Letter from the Publisher: Inspirations of May

May 09, 2022 at 11:05 am by RMGadmin

“Don’t envy what people have, emulate what they did to have it.”


Dear Readers,

I inevitably greet the month of May with joy and anticipation, as it inspires so much! It is a month full of celebrations like Mother’s Day, my nephew’s birthday (turning 16 this month – Happy Birthday Lane Robertson!), my niece Lillian’s birthday and...drum roll...my birthday! Now, we won’t talk about the magic number this year. Thankfully, I do subscribe to the mentality that the number is irrelevant, and age is relative to how you feel and act. My actual age  is, to be honest, older than I can fathom. But I don’t feel old. I do have a three-year-old I am chasing around! I am doing all the things today, most of my contemporaries did twenty years ago! So, I’m good – for now. 

With each passing year, I do find myself doing the: Wow, I can’t believe I haven’t done that yet, accomplished that goal, finished that project, read that book, taken that trip, cleaned out that closet. That’s normal. So too is the realization that as age comes for us, it also does for those we hold dear. So many icons of our community, especially a few I have personally known my entire life – have passed away recently. Lives lived with such purpose and inspiration that their indelible mark on our community and my own heart and mind is profound. One such person is Ann Carroll. When I was just a little girl, Miss Ann was my ballet teacher waaay back in the early 80s. I can still smell the ballet leather and hear the tapping on the wood floors at the original studio in Grassland. My dancing days were neither stellar nor memorable to anyone. I did not care for dance or any performance art for that matter. Not my thing. But I did care for the experience and for Miss Ann. The impact and the memories have remained with me for over four decades. When it came time to send Keeling to dance school at age three, I never even thought of another option other than Ann Carroll School of Dance. Mostly I was just filled with a sense of tradition and permanence in life of being able to send her where I had attended. And while Miss Ann has not taught for many years herself, the traditions and heartfelt joy within the home of this dance school are no less real. Ann was someone I looked up to, as so many did. I got to work with her as an adult when I would schedule the school to perform at the Main Street Festival during my days as the Director of Special Events & Fundraising. And whenever I saw her, she remembered me by name, from literally hundreds of girls she had taught over the years. She made a lasting mark on this community and me. 

We were talking about the idea of imitation being the sincerest form of flattery, as the saying goes, in the office recently. Another publication’s incessant and ever so blatant copying of pretty much our entire editorial calendar and media kit, had us all riled up pretty good one day. But trust me, I have been doing this too long to go down those roads with too much vigor. After all, why wouldn’t they copy us? We ARE good. After a total of seventeen years in publishing, I can say that, and it does not feel egotistical. I didn’t do it all – many talented individuals and a whole host of contributors of some form or fashion made this magazine what it is today and made it possible for me to build a company based on just a few basic principles: Integrity, over-delivering, quality, partnerships and customer service. But most of all – being real. Being local. I can’t control other people, so I try to focus on simply doing what we do. It has served us well, it seems, as we celebrate our eleventh anniversary of publishing YOUR Williamson this May! Wow, it’s been a whirlwind, but a blessing.  

I too, have found myself emulating so many publications of note, people, and businesses, in my path to success. I prefer the word emulate to copy, or even imitate, because to emulate means I have taken something I have seen or experienced and translated it into something all my own. To emulate shows respect and admiration for something that inspires and moves us forward. I fully intend to keep on emulating many things in my future. I did not get HERE on my own. And I won’t get where I am going on my own either. Many hands hold onto me as I walk. As we honor ladies this month – I am reminded of the women in my life who have literally molded who I am and hopefully, who I will be. I am setting my daughter up for the same experiences, as having women in your life to look up to and emulate is a great gift. Their inspiring direction will point you on your path, where you one day may find yourself on the receiving end of some little girl’s or grown-up girl’s gratitude. Who knows? They may want to copy you and something you did well, too. 

Shelly Robertson Birdsong
Publisher | Editor in Chief