Courtenay Hall - BELLA New York Magazine
I am the founder and Editor-in-Chief of BELLA New York Magazine and have been here since the inception six years ago.
I worked for several national magazines earlier in my career, but on the advertising sales side. I knew I loved magazines and as time went on I wanted to have a voice in the brand and content which made me start to think about the editorial side. After having three children, I decided the best way to try and do that was to start my own title. I saw a niche in the NYC market that wasn’t being filled so I decided to try and fill it.
There are always struggles in this business, whether you work at a major publishing company or a small company like BELLA. There are advertising dollar struggles, finding the right talent for the team to keep growing, as well as keeping a positive mindset when things get tough.
"So many times I have thought, “Why am I doing this?” because it gets really stressful trying to staying competitive in such a huge field of media."
But, what keeps me going is each time we do overcome an obstacle we only gain momentum… and it’s the best feeling in the world!
I realized this was the path I wanted to take when I went through a medical scare about seven years ago, and was on bed rest for a few weeks. It gave me a lot of time to think about what I wanted my life to look like from there. Being scared that your health may be in jeopardy puts things into perspective in a heartbeat!
I draw inspiration from so many places… God, my children, successful women who have paved the road ahead of me; Anna Wintour for being an absolute powerhouse in the magazine industry for so many years, it’s endless. There are a ton of advantages to working in in this industry, for me at least. I have always wanted to work in the celeb world, and being able to interview some of my favorites is really fun! You definitely meet great people in the industry, and there is always someone to learn and grow from. There’s so much opportunity everywhere! There are always disadvantages whatever industry you’re in… but if you love what you do, the advantages will hopefully outweigh anything else.
I have learned a lot over my almost 20 year career. First, you can never learn too much from working at the best publishing houses in New York, and seeing what makes them successful and learning the ropes from top talent. Learning is the key to growing, and should be something that never ends. With that said, there is truly nothing like being on your own, starting from nothing and bringing a brand to the market. It is a road not many take, because let’s be honest it is certainly not the easier path, but there is also nothing more gratifying than being able to do something many (including myself) never thought I could.
The best piece of career advice that I’ve ever received is to never give up! I have been lucky in my experiences, I really have never felt that I was being treated less fairly than anyone else and I am so thankful for that. But that doesn’t mean in any way that it doesn’t happen to strong, smart women every day. To readers - follow your heart and follow the opportunities that are presented to you. I have been given opportunities that I never realized would lead me down this path, but with an open mind and an open heart you can accomplish anything!