Heather Garnos front facing photo, behind her is a window and curtains

A Q&A with New Harbinger’s New Chief Operating Officer Heather Garnos

On January 1, 2022, Heather Garnos—formerly vice president, publishing operations—officially became our chief operating officer. Let’s get to know Heather as she takes on her new role.

Q: What year did you start at NHP?

A: I joined NHP in 1999. I wasn’t looking to switch houses at the time, but two editor friends called to tell me I should apply. Really, they insisted that I apply. Both recommendations were based on these friends personally benefiting from New Harbinger books and thinking that I would be happier working here. I couldn’t ignore those endorsements! And they turned out to be right.

Q: What positions have you held at NHP?

A: I started as editorial manager, then was promoted to prepublication director, then VP of publishing operations. I’m also on the board of directors and the board of trustees for our employee stock ownership trust.

Q: What about New Harbinger made you stay?

A: So many reasons—our books and our authors, and the clear sense of what a New Harbinger book provides for the reader. The implementation of the employee stock ownership plan was a huge one for me. We have a culture that relies on all of us to do our best. We aren’t just working for the company—we are working for each other, for everyone’s long-term security. In our industry, that stability means a lot. Also, we recognize that we all have complex lives outside of the office, and we work to make sure that our work lives don’t overshadow our personal lives. And, on a day-to-day level, we have a lot of fun.

Q: What are some of your proudest moments at NHP?

A: The way we came together in March 2020 and in the two years since—there has been so much uncertainty and so much stress, both about what would happen in the business and how we would all take care of ourselves and our families. And what we did was show care for one another and a spirit that we would get through it together… and we did just that. The culture we’d been working to build really blew me away. I’m so proud of everyone at NHP.

Q: What is your favorite memory at NHP so far?

A: I have more than one. I often think about the moments when I heard the pitches for Untethered Soul and Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents and knowing that these were very important to put out into the world—even as they weren’t exactly classic New Harbinger books when we decided they were right for us. It feels good to have been here long enough to see how we have changed over time, and to be working with so many folks who came together to make those changes happen. I remember sitting at the back of a Kelly Wilson workshop at ACBS Worldcon in 2010, crying my eyes out and thinking, “Oh… I get it now. And I have some work to do.” NHP’s investment in connecting with the communities we publish has facilitated so many positive changes for me. Another big one was having the opportunity to attend my first ABAI in Chicago in 2019. I was walking around completely intimidated by the terminology until I stumbled into a session that related to areas of life that mean a lot to me. I now have my MS in applied behavior analysis and just this month became a BCBA. That was my fun pandemic project.

Q: In your opinion, what are some of the most interesting subjects that we publish on?

A: Naturally I’m very excited about our behavior analysis books because my personal time over the last couple of years has been devoted to that topic. My studies have also helped me see our acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) books in a new way. And everything we do to reach outside of diagnostic categories, and to position books so that readers can recognize that a product will meet their needs, especially if they don’t have access to mental health services—I’m so proud of how we as a team have kept that value in mind. There is a genuine desire across the company to help readers feel seen, and it’s so rewarding when we provide something that resonates and is shared by word of mouth—which is so very similar to how I came to work here in the first place.

Q: What are you looking forward to in your new position as chief operating officer?

A: I’m happy to have even more opportunities to prioritize an environment of growth for all our employee owners, by continuing to work to make our shared purpose clear and ensure that folks can work from their strengths while also having support in stretching outside their comfort zones. There are so many points in my history here where I had the opportunity to find my voice and use it, and I will always be assessing what we do according to that value. Nothing makes me happier than seeing our employee-owners grab the reins and try new things, and I’m committed to providing an environment where that is encouraged and rewarded.

Q: What is your vision for the future of NHP operations?

A: To promote understanding of the interdependence of all our internal teams, and our authors, and our readers; to ensure that we keep our eyes and ears open to one another’s needs and the needs of our authors and readers; and, a big one, to navigate an increasingly complex process of reaching readers with the tools they need in the face of increasing supply chain challenges. I believe the culture we have built from the beginning, starting with our founders and continuing through the employee ownership transition, has prepared us beautifully. We have a strong foundation, and I feel so honored to be asked to keep building on what has come before.

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