Client Story

Whitaker Publishing

“If you know that you have a great product and great people, but you’re trying to put the finishing touches on how to turn that into fast success, I would highly recommend working with People Centric.”

President & Associate Publisher, 417 Magazine

In 2013, People Centric provided strategic consulting for Whitaker Publishing, and the culture and talent management strategies we recommended have helped the company scale intelligently.


Whitaker Publishing publishes in 417 Magazine417 Bride417 Home, and Biz 417. They also produce custom publications and events. 417 Magazine serves more than 120,000 readers in southwest Missouri with lifestyle information that helps them live the best lives possible in this corner of the world. Their award-winning coverage of the arts, dining, fashion, and travel is complemented by personality profiles of the most interesting people to call 417-land home. 417 Magazine is distributed to subscribers via direct mail, sold on newsstands, and found in nearly 2,500 hotel rooms and 2,000 waiting rooms.


Gary and Joan Whitaker purchased 417 Magazine in 2001, when the magazine was struggling. They brought in a strong editing, design, sales, and marketing team to improve the quality of the magazine. By 2013, the company was enjoying good profitability, but growth was limited. Gary and Joan were looking to spend less time in the office and had been working toward transferring day-to-day operations to their children, Logan Aguirre and Dylan Whitaker. The firm needed to develop their leaders, including Logan and Dylan, to help the company become scalable while allowing Gary and Joan to get out of the office.


To intelligently scale Whitaker Publishing, People Centric recommended a strategy of implementing both culture and talent management systems. These systems would be designed to improve communication and develop leaders within the company.


In 2013, People Centric began working with Logan, Dylan, and the sales team. Through various workshops, People Centric helped the sales team establish clear sales goals and implement a communication methodology that let them effectively adjust their activities to meet their goals. At the same time, Logan and Dylan received executive coaching to further develop their skills as managers. The results were significant and sales grew rapidly.

A year later, in 2014, People Centric began an ongoing partnership with Whitaker Publishing to help develop its front-line managers as well as implement communication and talent management systems. People Centric facilitated multiple efforts in the company over the next few years, all aimed at developing leaders in the company while preparing the organization for growth. Our experts consulted with the company as it redesigned its departments with clearer roles, which improved efficiency. Whitaker Publishing also implemented the talent management systems we designed, including monthly check-ins with employees by trained managers as well as a Manager’s Forum where front-line managers could address regular challenges and help each other solve them.


Since 2014, Whitaker Publishing has smashed previous revenue records while adding new revenue sources to the business, including 417 Events, Biz 417, and 417Tix. The company has grown from less than 30 employees to almost 50 employees in just a couple of years. Gary and Joan are able to take extended leaves of absence without worrying about what is happening within the company. In 2016, Dylan left the business to pursue other interests, and Logan became the company President and Associate Publisher.   People Centric continues to provide support and is mentioned as a being a key part of 417’s culture in their own culture handbook.