From Officers’ Kid to Publications Manager
As Publications Manager, Cheryl Tinker oversees all Salvation Army online and print publications, including Salvos Magazine, Kidzone magazine and Salvos Online. After recently celebrating a milestone of 25 years of service with the Salvos Publications team, we sat down with Cheryl to explore her beginnings, chat about her achievements, and discuss how our publications have evolved.
By MATT ALLENSBY*
Cheryl was born in Tasmania, and as her parents are Salvation Army officers, she enjoyed an upbringing in the Army, travelling to many corps across Australia before settling in Victoria.
With a passion for art, Cheryl pursued a tertiary education in fine arts, but after meeting her husband and starting a family, she said her responsibilities “took life in a different direction”. “But in 1986, an opportunity came up at the Salvos’ Weeroona Hostel, so I started working there.”
In her time at the Weeroona, Cheryl undertook a variety of responsibilities, starting in an admin position before moving into an ‘activities coordinator’ role and then becoming the hostel’s ‘afternoon supervisor’.
Fortunately, Cheryl’s fine arts background was well utilised. “I organised painting classes, attended expos and events, and used my art in things like that,” she said. “While I was there, I also did some freelance work for The Salvation Army’s Women’s Ministry – painting murals and designing brochures, etc., so I was still able to use my skills in that area.”
After 11 years at Weeroona, Cheryl decided to broaden her horizons and pursue opportunities outside the Salvos, starting a new role at Monash Gardens Hostel as an afternoon supervisor. However, Cheryl soon found herself being called back to the Army. “When I look back now, I realise God was with me, guiding me the whole way – the Army was where I was meant to be,” she chuckled.
“I was working [at Monash Gardens] about six months when I got a call from Colonel Pam Trigg, asking me to come and see her,” Cheryl recalled. “I sat down with Pam and Major Leanne Ruthven, and they were talking to me about a job they had that they thought I’d be perfect for.
“I loved it from day one. I really felt like it was my calling.”
“Pam was a visionary with a real love for children, and she and Leanne were wanting to revamp The Salvation Army’s Young Soldier publication,” Cheryl explained, not knowing Young Soldier was about to embark on a long journey to become the well-loved Kidzone magazine that all Salvos know today.
Cheryl was offered the job of an editorial assistant and started immediately. “I loved it from day one. I really felt like it was my calling,” she said. “Pam and Leanne gave me creative freedom, always encouraging me along the way.”
Starting as a team of two, Cheryl recalled how the team slowly grew over time. “As new computer programs and technology were introduced, we all learned and grew together into a strong team.”
Reminiscing on the different roles she has had in the publications department and the evolution of Salvos publications over the years, Cheryl highlighted the development of Kidzone as one of her biggest achievements during her 25 years of service.
Today’s Kidzone originated from Young Soldier, an A4 magazine printed in black and white. It has transitioned into a vibrant, full-colour publication read by around 27,530 children a week and supported by its website.
Cheryl also reflected on the relationships the Publications team built with others along the way. “The biggest thing for me in that process, aside from learning new technologies, was the relationships we formed,” she said. “And this continues today. We tell people’s stories, and so we engage with many different departments and people internally and externally. Having the privilege to meet, work and build strong relationships with so many people over the past 25 years has been the most enjoyable part of my role and I would say the main reason for my longevity.”
Cheryl acknowledged the professionalism of the whole publications team. “As a team, we have always embraced change and technological advances enabling us to continue to evolve, but our greatest strength is that we know who we are and why we do what we do, and we do it well together – our mission is God’s mission.”
The team’s collaborative efforts have led to the development of many successful Jesus-centred publications today. These include Salvos Magazine, which has over 26,400 weekly readers, Kidzone, which has more than 27,000 readers, and the recently launched Salvos Online website, which boasts over 28,000 page views a month.
To learn more about other Salvos publications, check out the Publications and Resources page on The Salvation Army website.
*Matt Allensby is Internal Communications Advisor for The Salvation Army