Celebrating 20 years in publishing, Jeanette Bennett
by Karen Painter
As we watch the leaves fall and welcome the crisp air, we are grateful for another season and that the year is starting to wind down. Two thousand twenty will be remembered for how the coronavirus changed our world. This year turned out to be different for everyone, especially for Jeanette Bennett, founder, and editorin-chief of Bennett Communication which publishes Utah Valley Magazine, Utah Valley Business Quarterly, Utah Valley Bride, and Prosper. She planned to celebrate the 20th anniversary of her business but has spent most of her time overcoming obstacles, including a cancer diagnosis. We were blessed to catch up with her and she shared with us 20 things she is grateful for.
Grateful to Celebrate 20 Years
Of Utah Valley Magazine. Jeanette wasn’t able to have the big 20th-anniversary party she wanted because of the pandemic. She’d envisioned all the past cover stories coming to speak or share their talents. She wanted to celebrate all current employees, advertisers, and contributors over the past 20 years. It wasn’t the “big bash” she had planned, only a quiet celebration in her backyard, but it was just right. “I love what we do. I feel like we have been so blessed,” she says. “We will never run out of story ideas because there are so many people in this community with vision and ideas. It has been fun to meet and write about them these last twenty years.”
Grateful for Meeting and Interviewing New People
Jeanette has written almost every cover story for the magazine over the last 20 years, and many of the inside stories as well, and edits everything. “I enjoy interviewing. I love meeting people so much, but writing is hard work—it still is. I wouldn’t say it has ever gotten easy, but I would say that I enjoy the people so much,” she says. The people who have influenced her the most were Larry King, Ann Romney, Lindsey Stirling, and all the students from the annual story on “High Schoolers Who Will Change the World.” She still hasn’t been able to interview Robert Redford, but she believes it will happen.
Grateful for Team Members
Jeanette wholeheartedly believes that successful people have a great team behind them. She says she has the best employees but questioned their sanity when someone suggested she should be on the cover for the 20th-anniversary issue. “They said, “Oprah does it,” she laughs. “Well, I’m not Oprah. I don’t want people to think I think the last 20 years have just been about me. They haven’t. I did not create this magazine and this business alone. I have had so much support.
Grateful She has Thyroid Cancer
The curse of 2020 got personal last summer for Jeanette when a doctor told her she had thyroid cancer. It explained the exhaustion she’d had for a few months, but she was shocked. She says she was grateful it was ‘the good cancer’ but she was scared. “I thought about having a pity party but that wasn’t going to make the cancer disappear,” she says.
Grateful for Her Five Children
She has two sons and three daughters, and two in-laws. She says they have taught her how to laugh and to love unconditionally. “I can honestly say to them I will love them no matter what they do. Love is a choice. Love others, love yourself, and you will be happy,” she says.
Grateful for the Community
Jeanette and her husband Matt returned home to Idaho after they both graduated from Brigham Young University. However, when they decided to start a magazine, they knew they wanted it to be about the people who live in Utah Valley. “We have the best audience. When I go to trade shows and people ask me how long we have been in business and I say it has been 20 years, they are amazed. It could not have happened without such a supportive community,” she says.
Grateful for Her Cheerleaders
After she shared her diagnosis, the outpouring of love from family, friends, and colleagues was overwhelming. “I felt the power of my cheerleading squad and I was profoundly grateful,” she says. “We are at our best when we rally around each other.”
Jeanette Bennett and Martha Stewart
Grateful for Her Intuition
After she was diagnosed, she scheduled surgery right away to have her thyroid and lymph nodes near it removed. However, she wasn’t completely comfortable with the decision. She was looking for answers and out of the blue, she received a text from one of the people she had featured in the magazine, Mike Maughan (the head of Global Insights at Qualtrics). He said she should get in touch with his cousin who had just recovered from thyroid cancer. “I got her number and after speaking with her for over an hour, I decided to cancel the surgery. I felt peace even though it wasn’t easy to prioritize intuition over the expected protocol. It took a while to convince my family and friends that this is what I needed, but they are now supporting me 100 percent,” she says. After much research, Jeanette has now decided to have a similar surgery at Huntsman Cancer Center in September.
Grateful for Her husband, Matt Bennett
Jeanette says they are partners in every way, not only have they run their business together for the last twenty years, but he is a “hands-on” father. They celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary last summer. They thought they’d spend it at the beach, instead, they were just grateful restaurants had opened so they could go out. When they were in college, Jeanette flew to Washington D.C. to go on The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer on PBS. She remembers her mother telling her, “You are so lucky to have someone watching you fly.”
