Editor of sorority magazine creates, maintains relationships
By Lindsay Esparrago
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
After graduating from college, Lisa Gregory Dodge didn’t expect to be able to build her career around her two passions: Delta Gamma sorority and journalism.
But that’s exactly what happened.
She jumped at the opportunity to work for Delta Gamma executive offices in Columbus, Ohio, for five years. She then made her way to the roles of director of communications and editor of Delta Gamma’s national magazine, the ANCHORA.
Dodge studied journalism and public relations at the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University, but her love for journalism began because of her high school magazine. One teacher, in particular, opened her eyes to the possibilities of the field.
“I knew I always liked to read and write, but at that point I thought I could only teach it,” Dodge said in a phone interview. “My teacher helped me realize there was so many opportunities out there to read, write, edit and design.”
She continued to be surprised when she returned to school to be an English teacher, but realized she belonged at the ANCHORA and returned. The award-winning magazine has been published quarterly since 1884. Editing for the ANCHORA allows her to be an active alumna of her sorority by telling and editing stories about her sisterhood.
“It means a lot to me so it’s special,” Dodge said. “It’s not just reporting. It’s getting to know people that have something in common with me … with Delta Gamma.”
Originally Dodge wanted to work for a fashion magazine, but thought she would have to move to a big city. She then focused on public relations to work closer to home. She started helping Delta Gamma with public relations and enjoyed the variety involved with the position. One day she was working with crisis communications and the next day she might be focusing on a press release.
Now along with communications, Dodge edits every day. Without a lot of editors around the office, she puts her editing skills to use and keeps her AP Stylebook by her side at all times. Colleagues often run ideas by Dodge or ask her to read their work when they’re struggling to communicate to an audience.
“I’m kind of the go-to decision maker as far as what is correct and what isn’t,” she said. “I’m always trying to keep up with anything that is changing in the AP Stylebook or things that other reporters and journalists are doing. I don’t want to lead the whole office astray, you know?”
Dodge is happy to answer questions around the office, but an average day depends on where the magazine issue stands. Dodge and the ANCHORA staff start by brainstorming story ideas and visual elements. Dodge stresses the importance of thinking and planning ahead because the staff usually works on multiple issues at once. The ANCHORA works to inform through platforms other than the magazine, such as social media accounts.
She feels most comfortable working with print, but believes being technologically savvy is vital.
Her days vary. She might edit layouts one day and interview story subjects the next. The different experiences keep her excited and always learning.
Her advice to others who might want a similar career:
“I think a well-rounded communicator, in this day and age, has to have the ability to do a little bit of everything,” she said. “Be able to take your own photos, edit your own photos, design something, and write something. Be able to tell a story visually and with words.”
Dodge’s passion for journalism and Delta Gamma grows with every story edited, printed and shared. The relationships she forms with Delta Gamma sisters across the nation is what makes her love her job.
“Working somewhere you feel like your personal values match the values of the organization or company you work for is very important,” Dodge said. “I feel personally satisfied every day knowing that I’m working toward something I believe in. I think it makes a huge difference.”