My Mentor: Sarah Bravo on Sally O'Sullivan
'She's glamorous and a legend, but still knows how to touch the nerve endings'
Monday 30 October 2006
Sally and I met in 1992, when she was editing Good Housekeeping. When I arrived, she had just taken the circulation over 500,000, so she was very much a legend.
I did a work placement at the magazine, which ended up leading to a job in the beauty department. Sally's PA introduced us and I remember thinking, "Yikes!", and being really terrified of her.
Sally was always encouraging me to take on more. That's one of the things she's really good at - working people hard and getting the most out of them. She threw me in at the deep end.
After three years, Sally left GH and took me with her to IPC, where she made me her deputy. We launched 25 Beautiful Homes, and then came up with Living Etc.
The thing about Sally is that she is this glamorous legend of an editor, but she still knows how to touch the nerve endings. That's why she has been so successful. She understands that the most important part of a magazine is the reader, and she has a can-do attitude, which she instilled in me.
She also taught me to trust my gut instinct. If something is niggling you at the 11th hour, don't think it's going to get better when it's printed.
We're now together at August Media, producing client magazines for large companies such as Ikea. Everything she taught me still applies to these magazines. If the reader doesn't engage with the magazine in the first three seconds, you lose them as a customer.
Sally is still spotting potential in young people. I think she enjoys passing on her knowledge.
Sarah Bravo is editorial director of the customer-magazine publishers August Media, of which Sally O'Sullivan is a non-executive director
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