By Lizzy Barrett

I recently had the opportunity to interview Lucretia Free, the publisher and founder of The Vail Voice community newspaper. Ms. Free is a successful entrepreneur, an accomplished publisher, and is also running for congress. She was one of the first marketing directors in the country for large corporate law firms. She had a really successful career consulting for legal firms in San Francisco. Our conversation covered several topics including her background, philosophy, and some advice for becoming a journalist.

Ms. Free grew up in rural Ohio. One of the reasons why she moved out to the Tucson area was because of how quiet it was. After working in a San Francisco city environment, she didn’t like how crowded it was. She was looking for a place with excellent schools for her three children and affordable housing.

Ms. Free got an MBA at age 23 and she said that she supports higher education. Having an MBA opened up a lot of doors of opportunity for her. However, her daughter opened up her eyes that not everybody has the same career path. Ms. Free said that “the practicality of some [of] the things I learned when I got my masters has also been beneficial. However, having said all of that, that is not the path for everyone.” She believes that it’s “not a one-size fits all scenario…” She provided other path examples such as the JTED program that provides various technical and trade skills.

The Vail Voice was founded in 2001. She started The Vail Voice because “it’s intended to be and reflect the voice of the community.” Ms. Free said she doesn’t have a designated reporter or writer because it is a community newspaper. She said that first starting a local newspaper made her feel “frozen with fear.” However, it has become a successful publication. She says that she hopes to continue with The Vail Voice for another 20 years. She is also the founder and publisher of The American Woman Shooter. She published this to provide a voice for people to share their stories. She includes the diverse stories of women and families who go to the range for a variety of reasons such as the enjoyment of target shooting, self-defense, food, sports shooting, etc.

Ms. Free offered me advice on entering the media world. She explains, “Push past that fear. The fear of failure is natural and normal, but you just don’t allow yourself to live there.” She further explains that, for people who only have negative things to say, her advice is, “Don’t accept the gift of their negativity. Return it unopened and surround yourself with people who are positive where you can support one another in whatever your goals are.”

It was an amazing opportunity to interview Ms. Free. She writes about a variety of topics that are entertaining, educational and informative. I feel very inspired by Ms. Free because she works hard and is now very successful. Her advice and hard work inspire me to continue my passion for writing.

Lizzy Barrett is a Vail USD student and freelance reporter contributing to Bear Essential News for Kids® and their News for Kids segments on KVOA TV. She’s also appeared on KNST’s “Money Matters” and KVOI’s “Liberty Watch” radio shows.

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