Ruby Della-Siega, publisher of Monday Magazine, spent the days leading up to retirement out knocking on doors and introducing Katharine Brynjolfson to clients with relationships dating back decades.
For 38 years, Della-Siega worked with the local business and arts communities to create successful print and digital campaigns, building growth and brand awareness.
She officially retired Dec. 23, 2022.
Tenacity has been the key to her long and dedicated career in the newspaper and magazine industry – a trait that came in handy right from the start.
Della-Siega started with Monday Publications in 1984 as a fresh-faced graduate from the University of Victoria where she’d been doing ad layout and design for the student paper, The Martlet, while finishing studies in physiology and sociology.
In late ’84, she heard from a friend Monday Magazine was filling sales positions. She didn’t know a lick about advertising sales, but could lay out an ad – which was a requirement – thanks to her work at The Martlet.
“I didn’t really understand what sales was,” she says. But she’d learned tenacity working for Gray Line tours over the summers, a competitive job that paid a salary with commission.
So she joined the team as a sales associate.
Monday Magazine was on the cutting edge for its time, and that didn’t always work in her favour. A restaurant reviewer would rip into an eatery and then Della-Siega would to land them as an advertiser without realizing it.
Once she dedicated time and energy to a significant proposal, putting her heart and soul into the pitch.
They said no. She went to the library and cried.
Two or three weeks later, they called to advertise, Della-Siega said.
“People who say ‘no’ to you, it’s not really ‘no’ – it’s just ‘not right now’.”
In August 1996, what is now called Black Press Media purchased Monday Publications, which had several titles under its umbrella at the time, including Monday Magazine, several tourism and business magazines and a communications organization.
Black Press continued Monday as a weekly for several years well into the new millennium.
It did lose some momentum when the internet gained traction, reinventing what advertising looked like for clubs and bars. There was a definite shift to social media, Della-Siega said.
Around 2012, there was a shift in the content, building on the already strong entertainment aspect.
Steeped in a history of winning national and international awards for investigative features, arts and culture. That tradition continues as Monday Magazine was part of a series of award-winning Black Press resource guides on subjects including overdose prevention, mental health and intimate partner violence.
“It was a privilege to be part of it. Every model we used, it became a success,” Della-Siega said.
Every day was different, engaging in different fields and figuring out how the audience could aid the business or venture from museums to film festivals and live performance.
An active volunteer in a variety of local arts groups, Della-Siega also serves on the boards of both the Community Arts Council of Greater Victoria and the Friends of Music Society. In retirement, she plans to perhaps pull out her bike, maybe find a new hobby. It’s really up in the air, though a February vacation under sunny skies on sandy beaches is already booked.
After that, who knows.
“I’m going to hang around with my husband, hopefully we get along,” she said with a laugh.
Della-Siega has confidence in Brynjolfson, who takes on the role of community partnerships coordinator with the magazine. A relative newcomer to Black Press Media, Brynjolfson (find her at firstname.lastname@example.org) is already building and developing her own connections.
“I think she’s got a lot of enthusiasm and a lot of energy, that’s half the battle,” Della-Siega said. “You can learn the sales skills, but mostly it’s attitude and emotion that wins people over.”