Shona Burns: 2008 Publishing Executive Hall of Fame Inductee
When Shona Burns first entered college, she was unsure of what she wanted to study. “I started out doing a business studies degree,” she recalls. “I was bored rigid. … I had met a couple of fellow students who were getting a publishing degree and found what they were talking about a lot more interesting than what I was doing myself.” Burns switched majors, and business studies’ loss was forever publishing’s gain. Through the ensuing decades, the initial enthusiasm she felt for publishing only grew, manifesting itself in an outstanding record of professionalism, innovation and service that has earned Burns the praise of her peers, a position as executive director of production at Chronicle Books and a place in the Publishing Executive Hall of Fame, the nation’s most prestigious honor in print production.
“Amidst the constant changes and challenges which circulate within the realm of publishing and manufacturing, Shona has always demonstrated a continued commitment to being knowledgeable about all aspects of the industry,” says John Sabella, senior vice president of national sales at Lehigh Phoenix, who has worked with Burns frequently over many years. “She has embraced and exuded the highest business ethics and has modeled, for the rest of us, a tireless dedication to her work. Our industry has evolved and grown stronger because of her many contributions.”
A Change Manager
In the course of a varied career, Burns has demonstrated how a willingness to learn, coupled with an innovative spirit, can translate into success. Rather than resisting the technological and workflow developments that have transformed publishing during the past 15 years, Burns has embraced them to maximum strategic advantage. If not always the first, she consistently has proven herself to be one of the smartest on the block, and her efforts have paid major dividends for Chronicle Books.