November 2011

An interview with Jeanne Gladfelter

Beaumont_house_JeanneJeanne Gladfelter started at ASBMB in December 1988. She originally was hired for a temporary position but came on full time just a few months later. She’s been here ever since.

Q. What was your position when you first arrived at Beaumont House?

A. I was brought in as a temp to help the front office but was moved to Dr. (Herb) Tabor’s assistant, where I remained after I was officially hired.

Q. Back then, the entire manuscript-review process was done on paper. What was that like? What were some of the benefits and challenges?

A. We would receive hundreds of printed manuscripts every week. While it could be quite hectic, we had a system that worked. On any given day, after a holiday especially, there would be piles and piles of manuscripts on the floor, separated by assigned associate editor. It looked like chaos to anyone who walked into the room, but to the front office crew it was well organized. It was not uncommon for Barbara to kick off her shoes and help stuff the manuscripts into envelopes to mail off to the associate editors.

Then, the editorial assistants had to keep track on paper which editor we had sent the paper to, when it was due, when reminders were needed, etc. A lot of manual intervention, which could lead to mistakes if you were not careful. However, one major benefit was we had a lot more personal communication with our associate editors, assistants and editorial board members. Once we went to an online tracking system, we lost that personal touch. Email took over.

Q. ASBMB staffers today enjoy twice-annual parties, around the holidays and in the summer. Is that a tradition that goes way back?

A. Yes, the tradition of our holiday parties and fajita parties does go way back. Initially, our holiday parties meant going out to a nice restaurant in the evening with our spouses. It has evolved into a potluck luncheon for staff only, which I happen to enjoy more. The fajita parties are meant to be a thank-you to all staff and others who have helped ASBMB over the previous year in one way or the other. I think this is a nice gesture and the food, well, it’s outstanding.

Q. What was your favorite room at Beaumont House?

A. Although I hated climbing the steps of Beaumont House, I loved the charm of the entire building. It made coming to work not feel like your typical work environment. From the lovely grounds to the homey atmosphere of the mansion, I felt relaxed as soon as I walked through the doors.

If I had to select a favorite room, I would say it was (the public affairs director’s) office. The office on the main level with the fireplace. Although it was darker than most rooms, it had a very cozy, welcoming feel to it.

My second favorite room was the front office on the third floor, which I believe was the playroom back in the day. That room made me feel like you could enter it and be yourself. I’m not sure if it was the staff that made you feel this way or what, but you could always let your hair down in that room.

 


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