ACES Evolve 2023

The Power of Masterminding | Barbie Halaby, Nichole Wayland, Heather Saunders, Alysha Love

Editorial mastermind groups have been gaining in popularity, owing to the immense power they have for growing businesses and helping editors “level up.” The format of close peer group feedback, regular meetings, and readily accessible communication channels supports and challenges editors no matter what their career stage. Thanks to our experience with mastermind groups, we can offer a guide to starting a mastermind group of your own and setting it up for success.

Intermediate, All editors, Core Skills


Barbie Halaby (she/her) launched Monocle Editing in 2008 after six years editing at a traditional publishing house in South Carolina. Now located in Maryland, she offers manuscript evaluation, developmental editing, line editing, copyediting, and proofreading to indie authors, university presses, trade publishers, and corporations. A longtime active member of ACES and the EFA (Editorial Freelancers Association), Barbie has served as a formal mentor to less experienced editors and has been part of editorial mastermind groups since 2017. You can find her at and @MonocleEd.

After graduating with a bachelor’s from Cornell University, Nicole Wayland (she/her) started her publishing career at an academic press, where she managed more than two hundred titles in the arts and humanities. In 2012, she started her own business to offer copyediting and proofreading services. She currently focuses on children’s and young adult fiction, as well as fiction and nonfiction titles for adults. Her clients include Penguin Random House, Hachette Book Group, and Macmillan. Nicole has been active in mastermind groups since 2017. You can find her at and @nwaylandediting.

Heather E. Saunders (she/they/Mx.) is CEO and lead editor at Nova Arc Content Co., a content company specializing in the aerospace, defense, STEM, and medical sectors. She has more than 15 years of experience as a technical editor, writer, and proofreader. She also regularly teaches on and writes about technical editing, conscious language, business and mentorship, and science communication. You can find her at and on Twitter as @h_e_saunders.

Alysha Love (she/her) is an incurable journalist and accredited executive coach. She heads up her editorial agency, Payette Media House, from beautiful Boise, Idaho. She spent years in Washington, D.C., as an editor at CNN and POLITICO, then led Intuit QuickBooks’s editorial content marketing team. Alysha has bachelor's degrees in journalism and psychology from the University of Missouri and is pursuing a master's in leadership and organizational development at the University of Texas. Alysha is a volunteer coach for Poynter's Digital Women Leaders and a director on the board of ACES: The Society for Editing.

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