Passing the baton: The Marketplace welcomes its third editor
MEDA editors are a rare breed, partly because there are so few of them. Thus far the organization has had only two people occupy the editor’s chair — Calvin Redekop, who founded The Marketplace in 1980, and Wally Kroeker, who came on board in 1985 and will retire on June 30.
We are delighted to announce our third. Seasoned journalist Mike Strathdee joined MEDA on May 1 as publications editor.
He brings over 20 years of writing and reporting experience to the role, starting as editor at a university paper and extending to a successful journalism career, writing about business, agriculture and technology for the Kitchener-Waterloo Record in Ontario. While there he won awards from the Canadian Farm Writers Federation and the Word Guild Canadian Christian Writing Awards.
Prior to joining MEDA Strathdee was a gift planning consultant with Abundance Canada (formerly Mennonite Foundation) where he worked with individuals and families in estate and charitable gift planning. He also spoke at churches throughout Eastern Canada and wrote for a number of faith-based periodicals. He has a BA and an MA degree from Wilfrid Laurier University in political
science in Canadian-American relations. Strathdee received his Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) designation in 2007.
He has contributed several articles to The Marketplace, most recently a feature on Leamington, Ont., metal fabricator Abe Fehr (March/April 2017).
“Mike is incredibly well suited to take over, both in terms of journalistic qualifications and zeal,” says outgoing editor Wally Kroeker. “Five or so years ago he took me aside at a MEDA convention and declared, ‘I want your job.’ He may have been a bit crestfallen that I still planned to stay so long, but he persisted — to both his and MEDA’s good fortune.”
Founder Calvin Redekop, a noted sociologist, played a key role in establishing some of the early Mennonite business organizations that later merged with MEDA. He also edited earlier MEDA periodicals, including the MEDA Newsletter and the MIBA/MEDA Newsletter. He was succeeded in the summer of 1985 by Kroeker, who by then had worked as a reporter and editor for 18 years.
Kroeker describes his more than three decades with MEDA as “a rush-times-two. Not only have the years sped by at warp speed but they’ve also given me a phenomenal ‘rush of the spirit’.”
Kroeker says he has deeply enjoyed “both tracks” of his job: “To help readers see their daily work (whether in a factory, office or executive desk) as a ministry, a place to be God’s junior partners in the task of sustaining creation, and to help mobilize the resources and skillsets of supporters to create business solutions to global poverty.
“It’s hard to leave a job as good as this one,” he says. “Where else can you have a front-row seat to programs of such life-changing impact? Where else can you witness the transforming impact of workers and bosses who see their work as a ministry where they employ their faith values on a daily basis?
“I’m handing off the best job in the MEDA world.”
He also praised his many coworkers. “It has been exhilarating to work with people who are driven by a sense of personal mission to make big dents in poverty,” he says.
As part of MEDA’s strategic engagement team, Strathdee will:
- Produce The Marketplace (circulation 6,200) and other publications that affirm and celebrate entrepreneurship as one way to fulfill God’s purpose, and engage supporters with MEDA’s mission and values in their own workplaces and through connections with MEDA’s global efforts to create business solutions to poverty;
- Produce articles that engage the reader with a robust sense that God uses daily work, business and entrepreneurship to sustain creation and meet global needs;
- Enhance MEDA’s visibility/appeal among North American Anabaptists and other constituents.
Strathdee will work out of MEDA’s corporate headquarters in Waterloo, Ont.
“Given how well The Marketplace is loved by its readers, having the chance to produce this magazine is both thrilling and terrifying,” says Strathdee as he takes the baton. “I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity to return to writing full-time, and to do so within a faith-based context. I look forward to hearing and sharing your stories.” ◆