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.
If you have story ideas or feedback, please email [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 and developed publications at the Arkansas Times that included: Arkansas Wild, Savvy Kids, as well as 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, as well as specialty publications, publishing issues for the Arkansas Hospital Association and Northwest Arkansas Medical Center in the past, and currently producing 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 the mother of two active teenagers, Heather is also deeply involved in the community around her. Heather and her family are founding members of Fellowship Bible Church in Cabot and currently attend the main campus in Little Rock. 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. Heather also works with Project Zero, Second Chance Youth Ranch and Women’s Own Worth, where she was named Woman of the Year for 2019. In 2019, Heather became a member of the LREA, and was a judge for Dancing with Our Stars. In 2020, Heather became the Presidential Leads Chair for the LREA, in addition to being chosen as the honorary chair for the May 2020 Legacy Award Business Luncheon for Junior Achievement, where she is an active board member. Heather was also the keynote speaker in the 2020 Junior Achievement of Arkansas and Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub – Pitch Competition. In 2021, Heather joined the State Board overseeing Junior Achievement and is one of 30 American Heart Association Circle of Red Honorees this year. Heather has also emceed the Small Business Impact Awards for the City of Little Rock. She led her team to receive the Henry Award for the impression left on her career field and in the Natural State. 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.
ARKANSAS MONEY & POLITICS EDITOR
Mark Carter 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 which he has two sons in college.
AY MAGAZINE EDITOR
Dustin Jayroe is an Arkansas native and AY’s 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.
Dustin is the editor of AY About You and the Arkansas Mental Health Guide.
Winner, 2020 Arkansas SPJ Diamond Journalism Awards, Magazine Health Writing (AY)
Finalist, 2020 Arkansas SPJ Diamond Journalism Awards, Magazine Column Writing (AMP)
AMP ONLINE EDITOR
Greg Churan 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. [email protected]
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. [email protected]
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. [email protected]
Tonya Mead 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. [email protected]
First and foremost, the Lord is number one in Shasta’s life. She says He is her waymaker and continues to bless her. Family is everything for Shasta, whether that be her four outstanding daughters or her church family. She says she has a lot of love to give to the people in her life.
Arkansas born and raised, Shasta loves anything that has to do with the outdoors. On top of that, she loves working out and also eating good food — it’s a balance, she says. If she’s not out being active or eating, Shasta probably is hitting up flea markets and antique shopping for unique finds.
Shasta has been in sales and marketing for more than 10 years, and believes in the idea that you are only as great as the team you surround yourself with. [email protected]
Amanda Moore 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. [email protected]
I am so excited about being here at AY Media Group at this time in my life. Not only because AY Magazine is an excellent publication, as is Arkansas Money & Politics, but this group of people here are one of the most enthusiastic and fun-loving groups of people I’ve worked with in my 30+ years in marketing and advertising.
Words to quote: “When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace.” Jimi Hendrix
Jacob Carpenter “Don’t let anyone dull your sparkle,” is the phrase Jacob repeats every morning. He is a small-town boy from Lake Village with a very big personality and a heart to match. Jacob is a student of Western Governor’s University where he is studying Human Resource Management and Business Administration. He has spent most of his career in customer service because he loves building relationships with customers. Jacob always tries to go above and beyond in everything he does and, for the most part, this has served him well. His hobbies include building furniture, crafting, writing music and singing. Fun fact, Jacob was a state finalist in the World Karaoke Competition in 2019. [email protected]
As the art director, photographer and “web guy” at AY Media Group, Jamison has gained the identity of “Jack of all trades,” to a certain degree.
His daughters are his life and identity. He has a small, five-pound poodle and a 60-pound golden doodle that crave his attention. Jamison says they are his four-legged children.
Though he can be introverted at times, once you get to know Jamison, he likes to talk. When he can find the time, Jamison is an outdoors enthusiast — an avid fly fisherman and backpacker. And he likes to enjoy a good beer around a nice campfire while looking at the stars. That’s it, he says, plain and simple. [email protected]
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. [email protected]
A recent graduate from Arkansas Tech University, Emily is the newest addition to AY Media Group. 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! [email protected]
As a NWA native, Sarah is a recent journalism graduate of the University of Central Arkansas. During her time at UCA, Sarah was a member of IDEAL Freshman Leadership, Colleges Against Cancer and held several positions at The Echo, the student-led campus newspaper. Sarah loves all things art, music, books, podcasts, her aussiedoodle Ollie, local coffee shops and pop culture. [email protected]
Katie Zakrzewski is a recent 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
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 founded AY 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 the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette‘s “High Profile” in September 2009.