Valerie Costa: A fond farewell
Growing up, I always wanted to work in magazines. From Teen Beat to Cosmo, as a girl coming of age in the late 1980s, magazines were all the rage. So when the Special Sections Manager job popped up in The Union at a time when my previous job had been cut to half time, it felt like fate had stepped in to put me in a position to live my childhood dream. And it had.
I started working at The Union in February, 2015. I was pregnant with my son, Asher, at the time, but Julia Stidham, then the advertising director and now publisher, hired me anyway. She believed me when I promised to return to work after my baby was born, and here I am, well over seven years later, writing my final column.
What a wonderful adventure this has been! I came in during the Best of Nevada County process, knowing little about the businesses in the community but ready and willing to learn all I could. My first full project was the first issue of Nevada County Cannabis, and it was such fun to meet the passionate people working to educate and advocate for the positive benefits of medical marijuana in Nevada County and beyond. We just published our 17th issue and counting. Since that time, our team has created several new publications to serve different niche interests in Western Nevada County. From Rancher to Current to Women of Nevada County to my personal pride and joy, Healthy You, doing this job has been a true dream come true for that little girl who loved magazines.
But more than the work, the people I have met both in the office and promoting different aspects of the community have made this one of the best experiences of my life. The connections I have made here have led to strong friendships that I cherish beyond measure. It is one of those friendships that has led to my next step in my career as an author coach and the head editor of a national program that helps writers get from concept to a published book. Books are my first love, and I have been working on the weekends since the onset of the Covid lockdowns on a freelance basis editing them. I have done over 40 books now, and absolutely love the work.
So, I am leaving The Union on wonderful terms, training my fabulous replacement in my final weeks here, with joy in my heart and great hope for the future both for myself and for The Union. I cannot express enough my wholehearted gratitude to Julia (although I have, many many times, throughout my entire tenure here) for giving me a chance when many others would have passed me over due to my pregnancy. I am also grateful to those in this wonderful community that I love for your support, feedback, and information that has made the publications I create so rich in local wisdom and information. Thank you all of my many contributors, and particularly to Kathryn Holt for years of articles covering Colfax and its surround areas for the Foothill Weekly, along with several other publications. I especially want to thank my long-time contributor, and now dear friend, Cristina Smith, for this opportunity to make another of my childhood dreams of being a book editor come true. I am so very thankful for the time I had here, the friends I have made, the knowledge I gained, and the incredible experiences that this job has afforded me.
My final day is October 14, but I will be in this community for many, many years to come. May all of your dreams come true, as mine have, and may the people you meet along the way inspire and uplift you.
Valerie Costa is the Special Publications Editor at The Union.
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