Hello, Goodbye: Our Growing Literary Community

Posted on Thu, Aug 1 2013 9:00 am by Sally M. Reynolds

The Loft's mission say that it “fosters a thriving literary community” and as an intern I have seen this statement proved time and again. Most recently, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jerod Santek, Program Director, and Bao Phi, Associate Program Director, about growth and change in our local literary community. As we gear up for fall, the Loft, Jerod, and Bao are also gearing up for exciting new literary adventures!

After eighteen years at the Loft, Jerod Santek is ready to share his love of all things literary with a new community by starting a literary organization in Door County, Wisconsin. Over the years Jerod has done many things for the Loft. Currently he handles the development of new programs, the improvement of existing programs, and everything in between. He takes with him a trove of diverse experiences, good friends, and an uncanny ability to stay calm under pressure. Despite accusations, Jerod insists he is not a superhero. Overall, Jerod says that his time at the Loft has prepared him well for his new undertaking. While he is sad to leave behind his work in the Twin Cities, he knows he’s made a positive impact on the literary community here.

Bao Phi, who will take over from Jerod, couldn’t agree more. He had nothing but praise for Jerod’s work and especially his management style. According to Bao, Jerod leads by example, allowing plenty of learning opportunities but always willing to lend a hand when needed. This is a strategy that will serve both men well in their new endeavors. Bao is looking forward to expanding his position at the Loft, but he admits it will be a challenge. In the past he has learned primarily by doing and he expects this new position will be no different. In his early days as Associate Program Director he survived several near-disasters including a freak power outage the first time he hosted an event. While he might not have every superpower Jerod exhibits, having handled experiences like that have put him well on the way to obtaining them.

Jerod is confident that Bao will continue his work in fostering a thriving literary community, developing engaging and meaningful literary programs, and caring for the diverse needs of program participants. Knowing that he’s leaving things in good hands, Jerod eagerly anticipates partnering with the Loft in the future. One of many ways he hopes to continue being involved with our literary community here is by offering a residency program in Door County. By beginning this new adventure in Wisconsin the local literary community is not so much losing someone as the universal literary community is gaining a whole new neighborhood. The Loft is looking forward to welcoming our new neighbors and working with them to foster the greater literary community.

On Wednesday, August 14, the Loft will be hosting a party for program participants and community members to celebrate Jerod’s service to the community and his exciting future. The party starts at 5 p.m. and official remarks will commence at 6 p.m. in the Jay Cowles Literary Commons of Open Book. To help plan for numbers please RSVP here.


Sally M. Reynolds is a marketing and communications intern at The Loft Literary Center. She is a writer, a dancer, and an avid reviewer of life. You can follow her on Twitter: @SallyMReynolds