Magazines Canada Staff Change: A Farewell to Barbara Zatyko

Barbara Zatyko

As we wind up another year at Magazines Canada and prepare for 2018, the staff and Board are reflecting on one major event that will make 2018 a strange and unknown year indeed: the imminent departure of our friend and colleague Barbara Zatyko.

It goes without saying that Barbara—or Bee-Zed as she’s known around here—has been a constant at Magazines Canada for close to 20 years. After a six-year stint on the Board she “crossed the line” of our masthead to take a leading staff role as General Manager and Publisher, and more recently as our Vice President of Operations and Development. In these various roles she has shaped just about every member program, major event, resource, committee and partnership we have built as an organization and community. Her impact and influence is so pervasive that trying to summarize or capture it here is, quite frankly, impossible.

Her long tenure and singular commitment to Magazines Canada belies the fact that she has always been a wanderer and adventurer. If you’ve spent time with BZ you will have heard the stories and fables of some of these (mis)adventures: working on farms and taking on odd (sometimes, truly odd) jobs from Australia to Israel, and all points between here and there. You will have also heard and shared in her contagious, uproarious laughter.

I think that is what all of us at Magazines Canada will miss most—in addition to her leadership and support, the community that she builds around her and keeps strong, the precision of her projects (and the strategic vagueness of her grant proposals), all amazing and important things, yes—but, most of all, we will miss her laugh and her joie de vivre that she brings to every day and everything she does.

And now she’s taking on the next adventure: picking up and moving cities, starting new projects and pursuing new opportunities. She is brave and the adventure continues, and all of us wish her the best, as I’m sure all of you reading this do as well.

To see her off, we asked a few members and colleagues from the over the years to share some thoughts and memories, and so I leave you with their words below.

A writer, a reader, a traveller, and always a champion of Canadian magazines in every way: BZ, thank you for what you’ve done, and good luck on what’s next: we’ll certainly miss you at Magazines Canada and we can’t wait until the next project pulls us together again!

Matthew Holmes, Magazines Canada CEO


To Magazines Canada board members, Barb Z has long been synonymous with Magazines Canada itself. Often the face of the association out in the industry, her experience, passion and hands-on approach shone through all she tackled, and that was quite a lot. Whether creating excellent programming, or organizing meetings with media in other parts of the world, Barb made us all look good. Her very human professionalism made the work of representing Canadian magazines rewarding, and often good fun. That will be a hard act to follow.

I’m sure I speak for many member organizations in recalling that Barb was often the catalyst in getting our senior staff actively involved in the association. In committees, on the board, at events or consulting on continuing education programming, many “Annexers,” as Barb calls us, became involved as a direct result of her enthusiasm and cajoling. On behalf of the board, and our many members, thank you for those efforts.

Barb, best of luck organizing the new downtown Hamilton magazine scene. Just be sure they’re members.

– Scott Jamieson, Magazines Canada Board Chair


Congrats on your ascension to semi-retirement! We predict you will excel at it, as you’ve excelled as chief wrangler at Geist and then at Mags Canada, gracious guest of honour at a party where a prominent academic compared you to his wife, rapid-fire flinger-out of puns and quips, wholehearted lover of dogs no matter what they do, and, well, everything else.

. . . Not so much a retirement for BZ as it is a new beginning for Hamilton, Ontario, renowned home of the Canadian Warplane Museum, soon to be doubly renowned as the abode of its illustrious new citizen. (They need you!). Love from Geisters everywhere!

Go BZ go!

– Mary Schlendinger and Stephen Osborne, Geist


Barbara Zatyko is the heart and soul of Magazines Canada.

– Mark Jamison, former Magazines Canada CEO


BZ, it’s been wonderful working with you and getting to know you over all these years (years!). I’ve really appreciated how organized, how responsive to our (sometimes snippy) requests, and how calm you’ve been (seemed?) when things have got stressful. Your wonderful sense of humour, positive attitude and warm welcomes are always a highpoint whether we’re connecting on the phone, by email or in person. And Denver was a blast (remember it was snowing when we left?!) as was our road trip to the printing press—both welcome opportunities to get to know you better. All the very best for your well-deserved next chapter!

– Matt Hilliard-Forde, OMDC


Dear Barb –

It’s been an absolute pleasure to get to know you and work with you over the years! You have amazing people skills and a quiet but very effective leadership style that always gets the job done, with everyone lined up behind the same goals. Your friends at the OMDC will miss you terribly … you are one of a (very special) kind and irreplaceable!

I wish you all the best in this exciting new phase in your life and I can’t wait to visit and hear all about your new adventures!

– Karen Thorne-Stone, OMDC


Dear Barbara –

From when I first met you at MagNet to our recent FIPP adventures in east London, you have been a dear friend and generous colleague. It’s people like you who make this industry a joy. You are a treasure.

– Melony Ward, Canada’s History

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