Dr Renée Otmar awarded the 2022 Janet Mackenzie Medal

A photo of a smiling woman, Dr Renée Otmar, holding a large gold medal on a blue ribbon, in front of a bright abstract painting
Dr Renée Otmar receives the Janet Mackenzie Medal

Accomplished Geelong-based writer, editor, researcher and trainer Renée Otmar DE (Distinguished Editor) has been awarded the 2022 Janet Mackenzie Medal for her three decades of service to editing.

The Mackenzie, as it is affectionately known, is the Institute of Professional Editors’ (IPEd) highest award. It is given to an outstanding professional editor who has lifted the standard of the editing profession and/or given exemplary service to IPEd.

The award honours the memory of revered editor, author and IPEd member Janet Mackenzie DE (1947–2018). 

Renée said that the honour was bittersweet because the editor for whom it was named was a friend, colleague and mentor to her for much of her early editing career, as they had both served as founding members of the Society of Editors Victoria (now Editors Victoria, the Victorian branch of IPEd).

“I’ve always felt a strong affinity with Janet’s approach to editing, and her sensibility and interest in social justice and environmental conservation, as well as her extraordinary pragmatism,” Renée said. “Janet encouraged us to uphold high professional and ethical standards, and to keep ourselves accountable to them. And so, that IPEd has established this award in her honour and for me to be honoured as a recipient of the Janet Mackenzie Medal, really means the world to me.”

Dr Lan Wang, Director of Editors Victoria, said that Renée’s contributions to editing included being the President of Editors Victoria three times, helping to establish IPEd’s Accreditation Scheme and being its Lead Exam Assessor since 2008, serving as an IPEd Director twice and being the founding chair of the Standing Committee on Academic Editing. 

“Aside from her exemplary professional career in editing, writing and training, Renée has made an outstanding contribution to IPEd and the editing profession over the past 30 years,” Lan said.

Renée has been a Distinguished Editor of IPEd since 2008, and a Honorary Life Member since 2000. She has given countless hours of service to IPEd-wide working parties, standing committees and the IPEd Board.  

Through Renée’s distinguished career, she has worked extensively as an editor, senior editor and managing editor, in-house and freelance. As a certified coach, Renée works with editors and writers and provides professional supervision for those working with sensitive or disturbing content. 

Since 2009, Renée has developed a research career in public health, in parallel with her editing and coaching work. She has also served as a Director of Life Stories Australia and, since 2013, as a researcher member of two human research ethics committees.