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Alisa Bonsignore

I had the opportunity to talk to Alisa Bonsignore, the executive editor of Intercom. Bonsignore became the executive editor in January of 2021. She said she responded to a Request for Proposals in 2020 and had begun her career in magazine publishing. She said, for her, there was a sense of returning to something which was comfortable and familiar.

Bonsignore said her professional sweet spot was between marking and technical communications. She said she has done work making highly technical subjects clear and straightforward. She says she has also done a great deal of user experience writing and content strategy, back when these areas did not have these names. 

    The owner of her own business, Bonsignore says she is not limited to one department or approach. She says a client may need content strategy, a white paper, or a way to summarize clinical results for training. She says, once she is in and knows the product, technology, and any other details, this opens her up to a variety of other work.

    Looking back on her career, Bonsignore said, “While I’d like to pretend that everything came with a grand vision that I knew with certainty at 22, everything only makes sense in hindsight.”

    Bonsignore says she finds most of her projects interesting. She says she finds anything in the sustainability field to be particularly rewarding, challenging, and interesting. She says she has had some unusual projects come her way. One example she gave was scripting a medical video about abdominal aneurism surgery. Another project she mentioned was doing a voiceover for clients.

    “That’s really the advantage of having my own business,” Bonsignore said, “I don’t have to do the same thing every day, and I have the flexibility to explore other projects that are on the fringe of my expertise. These are the sorts of projects that can help me learn and grow in unexpected ways.”

    When Bonsignore thinks about nightmare projects, “I think less about the project itself and more about the errors on my side from not knowing better.”

    Bonsignore said, “One of my first projects, when I went freelance, was a white paper about how XML-based recipe editor tools could streamline the pharmaceutical development process. The project was a nightmare because I billed hourly, got paid far less than what it was worth to the client, set no boundaries on my time, and didn’t accurately specify my payment terms. It made me miserable, and it was entirely my fault. My business matured a lot as a result of that project.”

    Bonsignore said when it came to “never again”, it was never about the work or topic, it was about the people.
She said, “People make all the difference.”