Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Celebrating the Women on Our Staff

Inspired by Women’s History Month, the Diversity, Equity & Inclusion group at UT Press honors the labor and expertise of the women on our staff. In particular, we highlight here the work and knowledge of a number of departments that are not as public facing as others yet are critical to our shared success. Here are a few snapshots of our colleagues whose indispensable expertise enhances every aspect of the Press. They are truly experts in their fields.

Lizbeth Lynch, Chief Financial Manager:

How long have you been at the Press?
It will be 2 years the 25th of March.

Tell us a little about what role/department you started and your current role?
I was hired to fill the position of “Chief Financial Manager” which I still have and as of now I have absorbed Linda Ramirez’ duties (the former accounts payable manager) as well.

What are some of the misconceptions about your job?
That I make UT Office of Accounting’s rules! I promise you! I only enforce them in order to ensure that our unit is and continues to be in compliance with the University of Texas at Austin Handbook of Business Procedures.

Tell us something people don’t know about you!
Something very few people know is that I was born at 25 weeks. Totally true! I spent several months in the incubator and the doctor told my parents that they should consider unplugging the machine because “back then” they didn’t have computers so the incubator’s oxygen’s levels needed to be regulated manually 24 hours a day. It was very expensive and my parents didn’t have the financial resources and had six other children to feed. The doctor felt that even if I survived I would be a burden to the family since I would be severely handicapped. My parents objected and prayed for me. They said that I am living proof of God’s existence.

Sharon dressed as Weird Al for our 2019 staff Halloween Party.
She wrote an original song for our Senior Editor Casey Kittrell:
You've got a book on Karen Carpenter;
You've got a book about John Prine;
You've got a book on Michael Bloomfield
And a book on Kathy Valentine,
You've even got Lhasa de Sela
But there's one name that I don't find:
Mr. C. Kittrell, sir,
I couldn't help but see
You've got books about these other folks;
You ain't never had a book on me.
Sharon L. Casteel, Digital Publishing and Reprints Manager

How long have you been at the Press?
26 years.

Tell us a little about what role/department you started and your current role?
I started as an acquisitions editorial assistant; after a few years, I moved into the marketing department and later the IT department. My current title is digital publishing and reprints manager.

What are some of the misconceptions about your job?
In spite of my job title, I spend as much time on database and metadata wrangling as I do on ebooks and reprints. I've been responsible for our ONIX metadata since we first sent an ONIX feed in 2001.

Tell us something people don’t know about you!
I would say "I knit", but everyone who's been in a meeting with me knows that.... One of my hobbies is genealogy, and I spend a lot of time on WikiTree. It's a fun challenge to pick a deceased author or biography subject, research as much of their ancestry as I can, and see whether I can connect them to the main WikiTree tree.

Karen J. Broyles, Journals Production Editor:

How long have you been at the Press?
I've been at the Press for 21 1/2 years (yikes).

Tell us a little about what role/department you started and your current role?
When I first started at the Press I worked in journals circulation, where I entered check batches and generally dealt with customer service at a time when that involved less email and a lot more phone calls & form letters than today. Less than a year later there was an opening in journals production and I changed jobs. Overseeing copyediting and production was a somewhat different process when I first started—two of my five original journals were still typeset conventionally and printed from repro (or "slicks"), and proofs were always bluelines with their acrid chemical smell. The particular publications I work on and my processes have changed a lot, but the basic principles stay the same. We try and run down every detail we can, and we take our responsibility to authors and our other publishing partners very seriously.

What are some of the misconceptions about your job?
For better or worse, working in journals publishing often means people don't fully understand what you do. Probably the most common misconception I get from authors is their occasional assumption that all manuscript edits come directly from me, when in fact I have several great freelancers that handle that aspect of things. Out in the greater scholarly world, I think there's just a lot of confusion and mystery about what exactly publishers do. I try and respond to that by doing everything I can to inform and help authors, especially first-time authors and other junior scholars. And I try to make sure that we add as much value to that end product as we possibly can by going the extra mile.

Tell us something people don’t know about you!
I think most of us have a lot of stories and connections that might surprise our colleagues simply by virtue of living in the world, so it's hard to think of a particular fact people don't know about me. Perhaps that my favorite hangout spot in high school was a cemetery, specifically Rose Hill Cemetery in Macon, Georgia. I was painfully aware that it was a bit hokey for teenagers to hang around a cemetery, but it's a genuinely beautiful place and sometimes you just have to embrace being hokey. Two of the Allman Brothers are buried there, Duane Allman and Berry Oakley. Sometimes aging hippies would show up to honor them and place pennies on their headstones. I even sent a photo of Duane Allman's grave to a sort of chance penpal I had at one of the many record labels I wrote to in those days; I did a lot of mail ordering records then, which gave me an enduring appreciation for fourth-class mail which has continued into my professional life.

The University of Texas Press has the great fortune to have Lizbeth, Sharon, and Karen on our staff, in addition to many other women whose time, energy, skills, and abilities are essential to and inseparable from our mission to serve the University of Texas, the people of Texas, and knowledge seekers around the globe. We encourage ourselves and others to see and value the incalculable contributions women make in our shared lives, in this moment, and all throughout human history.

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