An Interview With Lesley Jane Seymour, Founder, Covey Club

By: Melissa Campanelli
Lesley Jane Seymour, the former editor-in-chief of More, Marie Claire and Redbook magazines, was one of my favorite moderator/speakers at last month’s Women in Retail Leadership Summit. She moderated a panel session titled Lessons Learned, where she interviewed an extraordinary group of women in retail about their career challenges and mistakes, as well as what they’ve learned from them.
Lesley also presented a Girl Talk, during which she discussed her illustrious career as well as the importance of  creating your personal brand identity  At WIRLS, Lesley mentioned that she’s recently created an online/offline community for women called Covey Club. The goal of Covey Club is to serve women aged 40 and older who are life-long learners and who want the tools, connections and inspiration to make the most of their adult lives. It offers members real and virtual meetups, an informative newsletter, and much more. I was intrigued by the community, so I asked Lesley some questions about it via email. Enjoy!
Melissa Campanelli: How did you come up with the name Covey Club?
Lesley Jane Seymour: Covey is a small group of birds — usually quail or pheasants. I loved the idea of cuddly birds flocking together. I loved the idea of small as the antidote to what’s going on today, which is everything is enormous, huge, disconnected. I want closer bonds with my clubbers. I think women are craving closeness now.

MC: What’s the mission of Covey Club? Who is it targeting?
LJS: The mission of Covey Club is to connect women aged 40 and older around the country through events and shared reading material. There will be small Covey Club events sponsored in a few cities the first year, salons in women’s homes, and a bi-monthly “digi-zine” that has upscale, original reading material that will allow you to learn, grow and live your most authentic life.

Our hashtag is #learnGetConnect. We’re all bonded by the desire to learn something new — a new beauty product, how to handle expenses for an aging parent, what’s happening to your body during menopause. Not everyone is a learner, so Covey Cluber’s separate themselves out by a love of learning. These are also big book readers and do-ers.

MC: Why did you decide to start Covey Club? Was there some “white space” online for your target audience you thought needed to be filled?
LJS: Covey Club was started when hundreds of former More readers burst through my social media when the magazine closed in February 2015. They asked me to do something else for them. In fact, 628 of them took a 54-question survey to the end, which maps out the entire white space of what these women feel is missing for them. What’s missing? A place for them to go to learn, connect, reflect about the personal sides of their lives. As such, we created the bi-weekly digi-zine, as well as group phone calls where we will discuss some of the topics in the digi-zine (think “mini bookclub”), salons and a spa retreat the first year.

MC: What are your goals for Covey Club?
LJS: The ultimate goal is to pick up 100,000 of the 1.5 million ex-More readers and connect them around the country. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if when you’re traveling to Austin on business you could go to the Covey Club Facebook page and let everyone know you’re available for dinner — and someone could meet you. Imagine you write a book and are on tour in San Francisco and a Covery Cluber salon group can throw you a small cocktail party, interview you, and broadcast it live onto the Facebook page. That’s the dream and mission. Total connection.

MC: Do you have any events, series or upcoming articles you can share with our readers?
LJS:
I have a lot of articles already bought and ready to go. They cover topics such as why we can’t sleep, great new beauty and fashion finds (have you heard about Bombas?), tech (have you purchased Waterlogue yet?), vaginal rejuvenation, a great new insider shopping book for London, a funny essay about why you need to nurture a grudge, and one very moving essay about a woman who had to come home from being a war correspondent to take care of her brother’s orphaned children.

MC: What advice would you give to our readers on starting out on their own?
LJS: Ah, you have to be fearless. Every day is a roller coaster depending on who you spoke to last. If someone believes in your project, you’re up. Then talk to someone who doesn’t and you think you should quit. I’m hanging in there because I hear that’s par for the course. You really need to be tough and willing to go it alone. It’s very humbling to hold events with the First Lady while at the same time having to understand how MailChimp works. But that’s what life is about. I love that I’m learning.

One response to “An Interview With Lesley Jane Seymour, Founder, Covey Club”

  1. Dorothy Stahlnecker Smith says:

    Your such a lovely lady to share your thoughts and take them to the level of helping others. I’m 72 a 7 time cancer survivor…colon, ovarian, breast and thyroid to name a few. I currently have three spots on my lungs from which we are watching to see if they stop growing. I don’t know if I can bear another surgery. I still work a full time job selling commercial real estate. I just completed 3 years plus of gruelling chemo. However, I’m alive and hoping I don’t ever need more…

    Thus, my comment; I rarely make New Year’s resolutions. However, in my heart soul and mind this year I ask for peace and joy. My question; how does one find these things. If you know the secret share… Even now as I search I’m perplexed how can we make it happen….real peace and real joy.

    Dorothy Stahlnecker Smith

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