Oldsmar mom Pam Settle, a former advertising and marketing executive who owns a journalism degree, is turning her “Good Living” parenting magazine into a burgeoning publishing empire.
After sitting down for a lengthy conversation with Pam Settle, an Oldsmar mother and publisher of “Good Living” magazine, two things became abundantly clear: she’s a smart and resourceful woman, and she’s passionate about helping other parents raise healthy, happy children.
A journalism major and former advertising executive married to a popular Countryside High teacher, Settle decided to abandon her successful career when her now 11-year-old son, Jackson, suffered from medical complications after he was born.
“I never knew I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom until I brought home a stay-at-home baby!” she said of her decision in 2006 to resign as the vice-president of marketing for United Way of Tampa Bay.
“For someone whose identity was always associated with professional accomplishments, it was hard. But I had no choice. My baby was my priority.”
Following her premature retirement, Pam said she and her husband, Chris, had to “scale back” their lifestyle.
“It’s amazing how much money you can save when you cook at home, shop the sales and don’t buy what you don’t need,” she stated.
“Those things become low on the priority list. We have a nice, clean home in a nice community and a healthy son who has his mother around.”
Pam Settle, her son, Jackson, and husband, Chris. (Credit: Pam Settle/Facebook)
While working as Marketing Director for Pinellas County Government, Settle nearly drove herself to the point of exhaustion due to the stress of working and taking care of a baby.
“It got so bad I had to drive myself to the emergency room,” she admitted. “The doctor told me my Vitamin B and D levels were some of the lowest he’d ever seen. He said you’re an exhausted mom who needs to slow down.
“So, I knew I needed to figure out what to do to generate some income. But it gave me the freedom to create something.”
Settle decided to combine her marketing skills and industry resources with her love of writing and parenting into “Good Living Magazine for Pinellas Families,” a free print publication that provides valuable resources and information for raising healthy and happy children.
“I saw Pinellas County didn’t have a family magazine incorporating local, county and city information, nonprofit information, and it became a publication I always wished I had as a PR person,” she said.
“When I got laid off it gave me the opportunity to find out what I could do with my passion, my skills and my location, and it popped into my mind, ‘I can do this!’”
A screenshot of the cover of the first holiday issue of “Good Living” magazine.
Settle said “Good Living,” a seasonal publication she puts together through extensive researching, social media scanning, networking with longtime contacts and the help of a North Carolina based graphic designer, is “heavy on the parenting and family side.”
“There were several similar publications out at the time, but I saw there was a gap for quality information to get out to parents,” she said, “and I looked at them and created what I felt was an ideal package of information featuring good people, businesses, events and focused on the “good” in our community.”
The first issue of “Good Living” was published in September 2010 and it quickly caught the attention of readers, thanks to its professional look and informative content.
“Every issue is filled with lists, resources and articles and is always resource heavy,” Settle said. “It directs people to a website instead of just telling you what’s happening.”
While Settle openly states her publication is a for-profit endeavor, she is quick to point out “Good Living” isn’t ad-heavy like many similar publications.
A screenshot of some of the “Good Living” magazine covers from the past seven years.
“Every single magazine contains a piece of my heart, whether its celebrating local entrepreneurs or talking about the sheriff’s department fighting drug abuse,” she said.
“It’s not just about the ads on the paper, it’s about a very deep desire for people to be their best selves.”
Seven years and roughly 50 issues in, “Good Living” is a certified success.
Available at hundreds of locations throughout Pinellas County, including schools, libraries, doctor’s offices, nonprofit organizations and recreation centers, Settle said she typically publishes 20,000 copies of each issue and she has “never had a situation in seven years where I’ve had to throw issues away.”
“Agencies call me asking me for more because it’s content that doesn’t really get put anywhere else, at least not in this way,” she said.
“I think it’s very special. There’s value in this and I’ll keep fighting for it.”
Pam Settle (center) receiving the Business of the Quarter award from Oldsmar City Council member Gabby McGee in 2013. (Credit: Pam Settle)
Now that her publishing “baby” has matured and grown, Settle has started focusing her attention on its offspring; she recently published “Good Living Tampa Bay Baby,” a guide for “prenatal to pre-k” parents, and has expanded coverage to include Hillsborough County.
She admitted she sees herself at the helm of a burgeoning publishing brand.
“I can see us doing multiple publications with niche purposes, all with the same philosophy and commitment to the message,” she said.
“That’s where it’s going. I’ll be a mom-prenuer!”
Regardless of what happens in the future, Settle’s efforts are being recognized now.
In addition to providing parenting advice on local television morning shows, Settle was recently nominated for a WEDU Be More award, an honor bestowed by the PBS affiliate that recognizes an “individual, family or group that has lent a unique voice to bring awareness, credence, support, or action to an issue or cause…thus making a tremendous impact within an organization in our community.”
A selfie of Pam Settle on the set of the Daytime TV show in November 2017. (Pam Settle/Facebook)
“It’s nice,” she said of the nomination, which is included in the nonprofit category even though her work is admittedly for-profit.
“I’m a spokesperson for many causes with no recognition from anybody, so to be considered for the WEDU award is an honor.”
Whether she becomes the Oprah of Oldsmar or not, Settle is content providing a happy, stable home life for her family while helping others do the same.
“There’s a lot of people reading what I write, and it’s helping people,” she said.
“People need to know the good stuff that’s out there. I was a natural born PR person, and I knew what people needed to know. Now the whole community is my client. They just don’t know it!”
She added, “My husband says he’s amazed at what I’m able to do as one person, and there are parts of me that think it’s divinely inspired.”
“But it’s what drives me. It’s unconventional, but it’s me!”
For more information on “Good Living” magazine, visit the publication’s website or Facebook page.
To vote for Pam Settle for the WEDU Be More award, visit the local PBS affiliate’s website.