Soaking Up the Wisdom of the Industry at CIC

The inaugural Talent Development Scholarship Program from AEP, supported by Jim McVety of First Step Advisors, is intended to help professionals new to the educational resource community learn, grow, and network at one of the industry’s most important events. Winners receive a full pass to AEP’s Content in Context (CIC) conference, as well as guided networking provided by veteran AEP members. Before and after the CIC, scholarship winners will contribute articles to Educational Publishing.

Here, scholarship winner Loretta Chan, Marketing Director for Youth Communication, discusses her goals for attending the CIC, the unique authors and content her company develops, and what she hopes to learn from industry colleagues.

I’m honored to be chosen for the CIC Talent Development Scholarship and to contribute to the AEP blog.

Attending the CIC is one of many steps toward the growth of Youth Communication, an organization that I’ve been committed to for most of my life—previously, as a young writer in the 1990s and, currently, in my position as the marketing director.

Youth Communication is a nonprofit teen writing program and publisher based in New York City, founded in 1980.  We publish true stories by teens, developed in a rigorous writing program under the guidance of professional adult editors.

Teens are drawn to our stories because they address themes that they care about in an authentic voice while serving as models for clear writing. Most of the stories are by teens who are “marginalized” by reasons of race, poverty, immigrant status, growing up in foster care, or other reasons. They have special appeal to those audiences. Educators use our stories to understand and engage hard-to-reach teens while helping them improve their academic, social, and emotional skills.  (I’m proud to say that many of our publications have been finalists and winners in the AEP’s Distinguished Achievement Awards over the past decade.)

My goal is to find the most effective distribution channels for our stories and lessons. We have compelling content on just about any teen-related topic, and we’re ready to meet the right people who can help reach our audience of at-risk teens and the educators who serve them.

At the CIC I plan to soak up the wisdom of experienced professionals and to introduce Youth Communication to potential partners who have an interest in teen literacy, character building and social/emotional learning. We’re about to launch a revamped website that will include an online database of thousands of stories and accompanying lessons. I’m in search of advice on how we “sell” on the new website and how to make the most of the launch in Fall 2011.

Which tactics should I use to leverage our unique brand and design educator-friendly content?  I’m optimistic that the sessions at CIC will help me find the answers to my questions and get me up to speed on topics like the Common Core, the latest in product development, and innovative digital publishing strategies.

I look forward to sharing what I’ve learned from the CIC with the readers of the AEP blog!

(To learn more about Youth Communication, go to

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May 2011


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