October 10, 2005, was my first day on the job here at the University of Illinois Press. The person who hired me, then Marketing Director Pat Hoefling, had decided to move back to Bloomington, Indiana, to work at Indiana University Press. Though she had planned October 7 as her last day, Pat offered to stay through the 10th to provide one full day of intense training.

Thereafter I would only see Pat once a year at BEA. I was always grateful that she took a chance on hiring someone who had previously worked in music, but not book publishing.

I’ll never forget the first question that she asked me during my phone interview: “On a scale of 1-5 with 5 being the highest, how would you rate your level of tenacity?”

I chuckled to myself and thought, “How can I answer anything but 5?” In that split second I couldn’t come up with a good justification for a “4″ (3 or below being absolutely out of the question) so I answered “5.” The phone interview turned into an office interview and eventually the job.

Recently I heard that Pat was ill.  I kept up with her status via circulated e-mails from her Indiana colleagues. Sadly, she passed away on July 7 due to cancer and complications from a stroke.

Pat, I didn’t know you well, but am thankful that you asked me to join you in the publishing community. It misses you already.

(Read Indiana University Press’ “In Memoriam” post here.)

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