For Tina Constable ’87, there’s no such thing as an ordinary day on the job. As publisher of Crown Publishing Group, she’s had days that entailed having breakfast with former Federal Reserve chairman (and author) Alan Greenspan followed by lunch with Jersey rocker turned writer Jon Bon Jovi.
“I get paid to read and work with authors—what’s not to love?” asked Constable, who has worked with the likes of Barack Obama, Martha Stewart, Erik Larson, Deepak Chopra, Suze Orman, Suzanne Somers, and Jonathan Kozol, to name just a few.
Constable has found her calling at Crown, but as so many grads know, the road to professional happiness isn’t always easy.
When she first graduated from Colby, her love of Maine led her to pursue job opportunities in Portland. When none materialized, she decided to take a small break from the job search and set out on a cross-country adventure with two close friends from high school.
“It was the trip of a lifetime, lots of camping and hiking and bonding,” said Constable. “It gave me a lot of time to reflect and think about my future. And I realized I needed to find a job that didn’t just pay the rent.”
She had always been an avid reader; book publishing seemed like a logical next step. The open road eventually led to the crowded streets of New York, home of the book industry. She answered an ad in the New York Times for an entry-level publishing position and headed to the employment agency.
“I failed the typing test,” she admitted with a laugh. “But they sent me to the Crown Publishing Group anyway, where I interviewed for an assistant spot in the publicity department. I wrote a press release about myself, got the job, and have been at Crown ever since” in a variety of roles.
In her time at the company, she’s crafted public relations campaigns, worked with authors, and become part of the management team as well as a corporate spokesperson. She’s also seen the company change dramatically, from a family-run company to an acquisition by Random House and then Bertelsmann AG, the German media company.
And then there are the changes in the industry itself.
“We’re clearly at a crossroads as we move into the digital arena,” she said. “E-books and
digital downloads are starting to gain market share but have yet to significantly impact our traditional business. The printed book isn’t going away any time soon, and the mature hardcover reader is still very much alive and well. But we’re dealing with a distracted, busy consumer base— and the challenge is discovering younger readers. I think there are enormous opportunities for us in the years ahead.”
—Mackenzie Dawson ’99