Call for Nominations: IRMA Board of Directors

May 22, 2024

The International Regional Media Association (IRMA) is seeking nominations to fill volunteer board positions.

IRMA is a volunteer-driven organization, and service at the board level ensures the continued success of our association.

Why Join?
IRMA exists to strengthen the industry by connecting members through their passion for publishing and their communities. Members of the board benefit from introductions to other highly-placed magazine professionals across North America. It is an opportunity to hear what others are doing, build relationships and contribute in a positive way to the health of our industry.

In addition to oversight of the association (financial controls, governance), directors of IRMA contribute to the ongoing conversation about member benefits, activities of the organization, and other ways to help members meet their publishing goals. They assist in recruitment and retention of IRMA Members, selection of conference location, and setting strategic priorities that grow and sustain IRMA and its members. Read more about IRMA’s Mission, Vision and Values on the IRMA website.

– The board meets regularly by Zoom, as well as in person at the annual IRMA Conference. Board members are expected to attend the annual conference and Annual General Meeting.
– Elections by voting members take place annually at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of members, on the final day of the IRMA conference.
– Each member magazine has one vote.
– Each director’s term of office is up to four (4) years.
– The board is comprised of directors representing between nine (9) and 15 member magazines, as well as at-large members (such as committee chairs) and the Presidents Council (past Presidents of the Board).
– There are four officer positions, President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer, which are voted on at the annual meeting.

To nominate someone for a director’s position or an officer position, or for more information, please email the Nominating Committee in care of the Executive Director,

Other activities of IRMA are managed and advised on by committees. We welcome interest from members in being part of the Awards, Conference, Membership and Communications Committees. Please message us to learn more,

Officer Vacancies for 2024-2025 to be voted on at the 2024 Charlotte Conference:

President. The president shall be the principal executive officer of the corporation and shall in general supervise and control all of the business and affairs of the association. The president shall preside at all meetings of the members and of the board of directors. He or she may sign any contracts or other instruments which the board of directors has authorized to be executed, and, in general, shall perform all duties incident to the office of president and such other duties as may be prescribed by the board of directors from time to time.

Vice President. In the absence of the president or in the event of his inability or refusal to act, the vice president (or in the event that there be more than one vice president, the vice presidents in the order of their election) shall perform the duties of the president, and when so acting, shall have all the powers of and be subjected to all the restrictions upon the president. Any vice president shall perform such other duties as from time to time may be assigned by the president or by the board of directors.

Secretary. The secretary shall keep the minutes of the meetings of the members and of the board of directors in one or more books provided for that purpose; see that all notices are duly given in accordance with the provisions of these bylaws or as required by law; be custodian of the organization records; and in general perform all duties incident to the office of secretary and such other duties as from time to time may be assigned by the president or by the board of directors.

Treasurer. The treasurer shall act as liaison with the executive director on financial matters working for the current president and the board of directors in coordinating the budget for the year, and in general perform any fiscal duties as may be assigned by the president, or the board of directors.

Thank you,
Nominating Committee 2024
Kelly Mero, Arizona Highways
Käthe Lemon, Avenue
Annie Stoltie, Adirondack Life

2023-2024 IRMA Directors and Officers
President: Kelly Mero, Publisher, Arizona Highways
Secretary: Annie Stoltie, Editor, Adirondack Life
Treasurer: Andrea Lin, Publisher, Texas Highways
Edward Graves, CEO, New Mexico Magazine
Michelle Kelly, Editor and VP Content, Cottage Life
Kathe Lemon, President, Co-Owner, Avenue Magazine

IRMACON2024 Schedule

2024 Conference Speakers

Download the Attendee Guide Full Version June 3 2024 – 15MB

2024 IRMACON Schedule at a glance

IRMACON2024 will be held June 12-15, 2024 at the Embassy Suites by Hilton in downtown Charlotte, NC. This hotel is centrally located in Charlotte, within steps of the NASCAR Hall of Fame, the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art and the Museum of Illusions. Charlotte is known for its craft beer and southern-influenced food scene, parks and green space, and vibrant neighbourhoods. Weather in June will be humid and with daily highs of 32C/89F. Things to do in Charlotte.

