Firsts and Not Firsts

My favorite part of being a magazine editor is interviewing people. I ask questions, and people open up. Sometimes we cry. Usually we laugh. Once a quarter, I host a roundtable for our BusinessQ Magazine. Most of the time, I’m the only woman in the room.

I interviewed five suits today.

At this quarterly roundtable we talked health care. We talked insurance. And we talked consumerism. It was a deep conversation, and you can read all about it — and by that I mean half of it — in the next issue of BusinessQ. While I was doing my umpteenth roundtable, two of my kids were facing a “first.”

Nathan started junior high. Yep, he’s a sev-y.

Nathan was nervous about opening his locker, whether he should take his PE clothes on the first day and how he would know which bus to get on when the last bell rang. Lindsey, on the other hand, got front-door valet service to her first day of kindergarten.

Lindsey insisted on a lunchbox that barely holds enough food to keep a fly alive. Good thing this head-tilter is tiny.

Today is my 3,650th day as editor of Utah Valley Magazine. So around the dinner table tonight (if we manage to gather), I’ll let the “first days” do the talking. I still have my listening ears on from this morning’s roundtable.

First Person to See Someone They Know

Matt and I like to play a game when we go to the mall, Costco or Disneyland. The first person to see someone they know is the winner. We have to know the person’s name — and be willing to say hello. Last night, I attended the Discovery Gala at Thanksgiving Point, and I won the game in the parking lot (of course, Matt was home being the parent so he wasn’t much competition). Dave Young, financial planner who owns Paragon, pulled up next to me. He has frequently written investment columns for our Utah Valley Magazine and BusinessQ. He’s a smart man who looks even smarter in a Hawaiian shirt. Then Debbie Flynn registered me and gave me my bid number. Debbie is a beautiful and generous community volunteer and entrepreneur — we’re more than Facebook friends! Throughout the night I saw other friendly faces — Mary Crafts (top caterer in the state and our restaurant reviewer for UVMag), Curtis Bennett (big wig at OC Tanner and no relation), Cynthia Gambill (owner of Remedez), Kevin Gallagher (the voice of every auction at Utah County events), Tim Branscomb (owner of Sierra West). I could go on but you might think I’m bragging when I’ve already won the game. Utah Valley’s inner circle of generosity shows up at gala after gala. As a member of the media, we dangle on the outside with a camera hanging around our necks. But it’s a small price to pay to have a back-row seat to the best of Utah County.

The Barn at Thanksgiving Point was transformed to a tropical paradise for the Discovery Gala.

Later today, we’re headed to Lagoon with the fam. We promised to take the kids before school starts, and being the deadline-driven journalists that we are, we waited until the last possible day! (We’re walking out on the Utah Valley Magazine deadline to meet the “Lagoon promise” deadline. Don’t worry, staff! We will be checking e-mail in between rides!) I’m planning to beat Matt at the “First Person to See Someone” match at Lagoon. Game on!

Last year, Lindsey and I giggled our way through Odyssey. Can’t wait to give it a whirl today while I look for people I know!

Big River, Big Thank You!

As we near our 10th anniversary for the birth of Utah Valley Magazine, I’m feeling a bit nostalgic. I even looked through our 2000 and 2001 issues today. Other than being horrified by a few layouts, I’m proud of our early days. And I’m incredibly grateful for our advertising clients. Thirty-seven companies bought ads in our first issue without even seeing a prototype. What were they thinking? Um, I mean … these companies had vision and foresight. Last Thursday, we invited some of our top clients to Sundance to watch “Big River” in the outdoor theater. It was one small way of saying thanks to those companies who see us as their marketing partner and allow us the privilege of writing about Utah Valley!

My daughter, Hailey, (left) and our office manager, Whitney, greeted our clients at the Bennett Communications table at Sundance. Who wouldn’t be excited to see these two friendly faces?

Thanks to all of the businesses and subscribers who make Utah Valley Magazine possible! You’ve given us 10 years of business bliss.

In Front of the Camera

You look great!” “You’re a natural!” These are the kinds of things I say to people when we’re taking their picture for Utah Valley Magazine, BusinessQ or Celebrating Women Magazine. Easy for me to say from behind the camera. For months I’ve been putting off getting a new editor’s picture taken. I need to lose a few. Color my hair. Go shopping. But with our 10th anniversary issue of UVMag coming out next month, I finally gave in and gave up. After we photographed a For Every Home distributor yesterday (and I told her how great she looked), it was my turn to hop in front of the camera — my turn to awkwardly fuss with my hands and blink at just the wrong time.But if anyone can snap a good photo, it’s Kenneth and MaryLyn Linge. They’ve turned more than 50 everyday people into cover models for our magazines in the past seven years. Together we’ve had a lot of laughs, tears (mine) and a even a ride on a private jet.

Only one black shoe made it to the photo studio, so I’m wearing brown heels with a black and white dress. Kenneth assured me my shoes won’t be in the final picture.
It was 90 degrees outside, but I wore a heavy green jacket for one of the photos. Kenneth was kind enough to have the thermometer set to 70 degrees.

I haven’t seen the photos yet, but at some point I’ll painfully go through the choices and ask Matt to say things to me like, “You look great!” and “You’re a natural!” Then the time will come for the magazine to go to the printer, and I’ll have to be happy with my photo — brown shoes and all. I think I’ll stay behind the camera for awhile and spout compliments and encouragement — I’ll just do it with more empathy.
Only one black shoe made it to the photo studio, so I’m wearing brown heels with a black and white dress. Kenneth assured me my shoes won’t be in the final picture.


Ten years ago this month, we nervously sent our FIRST issue of Utah Valley Magazine to the printer. We were clueless about what was around the publishing corner. We anticipated writing stories, organizing photo shoots and opening letters to the editor that praised our last issue. All of that has come true. But there’s been oh-so-much-more. We’ve seen our fair share of sticky business issues — collections calls, credit merchant woes and break-ins (two, to be exact — now we have a serious security system so don’t mess with us). We’ve had a few unkind letters (primarily surrounding the “Nedra” issue, but we won’t go there — I don’t feel like sorting through 139 more letters to the editor just yet.) But mostly, we feel lucky to feature the unbelievable people, scenery, events and businesses that call Utah Valley home. We’ve had the time of our lives, and we hope we’ve given our readers plenty of reasons to smile, rethink a topic or sit down and write a letter to the editor (keep it kind, keep it kind). One of the most common comments from our readers is that they love our annual lookalike contest. We deliver a new batch every September, and this year we have nine people who will have you doing a double take. A couple of years ago, I used my own lookalike photo for my editor’s letter.

Jeanette Bennett aka ?????

Can you guess who I look like? The answer is in our Sept/Oct 2008 issue. The new lookalikes are much closer matches to their celebrity doubles than I was. The lookalikes and the rest of the 10th anniversary issue will come to a mailbox (or newsstand) near you the first week of September. Until then, I’ll be checking my mailbox for more fan mail — and setting our security system.