Plugged In – Bring Your Energy Everywhere with Logan Aguirre

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For this “Plugged In” episode of the SGF Insider Podcast⸺ hosted by LeadSGF Executive Director Carrie Richardson⸺ we sat down for a conversation with Logan Aguirre, owner and publisher of 417 Magazine. We talked about her journey with the business, inspiring events in 417-land, sabbatical takeaways, and more. Keep reading for a recap of the episode.

Tell us your story!

I moved all over the country when I was younger, following my dad’s career in TV news. Being the new kid is hard and scary, but you learn to adapt and make new friends really quickly. Since my dad was originally from Springfield, my parents ended up here after I graduated High School. My dad started running his own TV station and my mom joined him as Director of Marketing. I went to Mizzou for college to study journalism and ended up moving to New York and getting a job at a little boutique PR firm. I got to participate in New York Fashion Week and was working in the Empire State Building during the 9/11 tragedy. My parents were watching the Today Show and I was unaware of what was happening as it felt like a normal workday.

Around this time, my parents started a marketing company called “Whitacre Marketing” and helped market “Liberty Bank”, a company that was just starting. Shortly after, 417 decided to hire Whitacre Marketing to help them better advertise their magazine. 417 had always dreamed of tackling hard-hitting investigative pieces but felt they lacked an interested audience.

My dad said, “As a city magazine,  they needed to focus on the here and now. [They needed to] tell someone’s story like ‘refrigerator journalism’, tagging it on the fridge like in the old days.”

After my dad created a presentation for them about their potential as a publication, they spoke with the owner at the time and decided to sell. My grandparents had just passed away and left my dad a little bit of money, so despite my mom being against the idea, he took the offer.

He said, “I like the idea of investing this money as a love letter to my hometown”.

How does your journey intersect with this?

I left New York and worked at the magazine for like two months when they first bought it. Then I moved to Saint Louis and worked in PR and marketing there and met my husband. As 417 started to grow, my parents reached out asking if I’d return to work there. Despite the fact that my husband grew up in Saint Louis and had a great career at Boeing, we ended up moving to Springfield. That was 17 years ago. And as of September 1, I’ve owned the publication for 3 years.

I learned the ropes by doing and having the journalism degree definitely helped.

Give us the 411 on the 417!

‘417’ is our monthly magazine. Then we have ‘Home’ which is a quarterly publication focused on home design. Then we have a business lifestyle magazine called ‘Biz 417’ and a bride magazine called ‘417 Bride’ and an event guide.  We even do custom publishing for other people.

“Sometimes it’s easier for someone else to tell your story because it comes across more authentically.”

Speaking of events, “Ladies Who Launch” is such a great summer event and you guys sold out and had to move to a larger venue this year. Can you walk us through how this event got its start?

It’s a lot of work but it’s so rewarding. One or two years after ‘Biz’ got its start, we began publishing a ‘Big 100 List’, or a list of the 100 most influential Business leaders in Southwest Missouri. After we first released it, we started hearing some chatter about how there were only 10 women on the list.

“It had never occurred to me to count the number of women. So, the first question I asked was ‘who did we miss?’ We can’t just put people on the list because we want to make the list feel better”.

This felt like an opportunity to create content, community and conversation around women’s leadership and an event was launched off of it. We even created a monthly newsletter and hosted the event every year except for 2020. We have keynote speakers and an hour of networking called “Hustle Hour”.

If you can pick just one thing, what was your favorite part about the event this year?

I love following everything on social media, especially the night of and the day after. I just love to see what people have to say about it.

“[I love seeing] who was there, who they met and what they took away from the content.”

You have another event coming up in the spring called “Think Summit”. Tell us a little bit about that event.

We like to describe “Think Summit” as like a day of Ted Talks, mainly featuring local speakers. Last year was the first time we brought someone in from outside of Springfield, Amanda Holmes.

“[The event] is always a mixture of great stories, leadership, insights and future forecasting. But also giving people a lot to reflect on, people to be inspired by. I get to kinda ‘collect’ people all year.”

You recently took a four-week sabbatical! Is there anything you feel you learned about yourself from your time away?

I’m a perfectionist but I’m trying to stay in the space of stepping back and trusting that my team has everything handled without me. I didn’t have an existential crisis where I wondered who I’d be if I didn’t work at 417. I realized I’d still have a life without it. That’s a healthy state of mind to be in.

Contributors: Lauren Johns, Communications Intern Summer 2023

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