The Heart & Soul of IRMA

IRMA began in a fishing boat when two circulation people from separate magazines, Gus Weiner of Down East and Peter Sykas of Vermont Life, decided in 1960 to spend a day trading ideas that would improve growth of their magazines while enjoying their favorite pastime. Magazine secrets flowed between the two all day so freely that they decided to do it again the following year, then the next. Other magazine people heard about the annual get-together and began to join them. Soon, the boat was overloaded, so they began meeting on land.

A few years later, the growing group wanted to hear from the publisher of the granddaddy of regional magazines, Arizona Highways. Peter Sykas contacted him and was told that he needed a formal invitation to get approval from state officials to make the trip. A quick conversation with the owner of a local stationery shop produced a letterhead to use for the invitation. Over the counter that day, the organization was named the North American Association of Regional Publishers.

At the annual conference in Nevada, in 1968, the name was changed to Regional Publishers Association. After many years under that name, the organization was renamed the International Regional Magazine Association in 1995 to reflect a growing number of member magazines outside the United States.

Regardless of its name, the original intent of those first two members has remained the same for more than 40 years. Free and open communication among members is the heart and soul of the organization.

What is a regional magazine?

daleD. W. Kuhnert, Editor in Chief Emeritus of Down East magazine, put it this way: “A regional magazine is a general-interest magazine that aims to define, interpret, and explore a specific, recognizable region for those living there or yearning to. It should not be confused with a travel magazine, a shelter magazine, a photography magazine, an art magazine, a history magazine, or a gardening magazine. It is all these and more, and at its best is the authoritative voice for the particular area upon which it’s focused.”

IRMA exists to promote and support regional publishing generally and to encourage the free flow of information among member magazines.  We encourage other regional publishers to join and we welcome publishing industry suppliers as sponsors.  Questions? Contact Tara Flint, Executive Director.

“IRMA meetings leave us inspired to go home and try the innovative ideas we’ve learned from fellow publishers in the same business. What we learn at IRMA is invaluable.”

Editor-in-Chief & Publisher Missouri Life Magazine Editor-in-Chief & Publisher
Missouri Life Magazine

IRMA's Leadership Team

Board of Directors

Through 2017 Conference:

  • Ann Donohoe, Creative Director, The Iowan
  • Katy Ibsen, Managing Editor, Kansas!
  • Krystal Karais, Publisher, Yukon: North of Ordinary
  • Colleen McIntyre, Director of Operations, Oklahoma Today

Through 2018 Conference:

  • Penny Caldwell, Publisher, Cottage Life
  • Errol LaBorde, Editor in Chief, Louisiana Life
  • Dave Herndon, Editor in Chief, New Mexico Magazine
  • Mark Mahorsky, Creative Director, Texas Highways

Through 2019 Conference:

  • Shawn Dalton, Creative Director, Saltscapes

Through 2020 Conference:

  • Joyce Byrne, Publisher, Avenue

Executive Committee

  • President: Penny Caldwell, Publisher, Cottage Life
  • Vice President: Ann Donohoe, Creative Director, The Iowan
  • Treasurer: Errol LaBorde, Editor-in-Chief, Louisiana Life
  • Secretary: Katy Ibsen, Managing Editor, Kansas! magazine
  • At Large: Shawn Dalton, Creative Director, Saltscapes
  • At Large: Krystal Karais, Publisher, Yukon, North of Ordinary

Presidents Council

2017 President: Penny Caldwell,
Publisher, Cottage Life

2015 President: Chris Amundson,
Publisher, Colorado Life and Nebraska Life

2015 President: Chris Amundson,
Publisher, Colorado Life and Nebraska Life

2014 President: Win Holden,
Publisher, Arizona Highways

2013 President: Win Holden,
Publisher, Arizona Highways

2012 President: Win Holden,
Publisher, Arizona Highways

2011 President: Janet Geary,
Publisher, Nevada Magazine

2010 President: Danita Allen Wood,
Publisher, Missouri Life

2008 President: Jim Gourlay,
Publisher, Saltscapes

2007 President: Joan Henderson,
Publisher, Oklahoma Today

2006 President: Cindy Hayden,
Publisher, Lake Superior Magazine

2001 President: Al Zikovitz,
President/Publisher, Cottage Life Magazine

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