ACES Evolve 2023

Meaningful Work: Aligning Your Career With Your Values | Erin Servais, Molly McCowan, Crystal Shelley, Lourdes Venard

Can you build a successful editing career without sacrificing your personal values and ethics, whether you work for yourself or someone else? Yes, you can! Hear from several editors on how being ethical in your work helps you build expertise and attract like-minded clients.

In this panel, we’ll discuss incorporating your values in how you: 

We’ll also chat about what happens when you say yes to a project that doesn’t match your values and how you can say no instead.

Intermediate, All editors, Business of Editing


Erin Servais is a book editor, author coach, and founder of Dot and Dash, LLC, a boutique author services company empowering women writers. In her 15 years as an editor, she has helped to bring hundreds of titles to print, including several award winners and USA Today and Amazon best sellers. Erin is also the founder of the Editors Tea Club, and she has presented for ACES: The Society for Editing, the Professional Editors Network, and Editors Canada, among others. She lives in Minnesota with her hockey-playing husband, her odd-shaped dog, and her gaggle of weird plants.

A highly experienced developmental editor, certified business coach, and instructor, Molly McCowan empowers editorial entrepreneurs to build badass businesses. Learn how to find your ideal rates, escape the hustle, and (re)build a business that energizes you in Molly's free course for editors at

Crystal Shelley is the owner of Rabbit with a Red Pen, where she provides editing and authenticity reading services to fiction authors. Drawing on her background as a social worker, she unites her love of language and her passion for social justice by pushing for writing and representation that is more dignified, intentional, and just. She is the creator of the Conscious Language Toolkits for Editors and Writers, serves on the board of ACES: The Society for Editing, and is an instructor for the Editorial Freelancers Association. When she's not working with words, she's probably swearing at a video game.

Lourdes Venard is the education editor at the News Literacy Project, a nonpartisan education nonprofit helping students and others learn to identify credible news and understand the indispensable role a free press has in a democracy. She also is an editing instructor at the University of California, San Diego, and the Editorial Freelancers Association. Lourdes worked at major newspapers for 30 years and was a freelance editor for numerous years. As a freelancer, she focused on helping women writers and those from marginalized communities. She served as an EFA board member and subinitiative leader with the EFA's Diversity Initiative.

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