AY Media Group, is a multimedia company that specializes in niche market publishing. Our magazines and custom publications include Arkansas Money and Politics (AMP), the state’s premier business and political magazine; AY Magazine (About You), a lifestyle publication; and Mental Health Guide of Arkansas. In addition to our print products, we have expanded websites and social media platforms.
Please email [email protected]
Read Arkansas Money & Politics’ online coverage at armoneyandpolitics.com and find our print edition each month.
Please email press releases and other stories and ideas for consideration to [email protected].
PRESIDENT / PUBLISHER
Heather Baker, formerly Heather Harkins of Jacksonville, is one of the best-recognized publishing magnates in Arkansas. While most college students dreamed of attending parties and football games, Heather hit the streets selling radio advertising and starting her career as a magazine publisher at the young age of 22. Cars were a passion of hers, so she created Arkansas AutoBuyer, in addition to developing publications at the Arkansas Times, including: Arkansas Wild, Savvy Kids, and the H. Baker media publication, Drive Arkansas. With more than 20 years in publishing, Heather is currently President and Publisher of AY Media Group, a multi-media firm in Little Rock that publishes the monthly magazines: AY About You and Arkansas Money & Politics; specialty publications for the Arkansas Hospital Association and Northwest Arkansas Medical Center in the past, and the annual publication Mental Health Guide of Arkansas. If you see Heather on the street, she will likely have a phone to her ear, brokering the next big deal or planning her next road trip.
In addition to being a mother of two, Heather is also deeply involved in her community. She is involved in many philanthropic projects including Children’s Tumor Foundation’s Dancing With Our Stars- where in 2013 she was part of the group that raised more than $100,000, a first for CTF- and she was a celebrity judge in 2019. Heather also works with Project Zero, Ronald McDonald House, 20th Century Club, Wolfe Street Foundation, Second Chance Youth Ranch, Hunger Relief Alliance, and Women’s Own Worth, where she was named Woman of the Year for 2019. In 2019, Heather became a member of the Little Rock Executive Association and, in 2020, she became the Presidential Leads Chair for the organization. In 2020, she was chosen as the honorary chairfor the Legacy Award Business Luncheon hosted by Junior Achievement, where she is an active board member. Heather accepted a position on the Junior Achievement of Arkansas State Board in 2021. She was also the keynote speaker at the 2020 Junior Achievement of Arkansas and Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub – Pitch Competition. In 2021, Heather was honored as one of 30 American Heart Association Circle of Red Honorees, and again in 2022. She has emceed the Small Business Impact Awards for the City of Little Rock. She led her team at AY Media Group in receiving the Henry Award for the impression made in her career field and in the Natural State. In 2022, she became a major advocate for victims of violence and is working with Congress and many platforms for this cause.
Heather continues to influence and shape media broadcasting and journalism throughout the state of Arkansas. In 2019, she had a featured segment on THV11, and currently has partnerships and segments with KARK, FOX16 and 103.7 the Buzz.
EDITORIAL OPERATIONS MANAGER
Jim is a Hot Springs native and earned a Bachelor of Mass Media from Henderson State University. He has worked previously as a freelancer for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and as an editor for publications in Hot Springs and Saline county.
Previously the director of marketing for Mid-America Science Museum in Hot Springs, Miller lives in the uptown historical district of Hot Springs with his wife Natalie and their two-year-old son, Archimedes. Together they raise chickens, play in their garden, and travel the country whenever they have the opportunity.
Emily is a graduate from Arkansas Tech University. She has degrees in English and Creative Writing, as well as a Certificate of Proficiency in TESOL and a minor in History. During her time at ATU, she was a contributing writer for The Arka Tech, a student-led newspaper, and poetry co-editor for Nebo: A Literary Journal. Emily is passionate about all forms of writing, but poetry remains her favorite outlet. She hopes that one day her poetry will be on display in bookstore windows, a slight upgrade from her composition notebooks with frayed binding and ink smudges. She loves traveling and has an ever-growing list of places she wants to go. Emily is excited to take on this journey with AY Media Group and engage with the people of Arkansas through written words.
Fun fact: Emily was studying abroad in Austria when the pandemic hit, resulting in her premature return home. However, she is grateful for the wonderful opportunities that came her way when she returned stateside!
