Photo: Dale Robbins

James Autry


Poet and former publishing executive James Autry is the author of several books of poems and practical philosophy, including Looking Around for God, The Servant Leader, Love and Profit: The Art of Caring Leadership and his latest, Choosing Gratitude: Learning to Love the Life You Have.

During his 30 years at Meredith Corporation, Autry was known as one of the most respected magazine executives in America. Beginning as a copy editor of Better Homes and Gardens in 1960, Autry worked his way up to the role of editor-in-chief. By the time he retired, Autry was senior vice president of Meredith Corporation and president of its magazine group — a $500 million operation with over 900 employees.

Today, in addition to his work as a writer, Autry serves as a corporate consultant specializing in leadership and management, and is active in civic and charitable organizations. He is a founder and chairman of People for the American Way, a constitutional rights organization, and also created the Des Moines Poetry Festival. In 1991, the University of Missouri-Columbia awarded Autry the Missouri Medal of Honor for Distinguished Service in Journalism, an award given for a long track record of excellence.

Along with his wife, former Iowa Lieutenant Governor Sally Pederson, Autry is a major supporter of several autism awareness organizations, including Autism Speaks (formerly the National Alliance for Autism Research).