According to the people who know her, Liebert does three things well: She can spot a publishing trend. She gets the best people to edit her publications. And she is downright tenacious.
Mary Ann has the uncanny knack of spotting trends and new fields, says John Sterling, managing editor of Genetic Engineering. She stays close to the market and jumps on a new development as soon as it becomes hot.
She is that one extra drop in the tipping game. (See Message #139.)
Liebert was the first to publish journals focusing on AIDS, gene therapy, and cloning. (Launched in 1999, Cloning is edited by Ian Wilmut, the researcher who cloned Dolly the sheep.)
Next year, she plans to launch four more journals, including Astrobiology and Vector-borne and Zoonotic Diseases, which will focus on infections from mosquitoes, such as the potentially fatal West Nile virus.
She is also extremely persistent, her colleagues say.
She practically willed the biotech revolution, says David Weiner, editor of DNA and Cell Biology. Back in 1983, biotech was science fiction. There were two or three companies, no products, and the technology was still a pipe dream. But she was talking about it as though it had already happened, as if the industry was already established, like Procter & Gamble.
Her persistence emerges as energy, positivism, and inventiveness, according to people who work for her. She describes her personality this way: I have a 12-cylinder mind that’s always revved up and running.
But all the persistence in the world wouldn’t have made her publications successful were it not for her ability to seek out and land top editorial talent. Her colleagues say she is one of the best at this.
Her technique? Persistence, again.
She is so persistent that its easier to say yes than no, says Jeffrey Laurence, editor of AIDS Patient Care and STDs.
Liebert gives an example of her persistence that exemplifies the suggestion made by JT in Message #195 (Adding Big Shots to Your Personal Network): I was on vacation in Palm Desert, she says, and was e-mailing Thomas Hornbein (a doctor who became well-known for climbing Mount Everest) and even calling him. I thought I was pretty convincing, but he still said no. Finally, I read his book and sent him another e-mail that said, Tom, your book was fabulous. I admire your persistence and determination that enabled you to conquer the West Ridge. Tom, you are my West Ridge. He wrote back and said, I surrender.[Ed. Note: Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Palm Beach Letter. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.]