Ted Briggs AE and Elizabeth Manning Murphy DE are more than simply the founders of IPEd’s Mentoring Program: they have also been its beating heart, emotional core, fierce protectors and greatest advocates. As a former committee member and mentorship coordinator, I find it hard to think of the program without them at its centre. Even while they were coping with medical stress, work pressure and other commitments, they still made time to volunteer beyond their remits, cover other roles within the committee, and travel out of state to advocate for the program.
It wasn’t always easy. A mentoring program has so many moving parts, and every one of those parts is also a person. Matching personalities is sometimes… tricky! But Ted and Elizabeth managed it all with diplomacy and tact. As co-chairs of the committee, they did the lion’s share of the administrative work and worked tirelessly to recruit mentors and mentees, run workshops and keep the program ticking along.
It’s the kind of work of which you only hear the benefits second-hand, so you do it for the good of the work, not necessarily from an immediate sense of satisfaction. I really hope Ted and Elizabeth have had moments to reflect on how much good they have quietly done for the community, how many editors they have helped, and how much so many editors owe them (even if those editors don’t realise it because they never knew how much Ted or Elizabeth helped behind the scenes). If they haven’t had those moments yet, I hope they have the chance to take them now.
Elizabeth and Ted steered the Mentoring Program during IPEd’s transition from state-based societies to a national (and now trans-Tasman) organisation. There was a lot of work during this period to ensure the various committees continued to serve their individual communities’ needs while finding a place under the broader professional umbrella. The Mentoring Program was no different, and Ted and Elizabeth were instrumental in ensuring that the program maintained its original goals and maybe even broadened in scope to represent the changing landscape of editing and editors in Australia and New Zealand.
I know that Ted and Elizabeth have wanted to pass on the baton to a new generation for some time, to ensure the program outlasts their retirements, and so it is wonderful to hear that they have found a time to do so. They leave big shoes to fill! I wish them all the best post-committee, and I hope they enjoy seeing their good work flourish as the program continues to evolve!
By Shannon Kelly