Photography by Ivory Tree Portraits.
A Philadelphia native with a degree in journalism, Laurie Wightman has enjoyed a bicoastal career in media that has encompassed everything from ad sales for national magazines to founding and running a local publication. Since taking the reins as editor/owner of The Scout Guide Main Line & Philadelphia in 2017, Wightman has married her natural talent for sales and love of storytelling with a passion for supporting small businesses and relationship-building. “Owning The Scout Guide has allowed me to create a wonderful community of unique and interesting individuals who have really added to my own life,” she says. The dynamic editor, avid traveler, and Grateful Dead fan will launch the sixth volume of The Scout Guide Main Line & Philadelphia later this month.
TSG: Tell us a little about your professional background and career path.
LW: My career has always been in media, particularly with national publications, such as Entertainment Weekly, People, InStyle, and Martha Stewart Living, with my primary focus being in advertising sales. Prior to becoming editor of The Scout Guide Main Line & Philadelphia, I founded and ran another local publication named Wayne Magazine.
I absolutely loved The Scout Guide’s mission of fully supporting local businesses through an elevated marketing experience paired with stunning branding. I also appreciate being part of a supportive community of editors and staff, in addition to working with local business owners who contribute so much to our cities.
Being in sales my entire career most certainly was excellent preparation for understanding how to own and run a business. I was already trained in being a self-starter, understanding how to be proactive about how to gain a client base and increase revenue. I was also fully vetted in having to maintain an expense account which merely turned into understanding accounts receivables with my own business. Of course, there was still so much I needed to learn, but I did feel I had a strong foundation from my advertising/marketing sales background in place.
Behind the scenes of a TSG Main Line & Philadelphia shoot.
Sales has always come naturally to me, and I enjoy the process of prospecting new and existing clients. To that point, I equally love building lasting relationships with my clients. I love hearing people’s stories and trying to figure out ways to meaningfully help them reach their goals. I could spend hours sitting with each of my clients simply learning more about their own lives and businesses. Additionally, I enjoy the creative process of coming up with clever ideas for each of my client’s photoshoots and annual marketing campaigns. It’s a creative outlet that I have found true enjoyment in and I think we all try to just have a lot of fun working together.
TSG: What is a typical day for you like?
LW: Every day is very different. Some days I have three or four meetings. Other days I’m in the office all day working out content for blogs, newsletters, and social media. On really good days, I’m out and about sprinkling guides around town, popping into clients’ businesses to catch up, a few sales meetings, and maybe a happy hour drink with a prospective client!
I am launching The Scout Guide Main Line & Philadelphia, Volume 6 this month, and I can’t wait to see each of my clients and share in that exciting moment of revealing the new guides, and see their faces light up when they open up to their beautiful spread in the guide. I get equally excited for all of my clients as it truly is such a collaborative effort with each of them.
Laurie with husband Michael at Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards in Charlottesville, Virginia.
TSG: Tell us a little bit about your work/life balance.
LW: It’s a challenge for sure. As anyone who owns their own business knows, you work all the time. But when it’s something that you truly enjoy, it doesn’t always feel like work. With that being said, I make sure to do yoga four to five times a week, along with meditation practices that have helped me find a little inner peace each day. In the evenings I make sure to spend time with my husband, who lovingly makes me the most epic meals as we listen to jazz, enjoy some wine, and catch up on the day. I also find it essential to get away each quarter, whether it be a road trip or traveling overseas, just to enjoy life and reset a bit.
TSG: How are you enjoying your downtime right now?
LW: These days it’s the simple things that really matter. My husband recently bought me the hottest Bianchi bike and we have been having a blast riding our bikes around town, popping into Wissahickon Brewery, then meandering our way to a great spot to catch the sunset over the Schuylkill River.
TSG: What do you love most about your city?
LW: Our food scene; with the warm weather upon us and vaccines slowly becoming available to everyone, I am so excited to see our local restaurant scene coming back to life! Our art museums. And more and more outdoor urban spaces in which to gather, which has added to the beauty of Philadelphia.
THE HIT LIST: LAURIE’S FAVORITES
Band: Grateful Dead and Phish
Drink: These days it’s a concoction my husband has been crafting. The Grapefruit Sidecar—freshly squeezed grapefruit, whiskey, Grand Marnier, and rosemary aromatics. But I stop at one.
Book: Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen
Movie: It’s a tie. Almost Famous and Love Actually.
Favorite vacation spot: Anywhere in France
Laurie’s dog Finn at home.
Favorite accessory: My dog, Finn
Piece of clothing: My Smythe black blazer. It goes with everything!
Most treasured possession: My engagement ring. It was the best day of my life, truly. Looking at my ring every day reminds me of that.
Real life hero: My Mother. She has endured so much throughout her life and yet she still chooses to maintain a positive attitude, see the best in people, continue to live life to the fullest, and be a terrific role model as a mother and an unbelievably strong woman.
Motto: You have to believe in yourself. That’s the secret. If you do this, the rest of the world can’t help but believe in you, too.