JOAN RAYMOND is a freelance writer and reporter living in suburban Cleveland. She has covered numerous social issues for Newsweek, SmartMoney, Health, and other publications. Raymond is the author of Migraines, a book written to help the newly diagnosed patient better understand the disease. When she's not working, Joan enjoys horseback riding, organic farming, and scuba diving, preferably not in Lake Erie.

JAMES MEHRING, who writes our Macro&Micro column, is an economic research assistant for BusinessWeek. He joined the magazine in 2000 and writes about U.S. and international economics. Previously, Mehring worked on antitrust cases at the Federal Trade Commission. When he is not spending time with his wife, Lyn Goldsworthy, and nine-month-old daughter, Abigail, James can be found at New York University pursuing his MBA or on the softball field with his magazine colleagues. He also contributes regularly to BusinessWeek Online's Working Parents blog.

SMITHA BALLAL, SmallBiz' 2006 summer intern, will finish graduate studies in business journalism at New York University this fall. Ballal previously held internships at The St. Petersburg Times and at CNBC. Born in Baton Rouge, La., and brought up in the Chicago area, she and her husband recently relocated from Jersey City to Manhattan's Upper West Side.

    Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.