Years before I joined the 20/20 editorial team, I developed a friendship with Editor-in-Chief James Spina. We spent a lot of time talking about our passion for music, fashion and of course, magazines. I was managing the Jobson Optical marketing department at the time, but I often conferred with James in helping to promote 20/20. As I shared in my column in the September issue, I fell in love with the magazine for the beautiful way it portrayed eyewear. So whenever I had the opportunity to chat with James about 20/20, I relished every moment to learn more. But I never dreamed I would be working on the magazine with him as a member of the editorial team… until a chance conversation with him one day. That conversation set in motion a series of events that would change my career path and the role I play in our industry.

More than a decade later, working alongside James as Executive Editor of 20/20 has truly been among my top career highlights. James taught me everything I know about eyewear and our industry, as well as print magazines and what it takes to execute and publish them from an editorial standpoint. He has helped enhance and refine my writing style and editing skills, and his open and collaborative management style has shaped the professional growth of all the editors on our team. If you know James, he always proclaims his famous “Eye love my gig!” whenever he describes his work. His passion is undeniable and transcended to every issue of 20/20 and every person he engaged with. I think my team members can all agree that he played a major role in the reason for us loving our gigs as well.

But more than a leader and manager to us, James has always been our friend. It’s quite rare for most to say they are “friends” with their managers… but James is unique in that way in not only championing and mentoring us as professionals but guiding us in our personal growth as well. I’m forever grateful for the opportunity to work with him and for the support he has provided throughout his time with us. Thanks for taking the chance on me, James. I know this isn’t goodbye, so I will sign off with one word that James is known to favor these days: ONWARD. For you, for 20/20, for the future.

Christine Yeh
Executive Editor

I have been an editor at 20/20 for 10 years now, and there is one common factor that has remained the same throughout that entire decade: James Spina. Many of you know James as the Editor-in-Chief of our publication, an industry legend and someone who is just completely obsessed with eyewear. But to me, he is much more than that.

Of course, James is my manager, but I also consider him a mentor, friend, confidant and someone who can always make me laugh. Now that I think about it, when I try to conjure up memories over the past 10 years, laughing at his jokes is what immediately comes to mind. James has taught me everything I know about the eyewear industry, as well as other life lessons I will never forget.

To me, 20/20 doesn’t exist without James, and to say that I am going to miss him as he embarks on his retirement would be a true understatement. But whether he likes it or not, he is still going to have to deal with me from time to time. Although he will no longer be considered my boss, James will always be my friend and someone I will forever hold dear to my heart. So, I wish him nothing but the best, since that is all he has given me. Congrats, James!

Victoria Garcia
Fashion Editor

I can vividly remember the day I interviewed for the Editorial Assistant position at 20/20. I was 22 years old, fresh out of college and desperately searching for my magazine dream job. After interviewing with a few members of the editorial team, I was surprised to be led into the Editor-in-Chief’s office to meet him. James and I chatted for a bit about being fellow Queens natives and my hometown that he grew up visiting. He handed me a stack of 20/20 issues and sent me on my way. I started a week later.

Since that day, James has championed and supported me in both my professional career and personal life. I can say without a doubt that he has been my biggest fan over the past eight years. James’ vision for the magazine has always been so clear, and he has taught me everything I know about both the eyewear industry and the editorial side of magazines. It has been an honor sitting alongside him, watching his excitement over new frames and page layouts issue after issue, year after year. His delight and love for the job is inspiring, and that palpable feeling translates to everyone he meets.

Of course, all good things must come to an end. I will miss the laughs he brings to every photo shoot and editorial meeting, his endless “wows” of excitement, and our chats about television shows, books and our families. James, you bring a smile to everyone’s face that you meet. Thanks for all that you’ve done for me. Congratulations on your retirement—enjoy it!

Jillian Urcelay
Feature Editor