CHATHAM — Capping nearly a quarter of a century with The Cape Cod Chronicle, Advertising Sales Manager Debra DeCosta is retiring at the end of the year. This week, the newspaper announced the hiring of Melissa De La Vega to serve as the advertising sales representative for Harwich and Brewster.
She will join Amy Tagliaferri, whose territory includes Chatham, and Justin Alex, who covers Orleans and will also serve as The Chronicle’s next ad manager.
DeCosta started with the Chronicle in May 1998 and said she immediately felt at ease.
“I thought it was fun. I felt comfortable here,” she said. The newspaper even had a cat at the time, DeCosta noted. It was an easy career change for her.
“The clients were great. I came from the Harwich Chamber [of Commerce], so I knew a lot of them,” she said.
DeCosta thanked Publisher Henry C. Hyora for his support and leadership.
“He lets us run with ideas,”she said. The Chronicle also provides a flexible work environment that was perfect for her.
“I used to make all of my kids’ hockey games,” DeCosta said. She also acknowledged the leadership of the late Sheila Smith, who led the department when DeCosta joined. “She was kind of a mentor for me,” she said. “Sheila set the tone for how all of us worked.”
DeCosta said she’s excited to introduce De La Vega to advertising clients in Harwich and Brewster.
“I’m confident that she’s going to do a good job,” DeCcosta said. De La Vega is confident, energetic and invested in the community, she noted.
“I think it’s a rare opportunity,” De La Vega said of her new post, which she started Dec. 1. She comes to The Chronicle as the former sales and marketing manager for World Pub Wholesale, Inc., a family-run book sales company, and as the former marketing and publicity manager for Vagabond Fitness. She holds an undergraduate degree from the College of Charleston and a graduate degree from Lesley University.
A resident of Orleans, De La Vega formerly lived in Harwich, where her husband Marcus teaches physical education at the elementary school. They have three children ranging in age from 2 to 12. She was formerly a very active member of the school parent-teacher organization, and is now chair of her synagogue’s family engagement committee. De La Vega is also on the executive alumni board of Tabor Academy and is on the board of Monomoy Youth Soccer.
Those activities limit her time for hobbies, she said, but she and her husband enjoy spending time on beaches and the rail trail, and they like going out “to try new restaurants and fun places.”
DeCosta said she leaves a strong sales team to represent the clients of the Lower Cape’s independent newspaper.
“Amy’s going to be a great resource for Melissa,” she said. With the Chronicle for 24 years, Tagliaferri intimately knows the ins and outs of Chatham and has developed “ideas for new programs for clients that all of us use,” DeCosta said. Tagliaferri is extremely active in the Chatham business community and the nonprofit Pals for Life Foundation; helping nonprofits is part of the job for the newspaper’s advertising sales representatives, she said.
“In the sales department we’re all involved in the community. It’s the way we work,” DeCosta said. “We’re not just corporate — we’re not just on the phone,” she said.
DeCosta said she’s very pleased to announce the newspaper’s choice of Justin Alex to lead the sales department.
“Justin’s going to be awesome,” she said. “He just exudes enthusiasm for the work The Chronicle does.”
When she retires at the end of the month, DeCosta will be spending more time with her husband, Dana, and the two will be expanding their horizons.
“My husband and I have an RV,” she said. They intend to head south to Florida to spend the next three months, “and then we’re going west for three months,” spending time in California before driving back to their home base in Harwich for the summer.
“And then we’ll do it all again,” she said.