Sarah is a passionate communications professional hailing from Northwest Arkansas. Sarah attended the University of Central Arkansas where she studied journalism and held several positions –including editor-in-chief – at the student-led newspaper, The Echo. With experience in daily, weekly and business news, Sarah enjoys writing feature-style stories about the people that make Arkansas great! A lover of all things art, music, books, pop culture and podcasts, Sarah can be spotted at the dog park with her aussiedoodle, Ollie, or adventuring throughout the Natural state in her free time.
John was born and raised in Little Rock, living there all of his life with the exception of four years spent studying English and History at Hendrix College in Conway. He discovered his love of writing in middle school, and his education has given him plenty of experience with it since then. Now, he is able to do what he loves every day as a Staff Writer. When not at work, John spends much of his time playing video games or Dungeons & Dragons with his friends, be it as a member of the party or preparing sessions as the game master.
Katie is a graduate of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. While a student, Katie earned her bachelor of arts in criminal justice and anthropology; she was also student body president; president of College Republicans at UA Little Rock and valedictorian. Katie is active in politics, working on environmental policy, LGBTQ+ rights, religious issues, the criminal justice system, and policy reform across the state. She frequently lobbies in Washington D.C. and is currently the CEO of a foreign policy blog, Realist Review. She hopes to someday run for Mayor of her hometown, North Little Rock. You can find her on Twitter @KatieZakrzewsk1
Mark has worked as a sportswriter at the Southwest Times-Record in Fort Smith, covered news and sports for The Leader in Jacksonville, dabbled in corporate communications for companies such as Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield and CARTI, and covered business and politics with an emphasis on startups for Arkansas Business. An avid Hogs fan, Mark lives in Little Rock with his wife and two dogs, the former with whom he has two sons in college.
Dustin is an Arkansas native and a resident expert on all things soccer and Batman. Prior to joining the company full time in May 2019, Dustin served as a regular contributor for all of AY Media Group’s properties. He also writes for the entertainment news website Screen Rant in his free time. Dustin is a proud husband and new father, two roles that occupy his heart (and his time) more than any other.
Winner, 2020 Arkansas SPJ Diamond Journalism Awards, Magazine Health Writing (AY)
Finalist, 2020 Arkansas SPJ Diamond Journalism Awards, Magazine Column Writing (AMP)
Greg grew up in Chillicothe, a small town north central Missouri, and graduated from the University of Missouri – Columbia, where he graduated with a degree in Parks, Recreation and Tourism and was a member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity. Originally he wanted to work in the outdoor field, specifically in the whitewater rafting business, as that’s what he did during summers of college – guiding rafts in the Smokey Mountains on the Nantahala, Ocoee, and Chattooga rivers. After realizing that his passion for the outdoors should remain a passion and not a profession, he moved to Kansas City, and landed in industrial gas sales with Airgas.
With his passion for the outdoors, Greg jumped at the chance to move to Arkansas with Airgas, and has been in Little Rock ever since. Wanting more freedom and to help people save and invest, he went into the financial planning with Ameriprise.
In 2011 he had an opportunity to work in publishing as an account executive and has had success developing print and digital advertisers for niche publications. Building relationships is incredibly important for anyone in development. Greg feels that building business relationships is important, but what’s equally as important to him is to research and recommend what’s best for each client in each situation.
Greg is an avid waterfowl hunter and outdoorsman, enjoys spending time in the the Ouachitas, Ozarks and duck camp with son, Jake, fiancée, Jennie, her son, Caleb, and Labradors, Trigger and Tru. He is also a member of board of directors of the museum of the Arkansas Grand Prairie in Stuttgart.
SENIOR ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE
Tonya, a mother to one incredible son (who also happens to be her biggest supporter), says that life is full of surprises, changes, bumps and challenges — so each day, she lives life to the fullest. Her motto is, “Live, Laugh, Love,” which has taken her every single step of the way. Tonya has found that if you love life, life will love you back.
Mary is an Arkansas native, born and raised in Little Rock, and a graduate of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock with a degree in liberal arts. She enjoys the outdoors and plays competitive tennis year-round.
Mary has one son, who is her world, and loves being with family and friends. She looks forward to continuing her adventure with AY Media Group.
Tonya will tell you she’s a mom first but get her started on anything in the health and fitness world, and you might have to take a seat just to soak in all her knowledge. Hot yoga is her current passion, but she loves the outdoors where hiking, biking and lake activities take place. This fitness junkie also knows her way around the kitchen and is probably just another excuse for her to spend time with family and friends. Helping people be the best they can be is what attracted to her to print sales at About You Media Group.
Amanda is an Arkansas native, born and raised in Hot Springs. She is currently raising her two children there with her husband, Jon.
ASSISTANT TO PUBLISHER
Hilarious. Hard-working. Those are a couple of the attributes Jessica Everson says people use to describe her (at least when they want something). Jessica graduated from UALR with a degree in history and a minor in sociology. But since she doesn’t actively use her history background at work, she’s content to nerd out at museums and daydream about one day being a museum curator. Jessica is also very involved in the local art scene, serving as volunteers coordinator for ACANSA and a volunteer for the Symphony Design House and CALS. She is mom to a little human, Laila, and a cat, Vera. When she’s not caught up with any of her many endeavors, you might find her meal prepping or hiking.
Ginger has a long background in advertising sales –in General Market radio in Little Rock and the Santa Cruz, California metro – and 12 years working in Spanish-Language radio in the San Francisco/San Jose metro. She’s worked in print advertising sales, followed by five years of cinema advertising sales with National CineMedia, with the opportunity to sell into every movie theater owned by NCM in the U.S.
She is happy to say that while being at AY Media Group at this time in her life, in print sales and now circulation, she has found one of the most enthusiastic, hardworking and fun-loving teams she’s worked with in her 30+ years in marketing and advertising.
Favorite Quote: “When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.” –Jimi Hendrix
Austin has dreamed of becoming an ad coordinator since he was a child. Now, he lives his dream every day, with his wife and two sons. Although his free time is limited, Austin enjoys painting, stand-up comedy and playing video games.
Rachel is an Arkansas native, born and raised in the North Little Rock/Maumelle area. She is raising three children in Maumelle with her husband Clint. She loves spending time with her family, playing video games, painting, and decorating. Rachel earned her Bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and has 20+ years as a graphic designer. She is excited to use her ad-building knowledge to help coordinate ads for AY and AMP magazines.
Kellie is a digital media director and graphic designer at AY Media Group. Social media is her passion. Kellie says though she’s still learning every day, one thing she knows for sure is that helping others succeed absolutely enables her to thrive. Help a person or business grow makes all the hard work worth it, she says.
Kellie adds that she’s blessed and fortunate to be married to a wonderful man, with whom she’s a parent to two cats. Kellie and her husband love traveling any chance they get, and watching sports (Go Hogs!) and reality TV.
Lora has been a graphic designer for over 21 years. To her, layout design is like a puzzle; an exciting challenge to get all the pieces fitted together to create the perfect picture. Since family is at the center of her life and hers all live out of state, she travels frequently and is inspired by places and sights both in and out of the Natural State. Though she was born and raised in Iowa, she now calls Arkansas home.
Vicki Vowell is the founder and CEO of AY Media Group (formerly Vowell, Inc.), a multimedia company that specializes in niche-market publishing. AY Media Group (AYMG), publishes Arkansas Money & Politics (Arkansas’ premier business and political website) and AY Magazine (About You), a lifestyle magazine. Ms. Vowell, a native of Harrison who studied journalism at the University of Arkansas, created her publishing company so that she could share the stories of the people and places in Arkansas. Ms. Vowell will celebrate her 30th year as a magazine publisher in 2018.
In 2001, Ms. Vowell foundedAY Magazine‘s“Runway for a Cause,” a luncheon/fashion show in which survivors of breast cancer walk the runway in the season’s high fashion. The luncheon has been one of the state’s largest fundraising events, and in its first 10 years, it raised more than $1 million for local breast-cancer organizations. The Association of Fundraising Professionals has named “Runway for a Cause” an Outstanding Volunteer Organization.
Ms. Vowell also serves the community as a member of the Little Rock Executive’s Association. She is on the board of Baptist Health Foundation, and she is a member of the CARTI Foundation, the Mayor’s Commission on Tourism, and Women and Children First. She is a past member of the boards of Curran Hall and CareLink. She has received the Phyllis Brandon Philanthropist Journalistic Award and was featured in theArkansas Democrat-Gazette‘s “High Profile” in September 2009.