9 Years and 9 Things

(Above: Greg Bennett at a recent interview/photo shoot with the UVU basketball coach. Greg is our “sports editor” here at BC.) This month marks NINE YEARS since my brother-in-law came on board as an editor and writer here at Bennett Communications. There are many kind quips I could share about being related to Greg and working with this man who is 13 months my junior, but here are nine to celebrate the same number of years we’ve breathed the same deadline air. Although Greg and my husband are the same height and hair color, those of us “in the know” can tell these brothers apart instantly by looks and personality. But many clients and community members think Matt and Greg are one and the same. I love that Greg knows when to correct people and when to just “go with it.” Greg is the world’s expert in organizing and producing Parade of Homes magazines from start to finish. I have a call into Guinness to make sure the world knows there is nobody better at coordinating floor plans, subcontractor lists, sponsor ads and last-minute changes. Greg keeps our HBA clients happy in Utah Valley, Park City, Northern Wasatch and Salt Lake. And that keeps me happy. No other staffer can add humor to our monthly meetings like Greg can. His serious side easily gives way to pop culture references and spot-on impersonations. In our first out-of-home office at the mouth of Provo Canyon, I shared a small room with Greg, Matt and our intern. Tight quarters led to funnies and frustration. When Greg repeatedly asked a certain intern to turn down her Celine Dion music, she started to hold her head down close to the speakers to hear the single decibel Greg would allow. I can’t hear Celine Dion anymore without picturing someone voluntarily getting a neck cramp to keep Greg happy. I’ve been bossing Greg around since 9th grade when I was the yearbook editor of our junior high, and he was the star seventh grader on the staff. He knows when to listen to me, when to ignore me and when to spoon feed me advice and perspective. Greg patiently waited at numerous press conferences and media moments trying to line up an interview with THE JIMMER for our March/April 2011 cover story in Utah Valley Magazine. Greg did eventually get to ask the Qs to the man-of-the-hour. Some have asked why I didn’t do that interview. Of course I would have loved to chat with Jimmer, but I didn’t have the stamina for the media frenzy. Greg to the rescue. Greg organizes a Bennett Communications tradition — Pick ’ems, which is a weekly lunch dedicated to predicting football outcomes for the upcoming weekend. He tracks the games and names the winner each Monday morning. Greg also organizes the cleaning assignments here at the BC. We’re not fancy pants enough to have an after-hours janitorial crew. Our staff cleans toilets and takes out garbage in between photo shoots and interviews. And Greg is the one who keeps the job chart alive. You might say he’s the mom of the office — but if you do say that, be prepared for him to sling a lighthearted comeback your way.9) As our longest-tenured staff member (other than myself, Matt, Kendall and Roxanne), Greg has lived BC history. Last Christmas, he volunteered to create a video celebrating the company timeline. He tracked down embarrassing pictures and ensured everyone’s face got some face time. And today I wanted to shed a little spotlight on him. Thanks for nine dedicated and delirious years, Greg! You make the office a happy — and funny — place to be.

Jeanette Squared

Back in May, Jeanette Herbert and I chatted in the parlor of the Governor’s Mansion in Salt Lake City. Our conversation jumped from parenting, to marriage, to home repair, to running a business. Her expertise and experience run the gamut, which made for a great interview and (hopefully) an enlightening cover story in our July/August issue of Utah Valley Magazine. Last night, I returned to the parlor as a guest at the Governor’s Mansion Artist Awards. Matt and I were invited by Layton Construction, which sponsors the awards. We publish Layton’s quarterly magazine and enjoy our business and personal relationship with this commercial construction company. The Herberts were gracious and entertaining hosts. The governor read a cowboy poem Jeanette had written for him. It poked fun at politicians and had the crowd giggling. I love that the Herberts take all forms of art — but not themselves — seriously. The program also named past recipients of the awards, and I easily found nine former Utah Valley cover stories on the list: Karen Ashton (September 2000 — premiere issue) Donny Osmond (March 2001) James Christensen (Christmas issue 2001) Ruth Hale (Christmas issue 2002) Gary Price (Christmas issue 2003) 5 Browns (March 2005) Sam Cardon (Christmas issue 2005) Kurt Bestor (Christmas issue 2009) Michael McLean (Christmas issue 2010) Jeanette and I continued our chat after the guests filed out of the third-floor ballroom. I’m proud to share a name with this classy and approachable First Lady.

Four Score and Seven Days Ago

Here are four “scores” from my first week of September … TIMPANOGOS STORYTELLING FESTIVAL. This annual event is where we go for a new batch of inside jokes and catchy rhymes. We love hearing from tellers around the country who bring their diversity to the stage and to their stories. My 11-year-old (you can see her hands in the bottom right) got so into the stories that she started painting her nails without remembering she was in tight quarters, which is the wrong place for strong smells. Maybe I’ll tell that story someday in a talk about manners. One of our favorite things to do when we’re at this beautiful late summer event is to browse the festival store. I’ve been talked into buying puppets the past several years. Now that our closets and fingers are full, we settled for a picture with puppets.
FLAPJACKS Another “score” this week was fixing Tree Street Grains pancakes for breakfast. We featured this locally made mix in our current issue of Utah Valley Magazine here. Although the mix has 16 grains, it touts itself as “amazingly mild,” which is important for my picky pancakers. They gave it two forks way up!
POWER WITH A POINT I also spoke to the Utah County Association of Realtors this week. Other than a major PowerPoint glitch that was fixed with a little audience participation, it was a great event. (FYI: I was “Plan B” when the president of SUU had to cancel last week, but I’m OK with Plan B because I feel like the expectations are lower.) I told them stories from our 11 years of running magazines, and here I am showing our very first cover of Utah Valley Magazine — which was oh-so-exciting in 2000 and oh-so-difficult to look at now. The lighting on Karen Ashton’s face wasn’t quite right. The best part of this meeting was a box lunch from Spark Restaurant. I’m still thinking about that wrap and guacamole. Click here to see their ad in the July issue of Utah Valley Magazine, which happens to include a coupon that doesn’t expire till the end of this month. Head to Provo and be fed.FABULOUS FRIEND AND HIS MOVIE Back in March, we printed one of my favorite stories of the year: our Fabulous 50. Christian Vuissa was part of our 2011 batch shown here. His latest creation is in theaters, but he also sent me a media review copy of “Joseph Smith: Volume 1 Plates of Gold.” I watched it this week, and it is really well done.  I learned new insights about the founders and founding of the LDS Church. If you want filmmakers to make clean, meaningful films, then vote with your dollars and catch this flick in the theaters this weekend. That concludes my “four score” roundup for the week. September is off to a winning start!