Staff Insights: Personal Histories

by Monitor Staff Monitor 50th Anniversary 2023
Members of Monitor’s senior staff reminisce about their individual journeys with Monitor and the publication’s evolution from tabloid newspaper to multi-media company.

While I was attending college at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, I worked part-time at a grocery story as a bookkeeper. One of my co-workers was Maureen Boyle, an effervescent, fun red-head who I adored. When I was getting ready to graduate, Maureen suggested I talk to her Uncle Mike for career guidance. Turns out, Uncle Mike was the one-and-only Mike Molloy, founder of Monitor. So, I met Mike for lunch in Wynnewood, PA. He was this wonderful, intense man who seemed genuinely interested in guiding me. I learned later that this was the essence of Mike Molloy, who was a man committed to making a difference. I told him that I loved to write, research and work hard. At the end of the lunch, he asked me if I’d to consider being the editor of Monitor, a small independent newspaper for the equipment finance industry. I couldn’t believe it! I interviewed with a few people, including Jerry Parrotto, and on September 21, 1987 I started my career as the editor of Monitor.

Monitor’s first issue was published in May 1974 as a 12-page black and white newspaper. By 1987, Monitor was a 20-page tabloid newspaper. I was handed the proverbial keys and was given tons of autonomy. I was just 22 years old and didn’t know much about the newspaper business, so I had a huge learning curve and I loved every minute of it. Over time, I was able to make changes in every area of the business. We went from a black and white newspaper to full-color, eventually we transitioned to a magazine format. We created all kinds of new features, columns and special sections. And most importantly, we made Monitor a vital publication in equipment finance through our content and advertisements. It became a bona fide business and still is 50 years later!

Everything we do today is completely different from what we did in the 80s. Literally, nothing is the same. We used to get articles and news in the mail or by fax, and then had to type every word into a PC. We then had to lay out type by hand and with an exacto blade. Can you imagine? This was all before desktop publishing. I feel so fortunate to have experienced publishing a newspaper or magazine before desktop publishing because it makes me unbelievably grateful for how things get done now versus in the past. It truly has been an incredible journey!

– Lisa Rafter, CEO and Publisher, Monitor 1987-2004, 2018-Present


I worked with Lisa Rafter at Monitor for more than 20 years, so when she called me one day in 2018 to have dinner, I didn’t think much of it. We had both started at Monitor in the late 1980s but left to pursue other opportunities in the 2000s. During that dinner, she told me she was going to buy the company and asked if I’d join her again as director of advertising and marketing. I didn’t need to think more than a few seconds — it was an emphatic yes!

I first found my passion for sales in my early days at Monitor, but I also quickly learned that I loved this industry, particularly the people who make up our industry! In the time I’ve been with Monitor, both before Lisa bought the company and after, it has grown so much. Monitor was a tabloid newspaper when I started selling subscriptions in 1988 and it was really just Lisa and me. Today, we’re a team of more than a dozen and not only do we still produce the magazine, but we do so much more, including the daily e-news, podcasts, livestreams, events and more.

One of the things I’m most proud of was the launch of our first women’s issue in 2019. Back in the 1980s and early 1990s, Lisa and I would attend industry conferences and there were very few women, so to get a chance to showcase some of the amazing women in this industry and how far it’s come was one of the proudest accomplishments of my career.

– Susie Angelucci, Director of Advertising Sales, Monitor 1988-2004, 2018-Present


I often hear people say that they “stumbled into equipment finance,” so I guess it’s my turn. In 2007, I was working as a paralegal when I came across a job listing on Craigslist, of all places, for an administrative financial assistant position at a magazine called Monitor. I had a degree in English and professional writing, so I was intrigued by the idea of joining.

During my first few years with Monitor, I did a bit of everything, serving as a bookkeeper and receptionist and eventually stepping into an editorial role. One of the first major projects I did for the magazine itself was take over the lead on Monitor 100, an industry ranking that we’ve produced every year since 1992. Working on my first Monitor 100 taught me a lot about equipment finance — it was almost like a crash course. I learned about the top companies, what kinds of assets are financed and so many other little details I would never have known otherwise.

The Monitor 100 is always quite the undertaking and I still learn something new every year, but that first one still sticks out to me, as I remember sitting with the charts and a ruler and pencil to compare survey numbers for hours. But when we finally got the issue in the mail, it came with a real sense of accomplishment (and still does today).

I became editor and chief of Monitor in 2019 after working outside the industry for a year, even though I was still freelancing for the magazine. I’ve always enjoyed covering this industry and its people, but it was even easier to return because at Monitor, we’re always starting something new and exciting.

– Rita Garwood, Editor and Chief, Monitor 2012-Present


You could argue that 2015 was one of the most important years in equipment finance history. After all, that was the year General Electric began selling off its GE Capital assets. By happenstance, it was also the year I joined Monitor, doing so just a couple months after that historic news broke. Something tells me one of those events was more momentous than the other, however.

Over the course of its history, Monitor has covered its fair share of paradigm-shifting events, from changes in the tax code in the 1980s to the Great Recession to the COVID-19 pandemic, and everything in between. But Monitor has grown to become more than just a news outlet and magazine, particularly during my relatively short time with the company. With the introduction of podcasts and livestreams in response to the pandemic, Monitor branched into entirely new content types. Then, about two years ago, we began talking how Monitor could create its own content subscription platform, almost like Netflix for equipment finance. That led to the launch of Monitor Suite, which includes exclusive video series, including our most recent production on the legend and legacy of GE Capital (I guess things do come full circle now and then). We’re still learning about and perfectly this platform, just as we are with everything we do, but we’re also always cooking up the next new project.

Monitor has transformed into a multi-media company in a matter of years, which has pushed me to be a photographer, a videographer, a video editor, a director and more because we are constantly taking on new challenges to improve what we offer to our audience.

– Phil Neuffer, Senior Editor, Monitor 2015-2018, 2020-Present

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