After 22 years with Black Press Media, Kitimat Northern Sentinel publisher Louisa Genzale has retired.
Genzale started with Black Press in 1998 as a compositor apprentice in the ad building and pre-press department at the Northern Sentinel, under publisher and general manager, Sandra Dugdale.
“Louisa has worked in several different departments at the Northern Sentinel and came to us when we were still running our own web press and commercial presses,” Dugdale said. “She was always a hard worker and loved nothing more than seeing the end product to her hard work.”
Genzale was a real Jill-of-all-trades in her years with the Sentinel, jumping in on tasks such as developing photos in the darkroom, to stuffing flyers on a busy morning, to doing all the printing work for the Kitimat Humane Society Auction, and acting as shop stewart for the union. It was no surprise to her co-workers, then, when Genzale easily adapted to changing technology and ways of working in the newsroom.
“When we went to computers, Louisa jumped in with both feet and was happy and eager to learn the new way,” Dugdale said. “Retirement is just another career change for Louisa among the many that she had at the Sentinel.”
Genzale was a strong part of the Sentinel team, none more so when the Dugdale retired in 2011 and Genzale was asked to take over the reins. Being the team player she is, Genzale was happy to step up and take on the publisher role.
“How lucky we were to have someone with her design skills,” Black Press North President Lorie Williston said. “It was a natural fit for her to then be stepping into sales and management, she had a really good grasp on the entire operation.”
Retired Terrace Standard publisher Rod Link also congratulated Genzale on her retirement.
“As a publisher, I enjoyed working with her on many projects of common interest to both Kitimat and Terrace. Her background as a compositor gave her a unique insight into the overall newspaper picture,” he said. “The community newspaper business is not an easy one and has grown more complicated over the years, but Louisa always knew exactly what to do.”
Genzale was very invested in the paper and worked hard to make each week’s edition the best it could be. Her co-workers described her as a pleasure to work with and a real team player; someone who was always willing to try new ideas and combine ideas with the Sentinel’s sister papers throughout Northwestern B.C.
“Louisa was extremely dedicated to success of the Sentinel,” Williston said. “She was passionate and dedicated [and] always really looked out for Kitimat and the Sentinel. I can’t say enough just how proud I am of Louisa and how she really grew through her career and into her time in Kitimat.”
Going into her retirement, Genzale plans to travel and spend time with her grandchildren. Her husband recently retired, as well, so she’s excited for the time they’ll get to spend together, but said making the decision to retire was not an easy one.
“It was a very difficult decision to make. After 22 years of doing a job you’re very familiar with, it becomes part of your life,” Genzale said. “People say your professional life and personal life are two different things, but they’re not.”
Genzale said the hardest part about retiring will be missing the social aspect and the interactions with clients and co-workers, something which she really enjoyed doing as publisher.
“The business and social aspect of work will be missed, because I learned something new every day,” Genzale said. “You are constantly have new things to learn in this business, whether it’s about clients, digital things, different personalities, there’s always so much to learn. And I also kind of feel that I didn’t finish learning.”
Genzale said it’s an exciting but nerve-wracking feeling going forward, but she’s ready to see where retirement will take her.
“It’s difficult not feeling part of something anymore. There’s a familiarity with going into work everyday, and retiring is kind of like a blank slate … like walking into the unknown,” Genzale said. “But it was time for a change. That’s all retirement is … a career change! And after 22 years at the Sentinel and nine years as publisher, I was just ready for a career change.”
Genzale will be missed by the Northern Sentinel team and her other Black Press North co-workers, who wish her all the best going forward into this new part of her life.