“We need to look for the good in people because it is there."
Grateful She Knows She Isn’t Alone
After she made the decision to cancel the surgery, she didn’t know the next step. “What was next? I thought. “I still have thyroid cancer.” One night, Jeanette drove to her favorite place and sat on a bench to think. Tears started to fall and so did her hope. A teenage boy approached her and asked her if he could help. She told him she had cancer. He told her God cared about her and to ‘press forward and not give up hope.’ His words were encouraging and inspiring. “I stopped crying and listened to this young angel. I turned to look at him and realized he was someone I knew who lived in my same area, but we had never spoken until now. I knew then I didn’t have to go through all of this alone.”
Grateful for Her Voracious Appetite for Knowledge
When Jeanette was young, her mother had a ‘voracious desire to learn’ and would take her and her siblings every three weeks to the library to ‘get lost in the books.’ “I loved going down every aisle. I felt safe there and she would encourage me to read books that would be challenging for me,” she says. “I am grateful she taught me to love learning. I became a voracious student of the science behind the thyroid, cancer, and overall health. After a lot of research, I decided to embrace my cancer with a warrior spirit,” she says. She prepared herself physically, mentally, and spiritually to move forward. She changed her diet by cutting out sugar, gluten, and dairy and set up an appointment with a specialist at the Huntsman Cancer Institute.
Grateful to Learn Career and Motherhood Can Be Inclusive
Three of her children went with her to the office when they were babies. When her son was young, he would close the computer or throw a golf ball at her to get her attention when she had been working a bit too long. She would stop what she was doing and then spend quality time with him. “Every mom has her own decision to make and she will know what is right for her. It is not necessary to compare yourself to others. Choose what is right for you, then love it and embrace it,” she says.
Grateful for a Positive Attitude
Jeanette believes successful people have a positive attitude. “If you believe you can, it will happen,” she says. She says she talked about the magazine as if it already existed before she even wrote one story. She says she has always imagined that she will live past 100 years old as her two grandmothers did. “So this cancer will be going away,” she says.
Grateful for Hard Work
She grew up in Ammon, Idaho, a small town just outside Idaho Falls. Her father was a high school science teacher and her mother stayed at home and with seven kids in the home, there were not a lot of extras growing up. They lived in an unfinished basement for years and had to work hard, but they were happy. From a young age, Jeanette always had a job. She was a door to door coupon salesman and eventually worked as a camera operator for the local television station in high
Grateful for Criticism
Jeanette says she appreciates all school. She was promoted to the feedback readers have given the floor director and would them over the years. “Sometimes supervise adults. “My dad always people are harsh, once you can told me to ‘hoe to the end of get past the sting, usually there the row’ to keep going until the is something to learn from what job was done,” she says. they say,” she says. Eventually, she earned a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Journalism from Brigham Young University.
Grateful for Forgiveness
Jeanette believes there is no use holding on to negative things. Forgiveness brings freedom. “We need to look for the good in people because it is there. We need to look at someone’s intention and then it is hard to be mad. It goes the other way around, when you are kind and apologize for mistakes then it is hard for people to remain upset with you,” she says.
Grateful for the Law of Attraction
She believes whatever you send out comes back to you. She has seen this with her relationships with her family, employees, and friends. From writing the UV50: Top 50 Businesses in Utah Valley feature for the last thirteen years, she has learned the more generous a business is, the more it seems to grow. “I’ve seen it time and time again. The more you give, the more you will receive,” she says.
Grateful She Can Type Really Fast
Jeanette learned to play the piano and all the warm-up exercises taught her fingers to move quickly. She types all her interviews when they are talking to her. She even had Mitt Romney say, “Are you seriously typing this right now?” during her interview with him. She said, “Yep, and don’t worry, I am getting it all.’
Grateful for Goal Setting
Jeanette has also learned that successful people set goals. She says one of her biggest goals was to interview Ann Romney in 2008 when her husband was running for President of the United States. She wrote a sticky note that said, “Ann Romney or bust!” and put it on her desk. “I tried to figure out who I knew who would know her and I did not give up until I scheduled the interview. She was featured in our July 2008 issue,” she says.
Grateful She’s Learned to Relax
Jeanette was 25 when they first started the magazine. There was a typo in their first issue. She fretted over it and could not sleep. Now she says she is over the “perfect” thing. She doesn’t worry as much. “I want our magazine to be the highest quality it can be, don’t get me wrong, but mistakes are bound to happen. I have learned to take things as they come. If there is a mistake, then we fix it together as a magazine staff and move on. Perfection is not possible,” she says.