Start Spreading the (good) News
An interview with everybody’s favorite Renaissance Woman Krista Martinelli, The Editor and Founder of AroundWellington.com
By Denise Marsh
Everybody knows that Dorothy, Toto, and friends wouldn’t have fulfilled their personal missions without the “Wizard.” Ladies and Gentlemen, now it is time to lift the “curtain” and unveil another “wizard” – the Wizard of Wellington. This interview has been in my head since the very first moment I met Krista Martinelli, and now it is finally time to start spreading the (good) news. Right, Sinatra? Let’s get started.
Not a typical interview. Not café style nor at a quiet park, rather the good old-fashioned phone call interview. Yet another remnant of social distance quarantine. And, ironically, the best means to do an interview with a woman that I consider an icon.
Without further ado…
“Call me…Call me anytime…”
AW: What is your motto to live by?
KM: I don’t have just one motto she says with a gentle laugh and an earnest tone. But, I definitely have one quote that is my favorite and it is extremely fitting with our current quarantine status.
“I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness because it shows me the stars.”
AW: What are your three greatest accomplishments?
KM: The first and definitely the most important is being a mother. I have two teenagers; Stella is 14 (almost 15) and Paul is 13. My children make me proud, inspire me and always make me laugh! My husband Joe is incredibly supportive and is always backing me 100%.
Secondly, workwise, I wrote a 150-page TEAM Leadership Guide for all managers at Office Depot that was published globally. In general, the guide highlights positive characteristics of good workers. The first chapter emphasizes the importance of “empathy” in the workplace. Each chapter is about a different quality of leadership.
Last, AroundWellington.com is very important in my life. I know you said you were going to talk about that in your next question so I will wait (she says patiently).
AW: Tell me about your other “baby,” AroundWellington.com. How did you come up with the slogan or headline for the publication? What are your plans?
KW: Going back 14 years ago I took a maternity leave from Office Depot corporate. They offered me (and all corporate employees) a voluntary severance package, 6 months of pay, so that I could have time and money. I wanted to do something else with my life at this juncture. My friend, Jon Frangipane, had a publication called Lighthouse Point Magazine. He said, “Why don’t you just start your own magazine?” This idea sparked a whole new world for me and that was the “birth” of AroundWellington.com. It began as a print magazine in February 2006. with the slogan, “It’s good news”. I wanted people to get hooked on “good news” because there was so much negative news everywhere else in the media. I wanted to display the works of small business owners, people in the community and non-profit organizations. The print format lasted for three years until the economy had trouble, the housing market crashed and some of our advertisers were going out of business.
There were other challenges as well that made it extremely challenging and expensive to maintain. Sometimes the printer would make a mistake; sometimes the bindery would accidentally leave out 4 pages at a time (including the ads); sometimes the Post Office would forget to deliver to a whole neighborhood.
After all of the struggles, I decided to go online. Now, 14 years later, we are still around with many subscribers, writers, photographers and advertisers. I have met wonderful people and encountered amazing writers – I am so fortunate to be able present good news that empower people and give us a break from the negativity.
My goal is to always display one business, person, or organization that has had a major impact on people (in Wellington and beyond) on our home page.
As for the future for the magazine, I would like to have a nice celebration for our upcoming 15th year anniversary. Hopefully, we can do this in person and also enjoy some cake!
AW: Let’s talk Tennis. I hear that you play Tennis and are quite good. Tell me more about this hobby.
KM: I love Tennis. I played in college. I played singles and doubles for 2-4 hours a day with a lot of tennis coaching. I went to the Principia College in Illinois which had indoor tennis courts – perfect for playing year-round. I played on a really good team in college, and we won the Division 3 title. Recently I have played tennis for a team called the Quail Queens out of Quail Ridge Country Club in Delray Beach. But recently I moved to a new team called the Boca Travelers. I have played in tournaments periodically. In fact, I played in Orlando in the sectionals. Although we didn’t win at sectionals (which was played in 100 degree heat), we did win in our division in Palm Beach County!