  • IRMACON Goals:
    – Emphasis on member connection to strengthen relationships that we can count on year-round
    – Intensive workshopping and dedicated roundtables in smaller groups around specific, urgent topics brought by our members. Focus on troubleshooting and creating actionable ideas to return home with for every member
    – Conference favourites like ‘Hits and Misses’

Day 1 WEDNESDAY June 12, 2024

6:30-8:30 PM

Welcome to Charlotte: The Queen City
Hosts: Kelly Mero (Publisher, Arizona Highways, President IRMA) and Joyce Byrne (Executive Director, IRMA)

Please join us for a “Welcome to Charlotte” reception to celebrate the kick-off of IRMACON2024. Have a drink, grab a bite, and say hello to meet up with your colleagues from across Canada, Bermuda, and the United States.
Location: Salon D

Day 2 THURSDAY June 13, 2024

6:30 – 8:45 AM Breakfast 

A made-to-order breakfast is served for all guests of the Embassy Suites from 6:30-9:00 AM daily in the 401 Social on the main floor of the hotel. This is free time, head down for breakfast any time you like.

Thursday morning IRMACON sessions are held in Salon A

9:00 AM  Welcome to IRMACON2024
Speakers: Kelly Mero (Arizona Highways, President, IRMA) and Michelle Kelly (Cottage Life, Conference Programming Chair)
Location: Salon A

9:15 AM Hits and Misses
Host: Lauren McKenney, Associate Publisher, Saltscapes
A representative of each member magazine presents specific examples, big or small, on any topic, to show what has gone well in the past year–and what hasn’t. You’ll learn a lot and take away some great ideas. Take good notes and plan to follow-up after the session.

10:15 AM Coffee Break + Sponsor Minute with SFG

10:35 AM What Ails You and How to Cure It
Host: Joyce Byrne, IRMA
Speaker: John Wilpers, Katahdin Media Management
John Wilpers has consulted for the last 14 years with media companies around the world helping them transform into profitable, energized, multimedia operations. From 2010-2021, John was the author of the annual Innovations in Media World Report published by the world association of magazines (FIPP).

In this keynote, John presents a 30,000-foot overview of the biggest challenges facing publishers today — focusing primarily on Revenue, Talent, and Audience — followed by a selection of practical, achievable, proven solutions.

11:45 AM IRMA Luncheon
Relax and get some food! Catch up with colleagues and reflect on the morning sessions.
Location: 401 SOCIAL (Main Floor)

1:00 PM One-on-one meetings with John Wilpers begin
Members who signed up for a micro-consultation with John Wilpers will begin meetings after lunch and continue through Friday.

Afternoon IRMACON sessions are held in Salon A

1:00 PM The Food Section with Hannah Raskin
Host: Andrea Etzel, Publications Manager and Editor, KANSAS! Magazine
Speaker: Hanna Raskin, Editor and Publisher, The Food Section (Charleston, SC)
The Food Section’s mission is to serve eaters across the American South by providing them with the news they need to make their meals more meaningful. It is the home of original, inclusive, and independent reporting about everything that influences how and what we eat and drink in the region today. The Food Section has been recognized by the James Beard Foundation, Online News Association, New York University’s Arthur. L. Carter Journalism Institute, and the International Association of Culinary Professionals as one of the best newsletters—about food or otherwise—in the country.

Hanna Raskin joins us to share the story of The Food Section, and to provoke conversation about culinary coverage, ethics and food journalism, and more.

2:00 PM The Road to Reinvention: Redesigning Texas Highways
Host: Amy Kenny, Managing Editor, Yukon, North of Ordinary
Speakers: Andrea Lin (Publisher), Mark Mahorsky (Creative Director) and Emily Stone (Editor-in-Chief), Texas Highways
Texas Highways is debuting its first redesign in a decade, and this time everything is on the table. From logo to paper stock to frequency, the brand is being completely reinvented. Join Andrea Lin, Mark Mahorsky, and Emily Stone for this inspiring and informative hour walking us through the audience research, design and editorial ideas that will bring Texas Highways to life for a new generation of motorists and visitors to Texas.

