DAA Winner: Deborah Wyatt Fellows, '78

Albion College Distinguished Alumni Award winner Deborah Wyatt Fellows, '78.

Deb Fellows promptly began contemplating the life of a writer upon graduating from Albion with Phi Beta Kappa honors and majors in English and sociology. After many months of traveling, she found a magazine job in the big city ... working on such inspiring titles as Industrial Waste and Water and Sewage Works.

After two years in Chicago's trade publishing scene, she moved to Northern Michigan to figure out how to wed her now-true passion for magazines with her desire to live in the beautiful northern reaches of the Great Lakes State. Not long afterward--in June 1981--with a pledged $20,000, Fellows, at the age of 24, launched Traverse, Northern Michigan's Magazine. From day one, its mission was to share stories that celebrate and protect the natural resources, small communities, and unique lifestyle of Northern Michigan.

Today, Fellows' Traverse City-based company, MyNorth Media, employs 26 people. Thirty years after its first issue, Traverse has a circulation of 30,000. It has won Magazine of the Year honors from the International Regional Magazine Association as well as First Place General Excellence awards from the City and Regional Magazine Association. Traverse is also the flagship of a group of eight magazines that includes Northern Home & Cottage. There's a book division, too: published titles include Fellows' own Reflections of a Life Up North, The Cottage Cookbook, and others.

Three years ago, MyNorth Media launched MyNorth.com; in 2010, the Web site received nearly a half-million visitors. Earlier this year, MyNorth Media was chosen as part of Folio magazine's Folio 40 for its innovative and successful use of multimedia.

Fellows has led national webinars for Folio, and she speaks at conferences around the country on such topics as blending new and traditional media. A member of Alpha Chi Omega who wrote for The Pleiad, Fellows has never forgotten Albion--regularly hiring students as interns. She's a former board member of the Leelanau Conservancy and also belongs to the smart growth-focused Elm Street Writers Guild.

Deb is married to psychiatrist Neal Fellows; they live on the shores of Lake Leelanau in Leelanau County and have four children: sons Ben, Peter, and Austin, and daughter Olivia.