It was nice to be finalists in nine categories—by far the most in Smart Meetings’ history—at the Western Publishers Association’s 2016 Maggie Awards, but it’s even nicer to win. We captured honors for Best eNewsletter and a few minutes later, won for Best Trade publication (our October 2015 issue).

I made sure to take a selfie with the other Smart Meetings staff members present—Art Director Garrick Naguit and Chief Copy Editor Dan Johnson. We have such an engaged team here at SM and it is wonderful to win awards for something we all feel very passionate about. It was a perfectly fitting thing to do since one of the main features in our winning issue was a special supplement showing selfies of CVB leaders from throughout the world.

We all had a grand time at the event, held at Sheraton Gateway Los Angeles Hotel. Soon after we arrived, we listened to a presentation by Samir Husni, aka “Mr. Magazine,” the director of the Magazine Innovation Center at the University of Mississippi’s School of Journalism. He’s also the author of the annual Samir Husni’s Guide to New Magazines, which is now in its 25th year, as well as several other books. Drawing from his extensive experience, Husni discussed the current state of the magazine industry, and gave us many reasons to be hopeful for a bright (excuse the pun) future. He shared that statistics show that people spend an average of four minutes on a website and 40 minutes reading a magazine—pointing out that print is far from dead.

Husni also stated that when new college students are accepted, their preferred way to receive notices is via mail, the old-fashioned way. He said that more kids are reading books than ever and that when he asked his grandson which he preferred—his books or iPad—he said, “I don’t want to choose. I want both!” He was also quick to point out that with a brand like ours, we are able to reach customers that count for our clients, instead of merely counting customers to boost numbers that don’t have the capacity to do business with you.

Following the presentation, we attended a cocktail gathering where we enjoyed chatting with other publication industry leaders. Then the nearly 300 print and online professionals headed to the Maggie Awards Banquet. It’s the most prestigious publishing event in the West, bringing together professionals from 24 states to honor excellence in publishing in more than 100 editorial, design, promotional and event categories.

It’s a treat to get together with others who are movers and shakers in the publishing industry—people who share my passion and ideals. And of course, I’m proud of our magazine’s accomplishment. But I must admit that it’s also pretty awesome to be representing the meetings and events industry when I’m honored in these situations. Our industry is doing such an amazing job of boosting people, companies and organizations throughout the world, and we’re really blessed with hundreds of colorful and cutting-edge stories to tell.

At the 2015 Maggie Awards, I received the Western Publishing Association Award of Distinction in Leadership. This year, I was asked to present the third annual award for distinguished publishing. As a longtime leader in the meetings industry and winner of Folio’s 2015 Top Women in Media Awards as a corporate visionary, I always enjoy playing a small part in recognizing the outstanding work of others in the industry. I also always come away from these gatherings with lots of new ideas. So watch out, Smart Meetings readers. You haven’t seen nuthin’ yet!

Marin Bright is CEO and founder of Bright Business Media, LLC, which publishes Smart Meetings magazine. She was honored during the 2015 Folio’s Top Women in Media Awards as a corporate visionary.