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2014 Forty Under 40: Amanda Heckert

Lou Harry
February 1, 2014
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heckert_amanda_1col.jpg  (IBJ Photo/Aaron P. Bernstein)

Major mistake: The daughter of a broadcast journalist, Heckert majored in advertising at the University of South Carolina. “It was time to graduate and I thought, ‘This isn’t what I want to do for the rest of my life.’” She applied for an editorial internship at Atlanta magazine (an Emmis publication), although she admits to being naïve about the business. “The first thing they said was, ‘Can you send clips?’ I had to look up what ‘clips’ were.”

Generalizing: Heckert knew from the start she had found her calling in regional magazines. “I loved that it was general interest,” she said. “One day you could be trying out cupcakes and the next day you’re looking at court filings.” Another Atlanta publication, Newcomer, offered her an editing job. “I was in charge of doing just about everything except selling and designing. It was a crash course in how to put out a magazine.”

Storming Atlanta: She took a risk on returning to Atlanta magazine to fill in while an editor was on maternity leave. That editor didn’t return, opening up a full-time spot for her. When the top editorial job opened at Atlanta’s sister publication, Indianapolis Monthly, Heckert moved north.

AGE 32
Hometown: Inman, S.C. (“Imagine cow pastures,” Heckert said.)

Family: husband, Justin

Atlanta versus Indy: “Atlanta always had so much going on—it’s the city that’s too busy to hate. But I feel like it was maybe not as hungry as Indianapolis feels right now. It’s an exciting time here.” With one caveat: “I’ll be honest,” she said. “Coming from the South, this cold is killing me.”

Staying relevant: Atlanta, Heckert noted, is a transient place. In Indianapolis, there are so many people who know the city. “To stay relevant, you have to be able to surprise them and make them look at things differently. Our challenge is to continue to engage people when there is less and less free time. Magazines tend to be things you read in your spare time. And we really have to make it worth their time.”

The question she’s most often asked: “What restaurant should I try?”•

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  1. A Tilted Kilt at a water park themed hotel? Who planned that one? I guess the Dad's need something to do while the kids are on the water slides.

  2. Don't come down on the fair for offering drinks. This is a craft and certainly one that belongs in agriculture due to ingredients. And for those worrying about how much you can drink. I'm sure it's more to do with liability than anything else. They don't want people suing for being over served. If you want a buzz, do a little pre-drinking before you go.

  3. I don't drink but go into this "controlled area" so my friend can drink. They have their 3 drink limit and then I give my friend my 3 drink limit. How is the fair going to control this very likely situation????

  4. I feel the conditions of the alcohol sales are a bit heavy handed, but you need to realize this is the first year in quite some time that beer & wine will be sold at the fair. They're starting off slowly to get a gauge on how it will perform this year - I would assume if everything goes fine that they relax some of the limits in the next year or couple of years. That said, I think requiring the consumption of alcohol to only occur in the beer tent is a bit much. That is going to be an awkward situation for those with minors - "Honey, I'm getting a beer... Ok, sure go ahead... Alright see you in just a min- half an hour."

  5. This might be an effort on the part of the State Fair Board to manage the risk until they get a better feel for it. However, the blanket notion that alcohol should not be served at "family oriented" events is perhaps an oversimplification. and not too realistic. For 15 years, I was a volunteer at the Indianapolis Air Show, which was as family oriented an event as it gets. We sold beer donated by Monarch Beverage Company and served by licensed and trained employees of United Package Liquors who were unpaid volunteers. And where did that money go? To central Indiana children's charities, including Riley Hospital for Children! It's all about managing the risk.

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