Goodbye to a Visionary
Oct 28, 2013 02:29PM
● By Maisie Raftery, Publisher
Like most other Natural Awakenings publishers, the first person I encountered in exploring this publishing opportunity was John R. Voell, company co-founder. As ‘Chief Visionary’, he catalyzed the vision for CEO Sharon Bruckman to reach beyond the original healthy living, healthy planet magazine she established in Southwest Florida in 1994.
By 1999, the two partners were piloting their first franchise and soon began the process of seeding local Natural Awakenings editions across the U.S. and in Puerto Rico. Gradually spreading throughout Florida, up the East Coast and then westward, many new magazines were established by those picking up a copy while visiting being inspired to bring Natural Awakenings back to their own communities. Together, the larger publishing family now applies this awesome vehicle to sharing positive, cutting-edge messages relating to natural health and wellness and sustainable living with 3.8 million readers each month.
I am glad that during a turning point in my own personal evolution I chose to step beyond my comfort zone to take the leap of faith needed to bring Natural Awakenings to Greater Boston in April, 2011. The first thing John said to me after signing up was, “You have no idea what you have just done.” He explained that my life was going to change dramatically through the relationships that would inevitably follow. I would be forced to grow… and boy was he right!
Our dear friend John passed last month and we are honoring him as we continue to appreciate his contribution to all our lives. How fitting that November’s themes of Personal Growth and Mindfulness reflect the passion he exemplified daily for moving self-reflection into outward actions helping others. Without him, Natural Awakenings of Boston would not exist.
I hope you will continue to enjoy the magazine each month for many years to come.
Maisie Raftery, Publisher
John R. Voell, father, author and visionary co-founder of Natural Awakenings Publishing Corporation, has served as a mentor to our family of publishers for 15 years. During John’s time with us, the Universe responded to his faithful living of the principle to love God, one’s self and others by providing fertile soil for the big ideas he relished nurturing. His books, Cancer: How to Heal It—How to Prevent It and Cancer Report, as well as his latest development project, United We Can, were just a few of the ways that John allowed himself to be an instrument of the Divine in helping humankind.
John was passionate about the success of our magazine, pleased and proud that the now 90-strong family of Natural Awakenings franchise publishers touch the lives of millions of readers each month. He’s known around here for saying, “I don’t know what your spiritual beliefs are, but I believe that when I leave this world, I’m going to somehow measure my success by those I’ve helped along the way.” Those that knew and worked with him would say that he more than succeeded—he soared.