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About The Word Factory

Why Choose The Word Factory?

Seems like you can’t throw a rock these days without hitting someone who’s a content or communications specialist. The Word Factory team is different. We’re pros with a deep understanding of the enterprise, strategy and operations. We blend good writing and communications with good business, helping clients get their words' worth since 1993.

Learn about our approach to business in this Q&A Margot did with the Talking Biz News blog.

  • We're trained journalists and communicators. We know how to create content and communications tactics that engage. Our writers are working reporters who made their livings writing well on deadline. The current content cycles don’t bother us. We’re used to crafting quality stuff on a tight time frame – and we’ve developed tools and processes to help others do the same – even non-writers! And our PR team are seasoned strategists and operationalizers skilled at creating communications that get results.
  • We understand business. We’ve been in business – everything from a family-owned business to a Fortune Global 500 company – and we understand the need for content to support operations and drive revenues. We work with you to operationalize your content activities and maximize head counts, so your content team is more efficient and cost-effective.
  • We're domain experts. Though we’ve all done turns as general assignment reporters and corporate communicators – meaning we can get up to speed on any topic quickly – we do have some very specific domain expertise in business journalism, and the real estate/architecture/development and pharma/medical/wellness areas.

The Word Factory is a certified woman-owned business and a SAM-certified federal contractor.

Meet our team

We're all based in Carrboro, N.C., unless otherwise noted.

Margot Carmichael Lester, founder & content tycoon

Margot Carmichael LesterI’m living proof you can be old school and au courant at the same time. I still write regularly for a print newspaper (the Los Angeles Business Journal) and a magazine (the International Cinematographers Guild Magazine), but most of my work these days is digital. I was doing brand journalism for Match.com in the early 00’s (before the term even existed) and manage our team of pros serving as virtual brand newsrooms for our clients. When I’m not slinging words, I consult with start-ups and Fortune 100 companies on communications strategy, media relations and operations. I've got three books to my name, including Be a Better Writer, a guide for young writers. In my off-hours, I love to cook (and eat); listen to music; and follow local, state and national politics--except when I’m watching football or the UNC Tar Heels. Learn more about me on Linkedin.

Steve Peha, senior sentence construction specialist 

Steve PehaI’ve been writing professionally for over 30 years. After college, I was a technical writer completing many user guides for then-famous products like the Finale Music Publishing System and the Kurzweil K-250 synthesizer. In my 30s, I wrote more than 200 columns on education in The Seattle Times' Effective Learning Series, which earned me the 2001 Innovator's in Education Award from The Newspaper Association of America. In 2006, I wrote Be a Better Writer, which won the Independent Publisher's Association Gold Medal for Young Adult Non-Fiction (the second edition is out now). My work has also appeared on popular websites like The Washington Post, The National Journal, and Psychology Today. Fun fact: Steve and Margot are married--to each other. Learn more about me on Linkedin.

Peter Andersen, writer & editor - Seattle, Wash.

AndersenI’ve been writing since I was a kid. In my professional life I’ve worked as a journalist, writing teacher, newspaper editor, freelancer, and technical writer. I spent 20 crazy years at Microsoft writing and producing software manuals in English and dozens of other languages. These days I focus on blogging, freelance, novels, and screenplays. Fun fact: Steve and Pete have been pals since 4th grade.

 

Marc Borzelleca, art director, designer, style guru – Staunton, Va. 

The Word Factory's Design Guru, Marc BorzellecaI've been working in the design industry for quite a long time, designing everything from logos and corporate branding to product and package design. From 2d to 3d, large to small, corporate to funky, I've covered them all.My goal is to make the world a more attractive place, one design at a time. Learn more about my approach to design and see my work. Fun Fact: Margot and I met at Lake Hollywood and volunteered together at ArtShare L.A.

 

Carolyn Evans, PR/social media & retail specialist, director of gracious living – Chapin, S.C.

Carolyn (1)“Do what you love, the money will come.” That doesn’t always hold true, but it works for me. I split my time between social media marketing for small companies and writing about the business and product sides of the retail industry. A self-proclaimed product maven, I consider every shopping trip to be a research expedition. I’ve written for Staples, Hanley Wood Business Media and the Carrboro Citizen, and have developed marketing campaigns for Southern Lure, Lawrence & Lillian and Design Design, Inc. Fun fact: I joined the Word Factory in 1995 as an intern from UNC-CH’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication and have never truly left. Learn more about me on Linkedin.

Liz Hester, writer & editor - Raleigh, N.C.

liz-2 smallLiz brings a decade of experience in the financial services industry to her work in communications. Her areas of expertise include writing and editing, content marketing, project management, strategic communications, public relations and internal communications. She worked for JPMorgan Chase and Bloomberg News in New York before returning to the greener spaces of her native North Carolina. When not writing, she’s most likely to be found cycling or spending time with her puppy. Learn more about Liz on LinkedIn.

Adela Mann, all-around good gal 

Adela2Adela started as an office assistant while still in middle school. She’s still helping us keep things orderly as our admin, archiver and dog walker. Adela also supports The Word Factory’s pro bono work for the N.C. Jaycee Burn Center, developing program ideas for high school clubs, assisting with event promotion and educational outreach, producing videos, and even penning an opinion piece for the local paper to inspire young people. Adela recently completed the summer Intensive Law & Trial program at Stanford and hopes to pursue a career in law after college.

Charlie Marcus, real estate expert, New York

charlie (1)I began my career as a developer and builder in the 1990s and have financed, built and managed dozens of projects, including The Ellington Condos, featured in the New York Times in 2003 as an outstanding example of a turn-around. I also co-founded PropertyShark.com, a leading property research resource. A registered broker, I consult with developers on property selection, advise brokers on positioning and marketing properties, and coach professionals on presenting to neighborhood groups, regulatory entities, investors and other high-stakes constituencies.

Mike Plotnick, story elevator - Maryland Heights, Mo.

Mike PlotnickSkillfully straddling the worlds of traditional and social media, Mike specializes in crafting compelling stories that connect with diverse audiences. Before launching his own consulting practice in 2012, he served as communications manager at HOK and communications leader at MasterCard Worldwide. Mike’s eclectic hobbies include fitness, dogs and cats, essential oils and the St. Louis Cardinals. Learn more about Mike at his website.

Taylor Sisk, lead writer & editor, sensei

SiskI’m a feature and enterprise writer who enjoys hearing and retelling people’s stories. I’ve interviewed ecologists, economists, undersea explorers, teenage philanthropists, sabermetricians, Shark Tank winners, hostage takers, Final Four champions, United Nations officials, radical priests, NASCAR legends, sexual-advise columnists, presidential candidates and death-row inmates. These experiences have informed my understanding of the interview process in particular and journalism in general. Learn more about me on Linkedin.

Juanita Wrenn, designer & illustrator

Nita is a print, digital and interactive designer and illustrator. She’s produced infographics for Staples and Salesforce, interactive exhibits for the Smithsonian Institution and the N.C. Zoo. She’s also produced traditional marketing materials for organizations including Duke University and Pergo Flooring. Nita also designed the cover of Be a Better Writer, Steve and Margot's book for young writers. When she’s not working, she’s a prolific photographer, sketcher and watercolorist—talents she frequently showcases on her Instagram feed. Learn more about Nita at her website. Fun fact: Nita and Margot have known each other since junior high.

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