3:00 PM Coffee Break

3:20 PM Great PR for Magazine Teams: Earning Media on a Shoestring
Host: Errol Laborde (Louisiana Life, Acadiana Profile)
Panelists: Michelle Kelly, Cottage Life; Robert Stieve, Arizona Highways; Peggy Laborde, Producer and Host, WYES-TV

Does your small team struggle with promoting your brand outside of your four walls? Do you wonder how to build relationships that get your special issues and events on the radar in local media? Wonder what makes the ideal person on your team for the job of promoting your brand?

This expert panel have spent years leading regional brands and covering regional stories, and know a thing or who about convincing media that a story is worth covering, and about how to make it a great segment.

This will be an informative panel for editors, publishers, and marketing teams handling their own PR.

4:20 PM Member-led Roundtable Discussions

Join IRMA colleagues to share your experience and learn from others in this member-led conversation. Join a table for publishing, editorial or design, share ideas and solutions with peers. Foster community and collaboration with other IRMA members and come away inspired!
Table Hosts: Manu Keggenhoff, Creative Director/Publisher, Yukon, North of Ordinary; Kelly Mero, Publisher, Arizona Highways; Emily Stone, Editor-in-Chief, Texas Highways

Location: Salon A and Salon B

5:15 PM Unplugged Time – Do your own thing, or join a group in the hotel lounge
Location: 401 Social is open from 5:00 – 11:00 PM

7:00 PM Unplugged Dinners in the Downtown Charlotte area
Join a group and give one of Charlotte’s many exciting restaurants a try.
Location: Meet in the lobby to head out for dinner with your group.

9:00 PM Jazz Club Adventure
Host: John Wilpers
Catch a show and then a green-room interview with the musician at a local jazz venue. Sign up to join this unique small group experience!
Location: TBA

Day 3 Friday June 14, 2024

6:30 – 8:45 AM Breakfast
Location: 401 Social
A made-to-order breakfast is served for all guests of the Embassy Suites from 6:30-9:00 AM daily in the 401 Social on the main floor of the hotel. This is free time, head down for breakfast any time you like.

Friday morning IRMACON sessions are held in Salon A

9:00 AM Welcome to Day Two of IRMACON!

9:05 AM So, I Bought A (Sixty-Year-Old, BELOVED, Outdoor) Magazine

Host: Annie Stoltie, Co-Publisher/Executive Editor, Adirondack Life

Mike Rogge has been in the outdoor media business for years, as a journalist (Powder Magazine, Vice Sports, ESPN) and film producer (appearing on PBS and in the Banff Mountain International Film Fest Festival).

In 2020 Mike’s company Verb Cabin purchased Mountain Gazette, a much-loved outdoor magazine that writer Dick Doworth described as “a free-form, free-spirited favourite” of western mountain lifestyle enthusiasts in the 1960s and 1970s, that had lived many lives in print and then online.

Key to the return of Mountain Gazette has been its commitment to building subscribers, expanding the brand into merch and multi-media, and eschewing click-baity gear reviews for stories about the joy of going outside. All this in a delightful design capturing the enthusiasm of the team that makes it.

In this conversation with Annie Stoltie of Adirondack Life, Mike will share the story of bringing back a 60-year-old publication, leaning into the heritage and ethos of those original issues and building a subscriber base using all the tools of the digital age.

Please note this session will be pre-recorded.

9:35 AM Keeping Up With Editorial Design Trends – Inspo for Everyone
Host: Shelly Bryant, Lead Designer for Sunflower Publishing, Kansas Magazine
Speaker: Sara D’Eugenio, Art Director, Texas Highways, and curator, @arteditdesign

What’s the secret to keeping your editorial brand fresh and connecting with readers? Sara D’Eugenio wants to share her favourite trends, spreads, and treatments from around the world of print design. When she isn’t focussed on layouts for Texas Highways, