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Meet The Word Factory Team

The Word Factory's gear boxThe Word Factory's team is made up of experienced journalists, communicators and designers 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.

Meet our team

Margot Carmichael Lester, founder, content producer, writing coach 

I’m living proof you can be old school and au courant at the same time. I still write regularly for a print 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 coach professionals who want to boost their communications chops -- mostly execs working on special projects (giant presentations, reorgs, digital transformations) or upper management who desire better skills to move up the ladder.  My projects also include consulting with start-ups and Fortune 100 companies on communications and content strategy, workflow optimization and talent management/development. I've got three books to my name, including the award-winning Be a Better Writer, a guide for young writers. In my off-hours, I love to cook (and eat); listen to music and watch sports; and follow local, state and national politics — except when the UNC Tar Heels are playing basketball. Learn more about me on Linkedin. Fun fact: I love to cook (and eat), listen to music, watch sports (especially Carolina basketball) and follow local, state and national politics.

Ben Hippen, MD, healthcare and health sciences editor - Decorah, Iowa

Ben Hippen, MD, is the health care and health sciences editor for The Word FactoryMy career includes professional experience as a composer, songwriter, software developer, and emergency physician. Along the way I’ve had experience writing long- and short-form fiction, nonfiction, blogs, poetry, lyrics and software. I’ve lived in the rural heartland, the urban coasts and the Horn of Africa. Since retiring from medicine I’ve been devoting my time to writing and editing (both prose and music). At The Word Factory: Ben reviews all our health, wellness and medical content for accuracy and voice. Fun fact: Ben's favorite backpack has been with him to six continents; they still haven't gotten to Antarctica.

Taylor Sisk, writer & editor,  Nashville, Tenn.

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 LinkedinAt The Word Factory: Taylor is a true general assignment reporter, but he's our go-to on all aspects of health and healthcare (including policy), and for personality and customer profiles.

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 brand journalism, blogging, novels, and screenplays. At The Word Factory: Pete covers technology, cybersecurity, parenting and sandwich-generation issues. Fun fact: Margot, Pete and two other friends once took an epic trip to Cuba.

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 workAt The Word Factory: Marc designs everything from meaty ebooks to beautiful infographics. He also designed the icon set based on our logo. Fun fact: Marc and Margot met at Griffith Park when they lived in Hollywood and volunteered together at ArtShare L.A.

Liz Hester, writer - Raleigh, N.C.

liz-2 smallI bring a decade of experience in the financial services industry to my work, which includes writing and editing, content marketing, project management, strategic communications, public relations and internal communications. I worked for JPMorgan Chase and Bloomberg News in New York before returning to the greener spaces of my native North Carolina. Learn more about me on LinkedIn. At The Word Factory: Liz covers business, especially B2B, and specializes in finance. Fun fact: When not writing, Liz most likely to be found cycling or spending time with her puppy.

Mike Plotnick, writer - Maryland Heights, Mo.

Mike PlotnickSkillfully straddling the worlds of traditional and social media, I specialize in crafting compelling stories that connect with diverse audiences. Before launching my own consulting practice in 2012, I was communications manager at HOK and communications leader at MasterCard Worldwide. Learn more about me at my website. At The Word Factory: Mike's covered all aspects of small business, plus architecture, design and development. Fun fact:  Mike's eclectic hobbies include fitness, dogs and cats, essential oils and the St. Louis Cardinals.

Carolyn Evans, PR & 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.  Learn more about me on LinkedIn. At The Word Factory: Carolyn is our retail guru and covers small business, education and parenting topics. Fun fact: Carolyn joined the Word Factory in 1995 as its first intern from UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Media & Journalism and never really left.

Jillian Lee Gray, intern - Suffern, N.Y.

I began working with The Word Factory in the summer of 2018, helping with social media marketing to tweens and teens, and participating in our social justice pro bono work. I also penned an article on summer recipes for one of our healthcare marketing clients. I want to pursue a career in medicine after graduation. Fun Fact: Jillian is Margot's niece.

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