NI Manager retires after 27 years

Gabrielle Leitner, Executive Editor

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  After nearly 27 years of working at the Northern Iowan, Business Manager Michele Smith retired on January 14, 2020. A party was held at The Horny Toad on Main Street for friends, family and colleagues on the same day.

Michele said that she enjoyed her time working with thousands of students who have touched her heart throughout the years.

“The newspaper staff allowed me to understand each and every one of you what your goals were while attending UNI,” she said in an email. She hoped to help everyone succeed and have a positive experience while attending UNI.

Michele has been a staple at the Northern Iowan, selling ads across the Cedar Valley and offering support to her students. She saw the newspaper industry pivot and set her students up for success. She often told me as executive editor that I was her boss, rather than she being mine; however, it was hard not to look up to someone who has so much knowledge and experience in the college newspaper world. She’s traveled all over the United States to attend College Media Business and Advertising Managers (CMBAM) conference with various members of the NI staff.

Michele would do anything for her students to ensure they had a good experience.

I will look back fondly on our lunches at Chad’s (and being called “the chicken ladies”) and Sub City, along with our Texas Roadhouse lunches, especially since that was the first time I ever got the pleasure of meeting Michele.

I’ll never forget the morning in January 2018 where our papers were delayed and she enlisted us to help distribute. I was in the NI offices and Michele did not recognize me, even though we had met prior.

Michele always has the candy dish full and ready for visitors or staff members to grab a piece (or five). Whenever she would open a new bag of candy that I like, she would always sneak me a pile to hide in my desk. 

Michele is such a great personality and I am so lucky to know her and call her a friend. It is safe to say that Michele left her mark on the paper and on the lives of her students. On behalf of the Northern Iowan, we wish Michele the best with her retirement. We know she won’t sit still for long.