Villanova Alumni Discuss Careers in Publishing

Meghan Edwards

Four former Villanova students proved the power of Villanova degree during their panel discussing their personal success in their publishing careers and how you have the power to get there. 

Alumni CeCe Ryan ‘88, Publisher of People Magazine and Senior Vice President of the Meredith Corporation; Gary Urda ’86, Senior Vice President of Sales at Simon & Schuster; Bob Bender ’70, Vice President and Executive Editor of Simon & Schuster; and Kelly Moran ’19, publicist of MacMillan, specifically working with St. Martin’s Press were the panelists in the event that was a part of the Publishing Matters series on campus this fall and NovaNetwork — a set of career-development events that were featured throughout November.

The panel consisted of each alum detailing how they found themselves in the world of publishing, how they’ve grown from that point within their career, and how their Villanova degrees helped to get them there. It concluded with time for networking with the panelists. 

“I came into publishing by accident,” Bender said. Bender spoke about how his friend set him up with an interview out of college and without even truly knowing what editing was, he went for it and found his passion. The youngest panelist, Moran had a different experience. She interned four times with three different editorial companies across two countries during her time at Villanova. Her advice to current students and other job-searchers is “show that you want it, and you might just get it.” An idea that was emphasized throughout the panel was the expansiveness of publishing and the number of unspoken opportunities that exist within the field.

“Publishing is a business,” Urda said. “About 90% of publishing jobs aren’t editorial.” Urda was in the business school at Villanova and now controls the business aspects of Simon & Schuster. 

What Urda tried to instill in the audience is that if you love books and reading, whether you’re an English major or deep into the world of finance and accounting, you can be involved in publishing in some way, staying connected to your interests, while still making a living (a feat that can be difficult to imagine).  

Thinking about the future after Villanova is certainly daunting, but Ryan says it does not have to be. 

“Finding work should be an exciting process. It always works out in the end,” Ryan said. She emphasized the importance of building strong relationships with coworkers and peers to propel you in any profession, with publishing being no different. The panelists instilled that publishing is a viable profession, and no job-searcher should fear its collapse or inaccessibility. 

“Books have been around since Gutenberg, and they will be around for as long as I can imagine,” Bender said. The format may change, but publishing isn’t going anywhere.