O

ver the last 16 years, Karen Tellalian served Lifestyle Magazine as Owner and Editor in Chief. After joining in March 2005, she helped transform the magazine into what it is today. As she enters a new season, we asked Karen to give us an insider’s view of her time with Lifestyle. On behalf of Lifestyle Magazine and its readers, thank you, Karen!

What have you loved most about your time with Lifestyle Magazine?

Oh, my, there are so many things. If I had to pick one, it would have to be the relationships I was able to form in the community, an opportunity I would not have been afforded otherwise. I’ve met some wonderful people, some brilliant business leaders, and was able to surround myself with some incredibly creative and talented people. 

What is an accomplishment with Lifestyle Magazine that you’re most proud of?

One accomplishment that comes to mind was being able to showcase the very best our community has to offer. I always felt proud when people would contact us saying they wished their town had something like Lifestyle.  

Is there a particular moment or article that stands out the most to you?

There are many moments, it’s hard to pick just one. I might say when one of our contributing photographers went to Haiti to help rebuild after the earthquake. The story was heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time, and the photos of the children’s faces will forever be etched in my mind. Other standout stories include the many stories we featured on the various religions and cultures found where we call home. We did our best to increase knowledge and acceptance of those who were different from us. 

How has Lifestyle supported the community of Visalia?

In addition to sponsoring many events, we were always happy to give some ink to a number of amazing nonprofits found here, organizations often not able to pay for advertising or have a media to share their stories.

Was there anything that surprised you during your time at Lifestyle?

Yes. Putting well-written, interesting stories together with stunning photography is a lot of work. Many times, I made the reference about the magazine being a lot like a fashion model; you see the beautiful finished product but have no idea what it took to get it to look so good. 

What was the most challenging part of working on Lifestyle?

Making sure that we kept to our vision, to not let anything pull us off target. Not even money. There were times, often tough times, when we would reject an ad because it did not meet our standard. I knew it was the right thing to do long-term, but I still felt the pain of the short-term decision. Also, rarely being able to take a vacation. The last week-long vacation I took was in September 2013. 

What will you miss most about the magazine?

Reading your question just now made me tear up. This might be harder than I thought. I’ll certainly miss the staff and all of the people I was fortunate enough to work with. I’ll also miss the adrenaline rush when an issue landed in mailboxes. Every. Single. Time. Not sure I’ll ever be able to match that feeling.

What has been the biggest change about the magazine from the time you began till now?

We had a few redesigns over the years, but one of the first and biggest changes was to develop a team of great writers. I knew the content would keep the magazine fresh and in turn, be the economic driver. Having different voices, tone and tenor of the stories kept it interesting.

What was your motivation behind your work at Lifestyle?

Giving the residents an even greater sense of pride in their community. 

What is next for you in your work? What are you most looking forward to?

I always thought I’d be sitting on a beach at this stage in my life, watching a beautiful sunset with my precious grandchildren on my lap. Instead, I recently accepted a position at Kaweah Health as the Director of Marketing and Communications in the middle of a pandemic and am working harder than ever. I began my career in marketing at Kaweah Health, and it has felt like a homecoming to me to be able to return. So far, I’ve been able to help with the rebrand of Kaweah Delta into Kaweah Health and have several other exciting initiatives on the horizon. 

A Note from Karen :

My readers were the ones who made Lifestyle Magazine a tremendous success,  and you will forever be in my heart. I hope you will continue to be excited about every issue, looking forward to its arrival in the mailbox and a little irritated if it occasionally arrives a day late. Thank you for allowing me into your homes and businesses every month and to work at something I truly loved.