2023 Interview Update With Shelly Lynn Hughes - Founder/Publisher of Fresh Magazine and Pursuit 365

Check out my March 2021 interview with Shelly Lynn Hughes on her journey to publishing HERE

It has been over 2 years since our previous interview on the journey that led you to run a successful magazine and launch an incredible book series - Pursuit 365. Readers would first love to hear an update on your life. What is new? What has changed?

First of all, Pursuit 365 has grown enormously since we last spoke, in ways I could have never anticipated. And it happened so much faster than I expected, too. It’s been overwhelming, but in the best possible way. 

Obviously, we’re no longer in lockdowns, or social distancing like we were in 2021, so this is having a huge impact on me and my business. Professionally, it means I’m able to do a lot more public speaking, and connect with other professionals in-person, which I love. Nothing compares to that real-time closeness and relationship-building. For instance, this week I’m attending an event for women entrepreneurs to connect and learn from each other over a shared meal. 

2023 Business Edition
Personally, I’ve been able to get out a lot more, too, which has been healthier for me in so many ways. For one thing, I’ve been able to get back to the gym and be more active again, but I’ve also been reconnecting with friends and family, which I really missed over the pandemic. Reconnecting socially is a big part of staying healthy for me, since it cheers me up and motivates me to stay active, sometimes with friends. I’ve always found mental and physical health to be extremely connected. 

So much has changed, and yet some things never do: I’m still a lone parent working full-time on Pursuit:365, and my amazing daughters are still my main reason for pursuing my vision with integrity everyday.

You launched your first Pursuit 365 edition In March 2021, and a second edition June 1st 2022. Can you share a bit about your journey those first two years to launch, promote and build on not only the pursuit books, but the expanding brand?

For me this all started off as an initiative to share Canadian women’s stories. Now it’s evolved into a multimedia story sharing platform that’s quickly become even more than I thought was possible. The books first became a community, and now it feels like a movement. The connections these books made possible are deep and meaningful, and reach all over the world, from India, to Australia, to Mexico, to the US, and most recently the UK. 

2022 Edition
The journey hasn’t always been smooth, but seeing how strong the bonds are, and how much of a resource they’ve become has made all the hard work worth it. I’d say it’s been exciting, but it’s been more than that. It’s been exhilarating, and it still is! Seeing how the growth of Pursuit:365 has reached so many people already, and provides so much support for their personal and professional lives, makes me even more inspired to see what else we can do together.

As someone featured in both book one and two - I was so excited to hear that your distribution had expanded into the international market. Can you share some of the places the Pursuit:365 is now available?

So far we are in Japan, Australia, The UK, Germany, The US, and Canada, and we continue to receive interest from other countries as we grow.

The first two books were focused on Canadians, but the third will feature contributors from the U.S. as well. What prompted this change? Will other countries be involved in future editions of Pursuit 365?

The next Pursuit:365 book will be our first Business Edition, and it features entrepreneurs and professionals from around the world, including the UK, Canada, the US, Australia and Mexico. The idea is to gather relevant, inspiring business expertise and success stories in one place. As an entrepreneur myself, I know how important and inspiring it is to hear from others about what they’ve been through and accomplished. 

2021 Edition
Sometimes there’s a trend that comes up in business that we can’t, or shouldn’t learn from each other, but I don’t think this way at all. I think hearing about other people’s journey’s is incredibly motivating and educational. At the same time, I think it’s important to recognize that even when our experiences are really different, or don’t immediately seem connected, they always are, and we can always learn from each other and grow more successful through that exchange. I think it’s important to remember that we don’t only have to think of ourselves as separated–by geography, or different beliefs and life experiences–we can also choose to look for our similarities and see ourselves as connected to each other, despite differences. 

We're currently working on a Pursuit:365 India Edition and have had interest from Africa, Australia, Mexico, and Poland.

What I love most is that growth of what being a part of Pursuit:365 has become. Can you share about the larger focus of this brand of which the book is only one part?

I would say that increasingly we’re interested in expanding and strengthening our community. Within that, we’re very focused on knowledge sharing and exchange, especially when it has social impacts. Charity is very important to us. We’re way stronger together than we are apart. If I can help someone, or their company, personally or professionally, that’s extremely important to me. 

Upcoming 2024 India and USA editions

I’ve always loved the idea of collaboration over competition. You know, strength in numbers. I feel like that’s one thing the challenges of the last few years have really highlighted for me: sometimes community is one of your greatest resources. You’re only as strong as your relationships are. Too many people think they can succeed all by themselves. And of course, everyone has a personal uniqueness that they wouldn’t be successful without, but at the same time, when I look at the big picture, I always remember how important it is to help. Not just myself, but anyone I can. That’s how we all thrive, by supporting each other.

pursuit:365 TALK Wednesday

For 2024, I understand there will be a shift in the direction of the pursuit:365 books and in the process to be included in the next editions. Can you share a bit about the changes?

Sure, I’d love to. Our next book will be a bit different in a few key ways. Its theme will be “The Power of Humanity in Business” and the people featured in it will be selected by a panel of judges. How this works is: through our website, members of our community will be able to nominate entrepreneurs and professionals–either themselves or someone else they know–who deserves to be recognized for the positive social impacts they, or their business is responsible for. So the question is: how are they giving back? How is their business supporting local or even global initiatives for change and equity?

Nominees will then be able to write a small paragraph or short essay on their larger social contributions, and that’s what’ll be considered for publication in our next edition. Seven people from each US state will be selected in total: the judges will choose six people and a seventh person will be chosen by our community, and awarded our People’s Choice Award. This is really exciting, because it builds on our earlier books, in that it highlights notable stories, but anyone and everyone could be nominated. That way, readers potentially get a chance to learn from all kinds of people and experiences. 

First ever Pursuit 365 Conference
coming March 2024

On top of that, we have another upcoming edition, set to come out in late 2024, that I think is going to be really special: our WorldWide Edition for Youth. The theme will be “The Power of Humanity in Youth” and for this one, we want to hear from youth themselves, from anywhere in the world about what they’re doing to make an impact in their communities. It could be anything: helping their neighbors, mowing lawns, looking after animals—we want to hear about it. People give back in all kinds of ways, and youth have some of the most innovative ideas out there. 

This edition includes an award too: one youth will have the chance to win twenty thousand dollars–half of which will go to them for a business or educational venture of their design, and the other half will go to a charity or cause of their choosing. So not only will it be an inspiring and educational book, it’ll also be supporting youth in the process.

I would love to close with a quote that is meaningful to you, one that is your go to on challenging days.

I love this one because pertains to both your personal life and business life..... "Success is not final; failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts." -Winston S. Churchill

NOTE - Nominations are now open for Pursuit 365's new The Power of Humanity in Business Awards at www.pursuit365.awardify.io This award is designed to recognize the value of human connections and empathy in the world, workplace and in the community. Nominees must be based in the US. 6 winners per state by judgeds, and the seventh winner will be the people's choice award, based on votes.