Celebrating New Leaf Literary & Media's 10th anniversary last year, founder, president, and literary agent Joanna Volpe said the New York City-based agency has continued to evolve over the years to keep up with a rapidly changing industry. In that evolution, how the company defines a "literary success" has also changed.

"We started out like most other agencies—aiming for the bestseller list and big sales. But we pivoted early on when we hired Hilary Pecheone as our director of brand development back in 2015 to educate our team and support our clients on building out platforms that last," said Volpe. They still want "bestsellers and big sales," she explained, but they are after big-picture goals.

"In doing so, the literary success of each project is largely determined by whether we've achieved any of the creator's goals or milestones," said Volpe. "It's not just about what success looks like in the market at a given time."

To grow the support team behind their clients and literary agents, the agency recently announced three new director-level promotions and several other hires.

Patrice Caldwell, who started at the agency in 2020 and represents Kwame Mbalia, George M. Johnson, and Leah Johnson, will lead the agency's literary department as literary director. Jordan Hill, whose clients include Roshani Chokshi, Keisha Bush, Christine Platt, and Carolyn Huynh, has been promoted to literary agent. Promoted to literary associates, Jenniea Carter, Sophia M. Ramos, and Trinica Sampson-Vera will build their own lists while also assisting Volpe, Leaf v-p Suzie Townsend, and Caldwell respectively.

New hires include Lindsay Howard as Volpe's assistant, formerly operations manager at Books Are Magic, and Olivia Coleman, formerly an intern at Catapult, who will assist Townsend. Additional recent hires include Tyler Atwood, who is an agency coordinator, and Gabby Benjamin, a business affairs assistant in the Business Affairs department with director Joseph Volpe and associate director Donna Yee.

Leading the agency's Brand Development department includes director Hilary Pecheone and assistant, Eileen Lalley; Film, TV, & Media Rights is led by director Pouya Shahbazian and assistant Katherine Curtis.

“Our client roster has grown significantly in so many different directions and ways over the past few years. That growth has brought along opportunities in several spaces outside of traditional publishing," said literary agent Hill. "We've expanded in merchandising, brand partnerships, collaborations, and adaptations. We've learned a lot and worked to establish our authors in these various spaces, ultimately allowing them to reach more audiences and give them the flexibility and information to decide which opportunities are best for them.”

Caldwell explained that the company's promotions and new hires are a part of an internal alignment to develop a more transparent work environment in which each team member is "supported, mentored and heard." In addition to providing a fair salary, health care and retirement benefits for employees, Caldwell stressed that building a strong internal team makes for a stronger external support team for the agency's clients. "If we want people to perform their best, as an agency, we have to support them and that’s what I’m here to do and what success means to me," said Caldwell. "As important as those goals are, if you don’t get to know people as individuals, the goals start to lose meaning."

New Leaf also announced new hires as it expands its foreign rights department to include worldwide English language rights, audio, and translation sales. Tracy Williams, a 20-year Hachette Book Group veteran, will lead the New Leaf's new subrights division. As an associate agent, Sarah Gerton, formerly of Curtis Brown, will work with Williams as New Leaf's lead for U.K. and audio rights sales.

Additionally, New Leaf announced that Kate Sullivan, who joined the company in 2018 to work editorially with clients, is stepping into the role of associate director of content and professional development, "overseeing all editorial and story development for clients as well as guiding the staff in professional development."

“At New Leaf, we've always thought of ourselves as literary managers that focused strategically on a client's career, and that meant expanding upon the traditional role of a 'literary agent,' which has particularly come into play these last several years as the pandemic brought about new challenges for the industry," said Townsend.

According to the agency, it has launched more than 100 New York Times bestselling titles and partnered with a network of global co-agents to sell client works into 56 languages in 115 countries. Amid many industry changes, the "tenets of the literary agent and author relationship at New Leaf have not," said Hill.

"We're advocates and we're cheerleaders," she explained. "We've expanded our business and brought new and exciting things to the forefront, but the roots of how we do business with our clients stands steady and true.”