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Leaven editor Father Mark Goldasich has preached the concept of “team” ever since he needed the team to cover for one of his mishaps.

Leaven editor Father Mark Goldasich has preached the concept of “team” ever since he needed the team to cover for one of his mishaps.

by Todd Habiger

Very early on in my tenure as production manager of The Leaven, editor Father Mark Goldasich stood in his office expounding the concept of team and teamwork in regards to The Leaven.

I can hear him clear as day. “TEAM,” he shouted. “We’re a team. Teamwork!”

You might think that it’s great that our fearless leader was trying to drill home the concept of The Leaven as a team, but in reality, he was trying to save his own butt.

You see, Father Mark was responsible for securing the following week’s center spread, a reprinted article from noted biblical scholar Father Ray Brown, whom he knew. The problem was that, true to form, Father Mark waited until the last minute to contact Father Brown to ask permission to reprint. Father Brown was out of town that week and couldn’t be reached, so we needed to find a new spread — quickly.

His problem soon became the staff’s problem and so the infamous “team” speech came into existence. Nowadays, whenever a last minute problem comes about, “team” becomes our rallying cry.

But what happens when the team is down a few players?

In November of 2014, The Leaven asked people to tell us about their special place to pray. Our plan was to interview everyone who responded, write their stories, and put together a special issue sometime in 2015.

Special issues are truly a team effort for The Leaven. It takes extra time and extra effort to produce something completely different for our readers. If you’re a regular reader, you’ll no doubt realize that the special issue never went to print. The reason is, The Leaven lost two members of our team.

The Leaven is a relatively small team. It consists of five fulltime staff members — two reporters, an advertising representative, the production manager and the managing editor — along with a part-time editor.

As you can imagine, losing two members within weeks of each other can be quite challenging. To replace those two members we had to pour over resumes, schedule interviews, conduct interviews, make the hires and train the new employees. All while doing the missing people’s work as well! By the time that was done, it was Advent and the hopes of a special issue in 2015 vanished.

I’m happy to say that The Leaven is now back to full staff and running on all cylinders again. The additions of advertising representative Beth Blankenship and reporter Moira Cullings have already yielded great rewards.

We are also back on track with our special prayer issue, and it’s one I think The Leaven’s readers will enjoy. The issue will be unlike any we’ve ever done. There are some interesting and touching stories we’re putting together for it, along with our usual stellar photography.

When you read this special issue, I hope you realize how much of a team effort it was.

About the author

Todd Habiger

Todd has been the production manager for The Leaven since 1995. Under his direction The Leaven has won multiple design awards from the Catholic Press Association. Prior to working at The Leaven, Todd was an award-winning writer for The Catholic Key newspaper in Kansas City, Mo. Todd is married to Lori Wood Habiger, a former Leaven employee herself. They have two children — Paige and Connor, and one dog — Joli.

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