Ten Minutes with Mary-Alice Moore
Publisher at Highlights Magazine
Photo by Douglas Foulke
Mary-Alice Moore likes a good puzzle. Sudoku and crosswords are her favorites, along with the classic Hidden Pictures found in the children’s magazine Highlights, where she works as publisher of the Retail Group. Moore splits her time between a home office in Fairfield and the Highlights offices in Honesdale, Pennsylvania. The arrangement allows her to focus on her career yet also spend time with her three sons and husband Chris McAleese, a teacher at Roger Ludlowe Middle School.
What brought you and your family to Fairfield?
We moved to Fairfield from New York City 19 years ago when our oldest son was a toddler—we’d outgrown our tiny apartment. My husband’s sister and her family lived here. We love Fairfield—the schools, the amenities, and the people.
I remember Highlights! What’s it like to work there?
Highlights has been around for a long time—the company just celebrated its 70th anniversary in 2016. I head up the book publishing division there, which is a newer venture—kind of like a start-up inside a big company. It’s fun to tell people I work at Highlights because invariably they smile and tell you a happy story or memory—usually about doing Hidden Pictures at the dentist’s office.
What’s the best part of your job?
The best part is that I work for a company that truly, deeply cares about children and helping them be their best selves.
How do you gear up for your unique work week?
It takes advance organization on Sundays, but my split-week is genuinely the best of both worlds for me as a working parent. I leave Fairfield for the Pennsylvania office on Tuesdays and arrive back home on Thursday for dinner. During the two nights I’m away, I’m fully focused on my job—no homework, no laundry. I can work until 10 pm and eat popcorn for dinner. I work from home Mondays and Fridays, which means I’m around after school for my sons.
Could you call Fairfield a “satellite” office of Highlights?
There’s a lot of publishing and creative talent in Fairfield. And, happily, several are working for Highlights. You can easily find us around town—we use the study rooms in the Fairfield Public Library; I have a weekly breakfast meeting at the Circle Diner.
What do you like to do during your down time?
I’m a passionate home cook, and my youngest son has caught that bug, so we do a lot of cooking together on the weekends, prepping meals for the nights I’m away.
What are some of your favorite places in Fairfield?
Our favorite time is late afternoon, when restaurants are quieter. We sit at the bar, enjoy a drink, and share appetizers. Martel is perfect for that. But so are Local and Molto. We also love Liana’s Trattoria in Tunxis Hill, which is closer to our home.
Are you Goofus or Gallant?
Ha! We at Highlights like to say that there’s a little bit of both in all of us. So on any given day, the question is: Are you feeling Goofus with a little Gallant? Or, Gallant with a little Goofus? It all depends on what’s going on.