The National Magazine Awards Foundation is deeply saddened by the loss of Neville Gilfoy, founder and publisher of Progress Magazine in Nova Scotia, who passed away yesterday from complications of lymphoma.
As an innovator and entrepreneur who built Progress Media Group into Atlantic Canada’s most trusted and important sources of business information, Neville was a strident proponent of economic development and entrepreneurial spirit in the region he dearly loved.
Neville often volunteered to serve on the jury for the National Magazine Awards, regularly offering his time and expertise in service to the industry and promoting excellence in Canadian magazines. Guests who met him at the annual National Magazine Awards gala were charmed and invigorated by his enthusiasm for the potential of magazine publishing and for business and innovation in Atlantic Canada.
For being an outstanding example to all who worked with him—and to the Canadian magazine industry—the NMAF in 2006 awarded Neville the Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement.
“Neville ached to see Atlantic Canada prosper and believed an entrepreneurial revolution was required to make it happen.”
— Greg Keilty, publisher of Sky News
Neville spent more than 40 years in magazine publishing. He was been behind the launch of several magazines, including Atlantic Insight (50,000 paid subscriptions within eight months), Eastern Woods and Waters, and Atlantic Progress (later Progress; he also created a French-language counterpart, Progrès), and successfully built one of the most capable, committed and determined publishing teams in Canada.
He served as a CPPA/CMPA board member from 1979 to 1987, as president of the Atlantic Provinces Chamber of Commerce, and as chair of the board of the Greater Halifax Partnership. For 15 years he taught at the Banff Publishing Workshop. He presented at hundreds of seminars and conferences, from CMPA and Magazines University to economic development groups and high-school classes. In 1999 he launched Face to Face, one of the most remarkable entrepreneurial conferences produced by any magazine in North America. In 2006 he was appointed honorary consul of France in Nova Scotia.
At the core of Gilfoy’s success was his talent and determination for making those around him share his “uncommon delight” for the magazine industry. “He eats, sleeps and dreams the business of magazine publishing,” Dirk van Loon, editor and publisher of DvL Publishing Inc., told the NMAF in 2006 when nominating Neville for the Outstanding Achievement Award. “He gladly shares what he knows with anyone else crazy enough to get into the racket.”
“Publishing a magazine that has had such a positive impact on the Atlantic region is an accomplishment that I am very proud of. Progress has a purpose and a mission and its audience is impacted by that. The company wouldn’t enjoy the level of success it does without the team of professionals with whom I work. The people who produce our magazines, our events and our online product are the absolute best and are wonderfully committed to the success of our company and the region. It’s an amazing thing to be part of.”
He will be missed. The NMAF staff and board of directors offer our condolences to Neville’s family and friends and all those who will remember him well.
More on Neville from D.B. Scott at the Canadian Magazines blog.