AW: You are also a keyboard player, back-up vocalist and a Song writer. Tell me about your band and how it came into fruition.
KM: The name of the band is called D-Railed. The members of the band are: Chris Ranieri, Dan Sprunger, Rich Italia, Zach Collins, David Spatz and, of course, me. Originally I had come up with the name “Up Dog” for the band because of a silly joke (smells like Up Dog in here). Although it was funny for a month or two, Zach came up with D-Railed as the new name that “stuck.” We all liked the name. And it was kind of funny because whenever we start to practice a song, we tend to get derailed and start talking about other songs we could play.
We all began playing together in the summer of 2018 at an Adult Rock Camp that Village Music in Wellington was offering. We had a wonderful time playing together and had to learn 10 songs to play at a special finale show at Village Music. We enjoyed the process and after our show, Rich Italia asked the group, “do you guys want to keep going?” We all loved the idea and that is how the band came to fruition. He offered up his house in Wellington as a practice place, and we continued on twice a week. In addition, we kept up our love for Village Music and “gave back” by performing at the venue for several more shows, contributing our tips to their favorite charity Spring of Hope. We play songs from the 70’s up to today’s music, but mainly classic rock. We hope to get together again soon, as we have not played during COVID-19.
AW: Who or what has been your greatest source of inspiration through the years?
KM: My children have definitely been and continue to inspire me in life. But, historically, there are a few icons. I am inspired by Martin Luther King Jr. because of his idea of non-violence. I love Gandhi because of the same non-violence principle. Then, there is the late and great poet Maya Angelou because her poetry is uplifting and she finds always positive in struggle. I also like Jane Goodall who is a fantastic humanitarian and animal scientist – I appreciate how she travels the world, even in her 80’s and makes animals (apes) a priority in her life.
AW: Is there anything you HAVEN’T done yet?
KM.: I like this question, ha ha! (But just seconds later she responded). I want to travel more. I’d also like to learn how to surf or kite surf. I have done wind surfing and sailing, but surfing would be something new and exciting!
AW: Tell me something that people would be very surprised to learn about you.
KM: I grew up as a Christian Scientist but that’s not to be confused with the Church of Scientology. I didn’t take any medicine until I was 27 years old – not even a cough drop or a Tylenol! Also, I was born at home and not in a hospital.
Also, I’m a playwright. I had a group for 10 years that I founded called the Boca Playwrights Group. We put on short plays, called “Grab Our Shorts.”
AW: How has the quarantine affected your life for the better or for the worse?
KM: For the better, it has given me the gift of time in general. I was able to take a 2-week writing course called, “Writers in the pandemic” via a virtual, online platform – taught by an amazing teacher Patti Digh.
I also restarted a garden which wouldn’t have happened if there hadn’t been a quarantine.
There are two things that I wanted to do once the quarantine was over – Go to Village Music in Wellington and go to the ocean. (Krista definitely accomplished the first goal, as we were together at Village Music over the weekend enjoying the amazing music of Americana Jones al fresco!) Unfortunately, it hasn’t been beach weather yet with all of this rain.
Of course, I was sad not to see people – not to be able to interact in person or to hug people. It’s terrible how many lives have been lost to date (approximately 100,000 in the U.S.) and how many jobs have been lost too.
AW: What is your next “adventure” or pursuit?
KM: Hmm…Well, someone wants me to go axe throwing with them (I could literally feel the wink of her eye through the phone). My goal is to not take things too seriously and take more trips when it is not a safety issue anymore. Also, I’ve been writing some songs. I’d like to write more songs!
AW: The interview was more pleasure for me than work. I am enlightened and humbled by the “many roles of Krista.” Remember, when you think you know one element of a person, there are so many, many more. Krista Martinelli is not just a wonderful person, rather a person who wears “many hats.” You know what I mean, folks!