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Los Angeles Business Journal CEO On The Changing Media Landscape, and Business Advice

My interview with Anna Magzanyan, Publisher & CEO of The Los Angeles Business Journal

Anna Magzanyan is, among many things, the Publisher & CEO of The Los Angeles Business Journal. She is a media and marketing genius. A thoughtful participant in conversations around equity for women. And a working mom.

In her current role, she leverages print media, digital media, and events to empower and connect Los Angeles businesspeople.

In this interview, Anna Magzanyan speaks with host, Nathalie Virem about:

  • The unconventional trajectory of her career
  • The changing media landscape
  • The role of The LABJ in empowering women
  • Advice for women in the business world

Nathalie Virem: Can you share with us your journey on becoming the publisher and the CEO of The Los Angeles Business Journal?

Anna Magzanyan: It was kind of an unprecedented journey. Something I hadn’t planned. After college, I stumbled into the media industry.

I worked at an agency on brands like Ketel One Vodka and Crystal Cruises. After a few years, I had the opportunity to go and work [in-house] at The Los Angeles Times.

I learned a lot there. It gave me the opportunity to operate as an entrepreneur in a corporate environment. I launched new products such as “Image Section,” which is their fashion brand. “The Envelope” and “The Envelope Screening Series,” which are entertainment products.

It gave me experience in areas that I didn’t know anything about. Such as event planning. Which in turn taught me a lot about revenue generation and consumer engagement.

After The Los Angeles Times, I went to iHeartRadio. Then to The Hollywood Reporter. And finally a video game company called Omnia Media. Which is where I met Matt Toledo, the CEO of The Los Angeles Business Journal at the time.

Soon, I began consulting to oversee the events division of the business. Then he invited me to take a look at the marketing—to help grow audience and to look at the print audience segments.

Fast forward a bit and I took over the sales department. And then, within less than two years, he put my name forward for the CEO position. It was huge complement and a bittersweet promotion because I looked up to Matt.

Image courtesy of Nathalie Virem

Nathalie Virem: I read that The Los Angeles Business Journal is trying to promote their digital portfolio and expand their event franchise. What can you share with us about what’s next?

Anna Magzanyan: We have a few exciting things that are coming up. Some things I can share, some things I can’t quite yet.

The print product for The Los Angeles Business Journal has sustained itself as a leader. We have not hurt in circulation. In a strange way, while every media entity is imploding, we’ve been protected (in a weird way).

A lot of it is because the publication is glossy, and easy to consume. It’s visually compelling. It is a utility for folks doing business in Los Angeles. There’s an index in the back that a lot of folks use to see if their clients or their competitors are being covered. If you are a businessperson in Los Angeles, it’s not possible to avoid The Los Angeles Business Journal.

Content consumption isn’t about focusing on one distribution channel. It’s not about us growing on digital. It’s about providing good content and using many distribution channels. Such as print, digital, and social platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

Digital has helped us to increase our engagement. Now, we can see what articles, sections, and reporters people are reading more than others.

One of the things we also do very well is to bring the business community together. That was one of the reasons why I took the job to work at The Los Angeles Business Journal.

At these events, the intel, networking, talent, business community, and level of engagement is magnificent. Nothing I’d ever seen before in any of the media companies I’d worked with. People love our brand.

Nathalie Virem: There seems to be more awareness around women’s equity and empowerment today, especially in business. Why do you think this is the case?

Anna Magzanyan: There was always this awareness around it. Women in the past have all thought about it. We have all experienced it.

But for whatever reason, we have never voiced it. Because it takes a lot of courage to step up and have a conversation. And as we’ve seen in the most recent months, unfortunately, sometimes it takes a bad situation for it to occur. So that we all can step up and say “Hey, Enough!”

Nathalie Virem: Like the “Me Too” Movement.

Anna Magzanyan: Exactly; I get goose bumps thinking about it. The strength of some of these female celebrities is amazing. They have experienced some horrible things and their speaking up helps.

One more voice always helps give strength to others to speak. We have more courage to speak now. Women are standing up for one another. Now more than ever that strength is here.

Nathalie Virem: It seems like perfect timing for The Los Angeles Business Journal to empower women and raise voices at events like today’s ‘2018 Women’s Council & Awards’.

Anna Magzanyan: I don’t ever look at our events as the empowerment for women. Because it feels like women are the most powerful people alive. I mean—we are phenomenal beings and there are some amazing men that are supporting us.

My spouse is one of them and my son is hopefully going to be one of them.

The notion of intimate relationships even has changed over the years. Before the male was the breadwinner and the woman took care of the house.

Partnership is the “new relationship,” right?

We work together. We build an empire together. We raise our kids together. And that is more important than ever.

Because we are successful at work. We’re great businesswomen. We multitask and we can get things done. We are efficient with our time.

Our events are not empowering women. Women are already empowered; we are bringing them together to celebrate.

Nathalie Virem: What advice can you give to support women in business in today’s world?

Anna Magzanyan: I would say: work hard, know your worth, don’t make excuses, and open the door for a few more women.

At the end of the day, I believe in the old proverb:

You can run really fast by yourself but you can get further with the group of folks.”

We need to support one another. It shouldn’t even be a conversation; it should be a nature for us to do this.

We all give back in different ways. Some of with our time. Some of us with money. Some of us with mentoring.

It’s important to find your purpose in life and embrace it. Don’t try to be somebody you are not.

Be true to who you are. There’s nothing more powerful than being honest with yourself and embracing it. And then bringing that to the community and to the workforce.

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Anna Magzanyan is the Publisher and CEO of the Los Angeles Business Journal (LABJ). In this capacity, she oversees all operational, sales and editorial aspects of the company. The award-winning Los Angeles Business Journal examines the many ways that the L.A. economy operates. First-rate editorial and research teams provide in-depth analyses of the community’s dynamic business and economic scene.

Magzanyan comes to the Business Journal from a rich background with various Los Angeles based media companies. 

She has been recognized by the Armenian American Chamber of Commerce as their Corporate Woman of the Year, and was honored twice by the Los Angeles Times with their Publisher’s Award.

She is a graduate of Cal State Northridge with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and holds an MBA from the University of La Verne. She resides in Tarzana with her husband and their two children.

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