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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. The east side does have potential...and I have always thought Washington Scare should become an outlet mall. Anyone remember how popular Eastgate was? Well, Indy has no outlet malls, we have to go to Edinburgh for the deep discounts and I don't understand why. Jim is right. We need a few good eastsiders interested in actually making some noise and trying to change the commerce, culture and stereotypes of the East side. Irvington is very progressive and making great strides, why can't the far east side ride on their coat tails to make some changes?

  2. Boston.com has an article from 2010 where they talk about how Interactions moved to Massachusetts in the year prior. http://www.boston.com/business/technology/innoeco/2010/07/interactions_banks_63_million.html The article includes a link back to that Inside Indiana Business press release I linked to earlier, snarkily noting, "Guess this 2006 plan to create 200-plus new jobs in Indiana didn't exactly work out."

  3. I live on the east side and I have read all your comments. a local paper just did an article on Washington square mall with just as many comments and concerns. I am not sure if they are still around, but there was an east side coalition with good intentions to do good things on the east side. And there is a facebook post that called my eastside indy with many old members of the eastside who voice concerns about the east side of the city. We need to come together and not just complain and moan, but come up with actual concrete solutions, because what Dal said is very very true- the eastside could be a goldmine in the right hands. But if anyone is going damn, and change things, it is us eastside residents

  4. Please go back re-read your economics text book and the fine print on the February 2014 CBO report. A minimum wage increase has never resulted in a net job loss...

  5. The GOP at the Statehouse is more interested in PR to keep their majority, than using it to get anything good actually done. The State continues its downward spiral.

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