Thank you for 15+ years of service, Loretta
Please join me in thanking Loretta Chan for her incredible 15+ years of service as Youth Communication’s Marketing Director, and in wishing her well as she transitions out of her role. Loretta began her decades-long relationship with YC as a teen in our writing program and, over the past two decades, has worn many hats on staff at the organization. We will all miss her warm demeanor, curious nature, exceptional playlists, and incredible leadership. Loretta has a distinct talent in making every member of our community feel welcome, and has been instrumental in helping us reach ambitious goals with few resources. She is a core component of what has made Youth Communication so special, and we are all so grateful to call her a friend.
Loretta reflected on her time at Youth Communication from when she first entered the offices as a teen writer, to the end of her over 15 years supporting YC in various initiatives:
As a teen, I had the profound experience of joining the staff as a teen writer in YC’s Annual Summer Writing Workshop in 1992. Taking the 7 train into Manhattan to this first “job” was thrilling and made me feel important. I was a shy kid from Queens and publishing my stories was an introvert’s path to being heard. It was also a way to understand myself, to feel known, to connect with other NYC teen writers, and to help teen readers with my stories.
Many years later, in 2006, I had the privilege to be hired back to YC as the organization’s first marketing director. It was the calling of a lifetime! I felt lucky to be chosen to help amplify teen stories and to support future writers so that they could have the same opportunity that I had.
It has been a remarkable journey since then, as I helped YC evolve through numerous publishing trends and business models with the ever-present goal of reaching teen readers (and the adults who care about them) where they are at. We went from only publishing our stories in two award-winning print magazines, to expanding our portfolio to include dozens of anthologies, and developed relationships with publishing partners that feature our stories in their books, curricula, textbooks, and online publications. It is a joy to represent YC when new publishers discover us and say it feels like they, “hit a gold mine.” They recognize that we offer something rare to their readers: high-quality, authentic teen writing on both universal and timely issues of the day.
Doing “marketing” at YC is a combination of showcasing our teen stories and creating new content, and then weaving it all together to tell the full story of the organization. As the internet transformed how readers digest content over the years, I worked with designers and developers to move our stories from our print publications to our online platforms. I have also had the pleasure of collaborating with filmmakers to produce videos to illustrate the power of our writing and education programs.
One memorable project was working with a dramaturge and a cast of actors to stage our stories at Symphony Space to celebrate YC’s 25th anniversary, which was later adapted to sold-out performances at the Fringe Festival. And I had the honor of producing several fundraisers and events, including over a dozen productions of the annual Awards for Youth in Foster Care. It’s one of my favorite evenings of the year, a ceremony to celebrate the achievements and writing of youth in foster care.
For the last few years, we have built a movement to help educators implement our innovative curriculum—based entirely on our teen stories – so that they strengthen relationships in their communities and boost students’ social and emotional learning. During the pandemic, it felt even more urgent to lift young people’s voices and to help educators meet their equity-minded goals. It was a joy to see feedback from students who said that discussing a YC story in the classroom made them feel that their peers and adult leaders were listening to them.
I’m proud to be part of both a legacy of writers and a passionate staff, who are working to transform how teachers can best understand and nurture students with stories that reflect the experiences of young people in a real way. I wish my colleagues, writers, and our supporters all the best as they forge ahead with this critical work.
We also asked members of the YC community to write about some of their favorite memories about working with Loretta. Read them below:
From Education & Professional Development
To Editorial & Teen Writing Program