By Will Edwards
This article was originally published in Issue 11, Fiftieth Year of The Minstrel (March 24, 2016). Click here to view the entire issue.
Part one of three in a series about pursuing employment at Lehigh Valley companies
Nestled on the west side of South Mountain—a 10-minute drive from DeSales—Emmaus, Pa., feels a little bit like it was picked up from Colorado’s Western Slope and dropped in the Lehigh Valley, offering refuge for those here who long for a lifestyle rich in outdoor recreation.
This is thanks in large part to Rodale Inc., the multi-million dollar publishing company that lays claim to titles like Runner’s World, Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Bicycling, Organic Life and Prevention.
Rodale Inc. was founded in 1930 by J.I. Rodale, a New Yorker-turned-Pennsylvanian who believed modern farming practices, like the use of pesticides, were harmful to both the earth and human health. Since first publishing Organic Farming and Gardening magazine in 1937 as a way to advocate for natural farming, the company has grown to reach over 100 million readers worldwide through its books and periodicals.
Their South Mountain Center in Emmaus is home to a fully organic cafeteria, as well as perks like garden plots for the use of its employees, many of whom go on bike rides and runs during their lunch breaks and enjoy on-site showers and locker room towel service.
Since 1947, Rodale Inc. has also owned and operated the Rodale Institute, a farm in Kutztown, Pa., that is home to groundbreaking research findings in the benefits of organic farming.
What Type of Work Will I Do?
Rodale’s foremost economic enterprise is publishing, so a large percentage of its employees are magazine staffers. This includes positions like editors (both print and online), designers and staff writers or reporters.
Much of the work they do entails writing, fact-checking, editing and interviewing, just like at any other media outlet – but Rodale is different in that the subject matter of the content they produce often requires more hands-on activity.
“We test a lot of stuff that comes through our offices, and we get to go cool places sometimes to test that gear,” says Taylor Rojek, an associate online editor at Bicycling magazine and a 2012 graduate of DeSales. Some of those places, Rojek says, include states like Arizona and Utah for the magazine’s annual “Editor’s Choice” test rides, and foreign countries like France and Germany for race coverage and other miscellaneous events, like the annual Eurobike convention. Rojek herself traveled to Taiwan in 2013 as a freelancer for Bicycling to cover the island nation’s growing reputation as a cycling destination.
At Runner’s World, staff members test shoes and clothes and travel to some of the country’s largest marathons to either run in them or cover them, giving the employees access to rub elbows with and interview some of the world’s most elite distance runners. And at Men’s Health, employees try different training regimens and food recipes and test anything from Nerf guns to hard cider.
But according to anyone you seem to ask at the company, the best part about working there is being encouraged to live the lifestyle Rodale promotes, whether that’s through running, organic gardening, eating healthy or cycling.
“If you’re into running, there’s probably no better place to be than Runner’s World,” says Runner’s World reporter Kit Fox. “Rodale’s company culture is they really believe what they write about… It’s very encouraged to go take an hour to run at lunch.”
In addition to their editorial positions, Rodale also employs accounting, marketing, public relations, human resources, legal and information technology staffs at its headquarters in Emmaus and in its Chicago, Los Angeles and New York offices. Plant and livestock researchers are also employed at the Rodale Institute.
How to Get Hired
“Do not take it personally; just do it again, because that gets noticed–that you’re trying,” she says. “You may have missed it the first time because of something that’s not even in your control.”
Rojek also says the biggest leg up that future full-time applicants can have is internship experience at the company, which she had at Bicycling during her senior year at DeSales. (The company fills their internship positions with both recent graduates and students still pursuing a degree.) And both Rojek and Kristin Eicholtz, director of DeSales’ Career Development Center, say it’s passion for what the company does that will set the candidate up for success more than anything else.
“[Taylor] sought an internship within a company that she knew was all about her passions, and she succeeded in it because she knew it was something she wanted to invest her time in, and they hired her full-time,” Eicholtz says. “And that’s one thing that I always tell students to do is sometimes shed the noise of what people say you should be doing and follow what you’re most passionate about. Because in the long run it’s going to pan out—it’s going to work out for you.”
Eicholtz encourages students to use the resources offered by the Career Development Center, like resume critiques, mock interviews and a catalogue of past internships completed by students that includes first-hand accounts of their experiences. She also recommends joining the Job Search Club, which meets once a week and develops skills like networking, goal-setting, financial planning and salary negotiation, among others. But both Eicholtz and Rojek say it’s ultimately up to the student to be a self-starter and to utilize the means DeSales provides.
“You have to take the opportunities that you want: you can’t rely on DeSales to provide everything for you,” Rojek says. “You have to figure out what you want to do, develop your own passions and use what DeSales has to get you where you want to go.”
For a list of employment and internship opportunities at Rodale Inc., visit rodaleinc.com/ content/career-opportunities. To view open positions at the Rodale Institute, visit rodaleinstitute.org/ dig-deeper/work-with-us/.