After becoming president and CEO of Augsburg Fortress, Publishers, in September 2002, Beth Lewis embarked on a 19-day, 2,000-mile “listening tour.” As she drove from her residence in Boca Raton, Fla., to Minneapolis, visiting ELCA congregations, synods, colleges, seminaries and other institutions along the way.
“I learned a lot,” recalled Lewis, 53, a member of Calvary Lutheran Church, Minneapolis. “Some of our major resources that have been well-received in the church came directly from conversations I had on that road trip.”
Prior to her hiring, the search committee told Lewis that people perceived Augsburg Fortress as being disconnected—that its resources didn’t match ministry needs.
Lewis drew on her 22 years of sales, marketing, editorial and management experience from Time Warner
and Times Mirror, as well as four years’ experience as owner of a computer training school, in transforming the ELCA
’s separately incorporated publishing house from a struggling business with net losses in the millions into a profitable company. Today it offers more than 10,000 products to customers throughout the ELCA
, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada
and other denominations.New resources launched
During Lewis’ tenure, Augsburg Fortress
has launched new text and reference books for colleges, universities and seminaries. It’s added congregational resources such as the Here We Stand
confirmation curriculum; SundaysandSeasons.com
, a Web-based worship planning tool; Akaloo
, an intergenerational, Web-based faith formation resource; the “Lutheran Voices
” series on Lutheran heritage and theology; and Evangelical Lutheran Worship
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