Our annual July/August double issue is one of my favorites. That’s because each year we focus the entire magazine on something that has been years in the making, challenging us each step of the way, evolving and disrupting (even though I hate that word) our business models at every turn—technology.

As technology continues to offer innovative resources and new partnerships, it’s important to remember that the client must remain at the heart of our innovation efforts. If there is an overarching idea that runs across the stories in this issue, it’s that technology is consistently changing the way the industry works, enhancing the opportunities it presents to us all.

On another note, this issue of Leader’s Edge represents a turning point for this magazine as it marks the first for our new editor in chief, Sandy Laycox. You’ll get to know Sandy in her Q&A with founding editor Rick Pullen on page 6, but I wanted to welcome you (and her) to this, her inaugural issue.

When it was time to look for a new editor, we underwent an extensive search. We talked with some very seasoned and talented editors who wanted to build upon what we’ve built here. I share this because I believe it’s instructive to all of us.

Sandy put her hat in the ring to be considered for the position. On paper, she may not have had the same years of experience but she was hungry. She asked to be considered so I challenged her to build a business plan for her magazine. I wanted to see her vision for the future, how she thinks about content delivery and the economics of it all. The process allowed us to make sure she understood the depth and breadth of the job. Her plan was comprehensive and made it clear to me that she understood the job and all the challenges that go along with it. The decision ended up an easy one. Sandy is smart, young and passionate, and filled with ideas. This new position will certainly challenge her to put her own imprint on the magazine while continuing to honor its well-respected, well-establish brand in our industry.

And that is what you’re seeing here for the first time.  

We pride ourselves at The Council on hiring people and then moving them around and giving them opportunities to grow. Interns have become VP’s over time. In my case, a young government affairs guy was handed an association and told to build it. A former chairman said at the time, “He’s young, he’s smart, he’s hungry. If he fails, we fire him. Simple as that.” In this case, Sandy was an easy pick and we know she is going to do great things with the magazine. She has the complete confidence of the leadership team here at The Council and we look forward to continuing to produce a dynamic, fearless magazine reflecting the energy and success of our members and the firms they lead.

One of Sandy’s tasks will be to grow the magazine’s digital footprint, exploring new ways and new channels to deliver content to you and your clients. We know there are opportunities to evolve what we’re doing in print, expand the conversation and give the content a longer lifespan online, and Sandy is focused on doing just that.

As for Rick, well, he isn’t going too far. He’ll continue to write and advise the magazine in several capacities. But with his retirement approaching, I’d like to thank him for his 14 years of service to both The Council and Leader’s Edge. He created a fun and impactful insurance magazine over the years, winning awards and accolades far and wide, and he guided this publication through one of the most wildly chaotic periods in publishing history. Our magazine survived the shift toward digital and a downturn in the economy when many others did not. We have Rick to thank for that. He has done an incredible job building a foundation on which Sandy can grow with energy and creativity in this new generation of publishing.