The associate publisher of Armed Forces Journal ordered some calling cards last month but they came back with the title reading "Publisher." At age 33, Luanne Levins found - in a roundabout way - she had become a woman executive in the very male world of the military.
"I'm young and I have a pretty face," says Levins, whose father was an Army doctor." But the reason I attract attention is because when you look at the service journals and the military association publications, all the mastheads read male, male, male, male, down to the editorial assistant's slot."
Three years ago, at age 30, Levins "had a perfect crisis - I got a divorce, quit my job, went back to school." She took some accounting classes and switched from personnel agency work to selling copying machines, competing against the big boys, Xerox and IBM. Two years ago, she became associate publisher of the 114-year-old Journal and began learning about ad sales, type faces, newspaper design and circulation.
"I also learned what an F-14 was, who makes F-16s," recalls Levins, who learned well enough for owner-publisher Ben Schemmer to feel comfortable handing her the publisher's reins so he could return to writing.
She has become conversant on subjects only top sergeants and Pentagon brass generally find fascinating, btu her voice still draws comments: "You don't have a very deep voice," a defense contractor said recently when she called him. "And you don't sound like you have hair on your chest."