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Marlissa Briggett: More than a pretty smile (and yummy baked goods!)

If you have the pleasure of knowing Marlissa, you know her kindness knows no bounds. Whether it’s a friendly smile, a hand-written card, or a plate full of baked goods, Marlissa always has something to offer. You may know her as the face behind the local magazine, South Coast Almanac, or as a fervent member of Groundwork, attending as many community events as possible. But who Marlissa is goes far beyond her magazine and her baked goods: she has had a long, successful career as a lawyer (currently doing employment law) and is a passionate reader, writer, and mother, to name just a few of her roles. Read on to find out more about Marlissa and what makes running a print magazine so much fun (and so challenging!)

What’s your profession?

I’m the publisher of South Coast Almanac. I’m also of counsel to a law firm where I practice employment law. (It’s the practical thing that subsidizes the impractical thing)

Describe a typical work day for you.

The fun part is that there is no typical workday. I may be up at dawn to watch cold-water swimmers doing their thing or at a restaurant interviewing a chef on their favorite dish. Those are the fun parts of the day. But in other parts of the day, I’m doing way more boring stuff: sending out invoices (or paying them), working with excel spreadsheets trying to figure out our cash flow, managing the subscription list or reviewing contracts for legal clients. The only thing typical is that I’m always on the lookout for great stories that we can share in the magazine.

What’s the biggest challenge you face at your job?

Publishing a print magazine is a constant challenge now. It’s hard to compete with so many outlets for advertising revenue, especially with Facebook and Google dominating such a large share of it. We know that our readers trust the brands inside our magazine and that it leads to so much goodwill but we can’t point to the easy metrics that digital ads can – like click throughs. Sadly, most people – though we ask them to –  won’t say, “I saw your ad in South Coast Almanac”. We have started to offer digital advertising for those of our clients who want it. But we still believe print advertising to an engaged niche audience is your best bet (well, research shows that TV ads outperform magazine ads, but who can afford TV ads? TV ads are the only kind that outperform magazine ads.)

Do you have a morning routine?


What are your favorite productivity tips or hacks?

Groundwork is my favorite productivity tip. I always get more done on the days I go into Groundwork.

What do you listen to during the day?

I don’t listen to things unless I’m driving. If I’m in the car, I listen to podcasts. Recently, I’ve been listening to Smartless, Talking Home Renovations with the House Maven (a local architect who is set to become a Groundwork member!), This American Life, High Value Publishing and News in Slow French (in my long term goal to learn the dang language – since high school.)

How do you benefit from using a coworking space?

It’s where I am most productive (see above). It’s also my story incubator because I ask around about what people are working on. In the most recent issue, I interviewed 2 GW members for the article about cold-water swimming and we featured Jason and his mobile gym because that’s just such a cool thing. 

What’s in your digital toolbox?


What’s the best part of your day?

If I’m writing, that’s my favorite part of the day.

What (or who) inspires you?

That’s really too hard to answer. So much inspires me. Right now, those cold water swimmers are inspiring me.