Experienced editors know that staffers sometimes telegraph workplace concerns in the types of stories they write. So imagine my reaction when I first heard the idea for this month's cover feature: "Escape From Meeting Hell." Truth is, I've never been a fan of conference room get-togethers. Yes, they can be an effective way to communicate. Yes, they can increase everyone's sense of involvement. But they can also burn up time, serve as a forum for politicking, and end up ratifying mediocre plans. Still, the solid tips in Patrick Sauer's story convinced me to give meetings a second chance--and I didn't even have to get together with the staff to discuss.


"Sometimes I'll see someone I've drawn," says illustrator Mike Kupperman ("Where Are They Now?"), "and be surprised by how they look in 3-D." His art has appeared in The New Yorker, Barron's, The Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, and McSweeney's. Parts of Kupperman's book Snake 'n' Bacon's Cartoon Cabaret (2000, Harper Collins) were animated for Robert Smigel's TV Funhouse.

Jonathan Black is a former Playboy magazine editor who founded DadMag.com. This month for Inc. he writes about fellow Chicagoan Christy Webber, a landscaper and No. 54 on our list of the 100 fastest growing inner city businesses. Black first met Webber seven years ago when she gave him an estimate on fixing up his backyard. Small world.

Globetrotter Ondine Cohane is a contributing editor at Conde Nast Traveler and writes frequently on travel and fashion for GQ and Lucky. She has been an expert guest in travel segments on CNNfn, Good Day New York, and NPR, and co-hosted the Conde Nast Traveler Insider's Guide on PBS. Researching some of the best resorts for Inc. Life this month, Cohane stayed at the Palmilla in Mexico, where she spotted American Idol host Simon Cowell vacationing with his girlfriend.

Inc. senior editor Mike Hofman was recognized by the Journalism and Financial Reporting Group as one of 2003's top 30 journalists under 30. For six years he has worked with the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City to highlight companies thriving in urban communities. Hofman also edits the Priority section, and often speaks about trends on CNBC and NPR.