRATS!! To a very deserving team. Always a pleasure to be around and work with. I would expect nothing less from Tara.

  5. OMG Deb – you had me feverishly clicking on the READ MORE on this one and it did NOT sound good. Now, that I have calmed down, I am so happy for Tara and her team! Those webcasts are extremely well done and accolades are definitely in order – I sure hope they win, but even if they do not, this is a great honor and well deserved!

  6. Deb Levy says:

    Thanks Jim, Mark and Angela for your nice comments. I have shared them with Tara as well.

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