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Executive director of MennoMedia plans to resign

8.11. 2017 Written By: MennoMedia release 513 Times read

Russ Eanes has announced his intention to resign as executive director of MennoMedia and its book imprint Herald Press, effective early 2018.

Eanes was named executive director to lead MennoMedia in 2011, when the new organization was formed from a merger of Mennonite Publishing Network and Third Way Media and set up its headquarters in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

Under Eanes’s leadership the organization expanded and revitalized its Herald Press book imprint, which saw a 20 percent increase in sales for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2017.

In recent years the organization has copublished a new children’s Sunday school curriculum called Shine: Living in God’s Light. A highlight of that ongoing curriculum, copublished with Brethren Press, has been the successful launch of the Shine On story Bible.

Last year MennoMedia began work on a new worship and song collection, scheduled to be published in 2020.

Eanes has been keen on learning from peers and translating best practices in publishing to the ongoing work of MennoMedia and Herald Press.

Previously an ordained pastor, Eanes first begin specific work in trade book publishing with Plough Publishing 20 years ago. “Serving as publisher first with Plough and these past six years with Herald Press and MennoMedia has been one of the dreams of my lifetime,” said Eanes. “I love the business of publishing, being able to take an author or writer’s ideas and put them between covers, to work with creative editors, designers, and marketers,” he said of his work.

He has also enjoyed in recent years collaboration with constituents and leaders across the Mennonite church in North America and abroad. “I will miss the many valued relationships with colleagues in other Mennonite Church USA and Mennonite Church Canada organizations, area conferences and agencies. I will especially miss working with the wonderful staff that it has been my privilege to lead over the past six years.”

Eanes started at what was then Mennonite Publishing Network in 2007 as director of finance and operations. He oversaw the merger of MPN and Third Way Media and the relocation from Scottdale, Pennsylvania, to Harrisonburg. Eanes is currently president of the Protestant Church-Owned Publishers Association, a group representing the major denominational publishing houses in North America. “I especially have enjoyed getting to know and exchange ideas with my peers in other publishing houses,” said Eanes.

“We are grateful for Russ’s deep commitment for producing quality resources for living Christian faith from an Anabaptist perspective,” said Lee Schmucker, chair of the MennoMedia board. “Russ has implemented many best practices in a fast-changing publishing industry, resulting in transformation of operations and marketing.”

Schmucker noted that under Eanes’s leadership, Christian formation resources and the Herald Press imprint have been strengthened and the market expanded beyond Mennonite churches and members. “Through his ardent attention to streamlining operations, overhead has been reduced and debt has been eliminated. Russ has served MennoMedia well during his 10 years of dedicated service,” she stated.

Going forward, MennoMedia’s management team and board are carefully considering how to reconfigure the organization to meet the changing demands of the church and the changing environment in publishing. The board and management will be meeting face to face at the end of September to finalize plans for leadership succession.

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