Orange Appeal was launched in 2008 to serve the growing market of educated, active women in the Central Florida area. From day one the focus has been on them!
Each issue is filled with women to watch representing a diverse range, from the area’s top business leaders to industrious entrepreneurs as well as key players in the nonprofit arena.
With over 30 years experience in the publishing industry, founder, editor and publisher Christi Ashby wanted a magazine to call her own that was not only informative and entertaining but also delivered the highest quality content and design.
With the help of her daughter, Kate Slentz, the two launched the premier issue in summer 2008. Now, eight years later, the two strive to raise the bar with every issue, highlighting the best the Central Florida community has to offer.
Imagine having a dream as a teen to be part of a magazine team… to write, take photos and be creative every day. That was my vision as I flipped through the pages of Seventeen, absorbing every word and image. I loved the printed page and the fact that I could rip them out and savor them for months on end. Following that passion I studied journalism at the University of Florida. However, upon graduation I found myself scared to aggressively pursue my chosen profession. I did not have the self-confidence to put myself out there.
A few years later I found my confidence while flying high as a domestic and international flight attendant. And I actually began my magazine career at 30. It was mostly a love-at-first assignment as I was afforded the opportunity to work on a national photography magazine without leaving the Central Florida area. Before long I was running the entire operation and within years had added several more titles to the mix.
I learned that the relationship with the reader is the key to long-term success, even though advertising pays the bills. Navigating the balance between the two only made me stronger and more passionate. Over the next few decades I continued to develop and manage magazines and events.
By 2007, I knew it was time to do something on my own and I chose Central Florida women as my chosen audience. I immersed myself in the community to meet interesting women and decide to also support local nonprofits and initiatives. There were some dark days after the 2008 launch of Orange Appeal, but I never doubted it would succeed if I took no shortcuts and expected no short-term payoff.
That’s why we are committed to quality. In 2010, I could not have been prouder to welcome my daughter, Kate, into the company. We launched the Orlando Women’s Conference – because we thought it was important – in 2011, and Interior Appeal in 2014.
It’s not a picnic every day – but it’s pretty close. I am grateful for those who have supported us, for those who have shared their stories and for those who continue to read, whether online, on social media or through the printed pages.
I have a husband, son, daughter and two grandsons. I am blessed beyond words.
This is my story, what’s yours?
I grew up (literally) in the magazine and publishing industry, going to work with my mother beginning at just three weeks old. In my younger years, I aspired to be an actress, singer and interior designer, but I soon realized my talents lay elsewhere.
Following in my mother’s footsteps, I attended the University of Florida where I studied journalism, graduating with honors in 2010. While there, I immersed myself in as many internships and writing opportunities as I could, gaining experience not only in journalism but in community involvement.
Before heading to Gainesville, I helped Christi launch the magazine in 2008 and continued to assist with writing assignments while in school. I returned full time after graduation, where I have become a prolific proofreader, thoughtful storyteller, somewhat social media expert, exceptional event organizer, blossoming photographer, sociable sales person, dabbling designer and detail-oriented administrator.
In addition to my role as assistant editor and publisher of Orange Appeal and Interior Appeal and cofounder of the Orlando Women’s Conference, I’m a board member of the Foundation for Foster Children and serves on various event committees. I married my high school sweetheart, Mike, and together we have a son, Benjamin. I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, traveling, shopping, eating and drinking, and binge watching television series.
Fun fact: I was a competitive gymnast until the age of 16.