President & Publisher
Location: Cook County
Year Founded: 1912
Industry Group Specific: Book Publishing (Educational and Religious Non-Profit)
Joellyn Cicciarelli began her career as an elementary school teacher in Michigan, Illinois and California before transitioning into the publishing arena. Early in her publishing career, she was the editor for Fred Rogers of Mister Roger’s Neighborhood and over the years, she has authored several children’s books, early childhood curriculum and served in a variety of roles in publishing.
For the last 14 years, Cicciarelli has supervised teams at Loyola Press to develop dozens of award-winning books and media resources. “I take pride in whatever I do professionally, and of each project, whether it makes money or not, and whether it reaches 10 people or 10 million,” she said.
Loyola Press is a non-profit Catholic publishing company of the Midwest Province of the Society of Jesus. Since its inception in 1912, the organization has served more than 40 million children and adults as they seek to grow academically, personally, and spiritually with assistance and inspiration from textbooks, spirituality books for adults and children and an array of multi-media resources.
Over the last three years, Loyola Press has seen expansion into existing and adjacent markets with new product lines. “In collaboration with my executive team, I have implemented a new strategy in terms of securing funding for high impact/low revenue projects that otherwise would not be greenlit,” said Cicciarelli. In addition, a new imprint, 4U2B Books & Media, launched and focuses on helping children develop social and emotional skills so they can grow up to be healthy, happy, productive members of their families, communities and society as a whole, she said.
Under Cicciarelli’s leadership, the team has developed new curriculum for English language learners, developed an alternative funding strategy that includes grand writing which resulted in the receipt of a $1.25 million grant and Cicciarelli has created a sense of openness, unity, collaboration and respect within and across departments. More importantly, the organization launched the world’s first all-Catholic video game and entered into a deal with Netflix to bring to the screen “Stories of a Generation with Pope Francis.”
Cicciarelli stays deeply involved in the production of children’s books, too. “There is nothing like a good story to heal hearts and bring love to the world,” she said. “I am a creative by nature and grew up in educational publishing as a writer, editor and author. Therefore, my passion is reignited every day as I review the excellent work from our writers, editors, designers, illustrators, tech developers and marketers.”
For her dedication to learning and offering spiritual, educational and academic resources to the Chicago community, Cicciarelli has been named a titan.
My secret superpower is that I am an energetic, problem-solving, forward-thinking "idea machine" who knows enough to seek wise counsel before putting ideas into action.