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Home » Interviews » Bright Eyes Patient Spotlight: Leslie Joy Ickowitz Publisher and Editor of VERTICAL Tampa Bay

Bright Eyes Patient Spotlight: Leslie Joy Ickowitz Publisher and Editor of VERTICAL Tampa Bay

I have been very pleased with the response from the Bright Eyes Patient Spotlight and my goal now is to make it a monthly feature on Bright Eyes News. So every month, we'll highlight a Bright Eyes patient who is doing something interesting and intriguing around Tampa Bay.

This month, I am pleased to spotlight Leslie Joy Ickowitz, Publisher and Editor of VERTICAL Tampa Bay.

So without any further ado...

Dr. B:  You've been involved in publishing for a long time. Tell me about your new project, Vertical Tampa Bay:

LJI:  VERTICAL is Tampa Bay’s first fully virtual magazine celebrating fashion, flavor, travel, culture and beauty (inside & out). It is a magazine with a conscience, designed to uplift our community. It is inspired by and speaks to the visionaries who call Tampa Bay home.

Prior to the launch of the premiere even, its reception has been marvelous. Everyone I speak to “gets it, believes in it and wants to be a part of it.” What more could I hope for? It’s a dream-come-true.

What led you to go virtual with VERTICAL? Describe how that makes it different from other projects with which you've been involved.

Going virtual was an easy decision (even though I’m a fan of print publications). Beyond the obvious green factor, there are several advantages to VERTICAL’s virtual delivery.

Without the overhead of print, ink, chemicals, etc., VERTICAL offers a more affordable and much more powerful advertising solution to help businesses continue marketing. Direct links to featured-and advertiser websites enable the instant gratification we all lust for—advertisers want to drive traffic to their sites while readers want access to more information, in the moment.

In addition to the striking aesthetic impact of the digital presentation, VERTICAL’s interactivity empowers readers to shop. If you see an ad or an article about a spa for example, with one click you can access the spa’s website to view the menu of treatments and make contact to schedule an appointment.

It’s exciting to be ahead of the curve.

The Media Kit that I have seen at looks gorgeous. Have you been pleased with the reception that has gotten?

Everybody is flipping over the media kit! I am honored to have a talented team of individuals contributing to VERTICAL. Susan Jeffers is a phenomenal photographer and Pamela Bloomgren is an amazing wardrobe stylist and makeup artist. Bill Baker is Tampa Bay’s celebrity hair stylist and our cover girl, Olivia, has a bright future ahead. Add my art director, James Burgos of Boulevard Creative, to the mix and that’s a recipe for style and success!

What other exciting projects are you working on?

A few things:

VERTICAL is a proud media sponsor of Tampa Bay Fashion Week 9/23 – 9/26 (

While subscriptions to VERTICAL will always be free, we are bringing an optional membership program on board starting with the holiday issue (November/December).

And another one of my favorite activities: connecting people. I’m happy to be the “unofficial publicist” for lots of wonderful individuals.

Every day, VERTICAL exposes new possibilities to me. There’s much more excitement to come on the horizon…

Thanks again, Leslie. Anything else you'd like to share?

Yes, two things:

VERTICAL is a true community magazine. It is as much yours as it is mine. In every issue we are donating ads to local charities and featuring entrepreneurs and philanthropists who contribute to the greater good of the Tampa Bay area. I hope our readers will participate by nominating people and organizations that deserve the attention. I may not be able to say, “yes” all the time but you can bet I’m going to try my best. Submit nominations to:

It is my pleasure to invite Bright Eyes customers and friends to receive a complimentary subscription to VERTICAL. Click here to sign up:

Thanks to Leslie for taking the time to talk about her exciting new project. If you'd like to find out more you can at or you can follow Vertical on Twitter. It is always fun to hear about and be involved in new projects going on in Westchase and Tampa Bay.

If you are a patient and would like to be in the Spotlight, email or find us on Twitter

Be Well!

Dr. Nate

Nathan Bonilla-Warford, OD
Bright Eyes Family Vision Care
Located in the Westchase area of Tampa.
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