Nancy Novogrod: Editor-in-Chief of Travel + Leisure

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As the editor in chief of Travel + Leisure for the last two decades, Nancy Novogrod has become one of the preeminent voices in travel. Hailed as a “travel industry pioneer,” Nancy is widely recognized for her commitment to inspiring people to experience the world and her belief in the power of travel as a force for good. During Nancy’s tenure, Travel + Leisure has received numerous editorial awards in the U.S. and abroad, and has solidified its place as the most influential travel media brand out there, with the highest-circulation travel magazine and the largest travel magazine website.  In addition to her print and online responsibilities, Nancy oversees T+L’s iPad and eReader editions; social media initiative, with a following of more than two million; and network of five international editions in Mexico, Turkey, China, Southeast Asia, and India/South Asia.

Before joining Travel + Leisure in 1993, Nancy was editor in chief of House & Garden. Previously, she was executive editor at Clarkson Potter, now a division of Random House. At Potter, Nancy developed a series of highly successful lifestyle books, including High-Tech, French Style, and Caribbean Style. She began her publishing career in the fiction department of The New Yorker. A former trustee of her alma mater, Mount Holyoke College, Nancy is a member of the Board of Trustees of the American Academy in Rome and the New York Center for Children.

How did you get into the publishing industry?

I started off in the typing pool at The New Yorker, as my first job after college. I got it through an employment agency called Career Blazers—if they only knew!

Define Success.What does Success mean to you?

I know it may sound trite, but happiness for me is being engaged and fulfilled, which I still am at T+L after 21 years.

What is your favorite travel destination?

The next place I'm going to visit—always—but, in fact, this time it's Italy, which is pretty near heaven for me.

If there were one food and type of drink left on earth, what would that be?

I adore almost all cuisines I know where rice, noodles, and vegetables play a big role, along with Italian food for its simplicity. I like Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, Rosés from France, and Tequila--from Mexico, of course.

What traits do you believe contribute most in your becoming a great Editor-in-Chief?

My doggedness—seriously, I am super-determined to get it right, which never fully happens, in my view. Years ago when I was editor in chief of House & Garden, or HG as it was then called, Alex Liberman told me that he loved my self-doubt. He meant it as a compliment and I took it that way. In addition, I like people and I love coming up with new ideas—and I'm not so interested in precedent.

What's next for your magazine?

We are re-conceiving our website right now and evolving our front-of-book design, plus working on a video initiative.

Who is your role model, either living or past, whose beliefs you would like to emulate?

Fleur Cowles, the former columnist for The New York World-Telegram and editor at Look magazine, who created Flair magazine in Paris in the mid-twentieth century. It was a delightful mix of stylish design, culture, society, and travel. 

What reading material is on your bed stand?

I'm a huge reader of novels. Right now, I have Francine Prose's latest book, Lovers at the Chameleon Club, and a book by a young writer, Emma Straub, called The Vacationers, which takes place in Mallorca, where I'm heading on vacation this summer. Plus back issues of The New Yorker and, I hate to admit it, a couple of old sections from the New York Times.