By Kim Beane, writer and editor with both magazines

Forsyth Woman and Forsyth Family magazines evolved from the dreams, dedication, creativity and courage of two local women, Keela Johnson and Robin Bralley of Clemmons. As longtime friends for years, Johnson and Bralley climbed the corporate ladder at Sara Lee/Hanes for 25 and 23 years, respectively. Johnson was an account business manager, while Bralley was a marketing manager. With husbands and two children each, their positions were challenging and time consuming, to say the least. But as the local economy changed, both women ultimately had to change, as well. After leaving the corporate world, they chose to use their business skills, training and knowledge to focus their energy on supporting two subjects about which they are passionate: women and families.

It was September of 2005 when Forsyth Woman magazine made its debut, with the tagline “Celebrating the lives of women!” To Johnson, that meant providing information on relevant health issues and other points of interest to local women; highlighting women who had a positive impact in our area; and inspiring women to fulfill their potential in every area of life. Whether it was an article on breast cancer, parenting skills or professionalism in the office, I wanted women to be affected in a positive manner, so that the women of Forsyth County and the surrounding areas could be the most they could be,” she says.

Just a few short years later, Bralley arrived at a crossroad in her career. With her head telling her to go for the “safe thing,” but her heart steering her toward a new path, she gave the decision over to prayer. The answer she received while on vacation was crystal clear, and she told her family out on the beach that she had decided to publish Forsyth Family magazine. The first edition of Forsyth Family hit the streets with the mission of Celebrating family life! in November 2007. We wanted to focus on the family relationship as the paradigm of commitment it should be, and to celebrate the families of the 21st century in our area,” said Bralley.

Today, the magazines are a staple of the local community and it’s hard to imagine life without them! With 16,000 copies of Forsyth Woman and Forsyth Family printed each month, and more than 1,200 distribution points, the magazines reach well over 50,000 readers. Found at medical facilities, restaurants, day spas, YM / YWCA’s, participating Chick-Fil-A restaurants, K & W Cafeterias, Mock Beroth Tire & Automotive Stores and Winston-Salem / Forsyth County Schools, just to mention a few locations, you’re never very far from finding the next issue.

Stories and editorials cover health, exercise, beauty, home and lawn care, sports, relationships, decorating and more. If you need help picking a place to get your child started in a sport, finding a location to have a group birthday party, or choosing a summer camp, Forsyth Family will come to your rescue. If you want to hear about a new medical treatment, learn how to be a good friend, or find the perfect consignment shop, check out Forsyth Woman for tips.

But these two publications aren’t just about reading – they are about doing and being and, yes, celebrating! In 2010, they were part of the second largest team for the Susan G. Komen race for the cure, and have participated in a multitude of other walks, races, dinners, workshops and more to help raise money for worthy causes and support the surrounding economy. Forsyth Woman’s regular “Girls’ Night Out” event at local businesses is a highly anticipated occasion by women of all ages, and no mom wants to miss taking a break with Forsyth Family’s monthly “Mothers’ Morning Out.” These two magazines are forces within the community, reaching out in hundreds of ways to provide opportunities for education, entertainment, relaxation and more.

In 2011, Forsyth Woman and Forsyth Family will celebrate their 6 and 4 year anniversaries, and they are going strong. As treasured community resources, they look forward to celebrating the lives of women and celebrating family life in Forsyth County and the surrounding areas for many years to come!

The magazines are honored and humbled by being chosen as the best local magazines by Triad’s Moms on Main, and thank all of their readers and advertisers for their support. Be sure to look for the latest issue of Forsyth Woman or Forsyth Family magazines on your newsstands, and check out their websites and join their Facebook fan page for blogs, calendars and more.

Congrats on being named “Best Local Magazine” in the 2011 Choice Awards! – Katie and Rachel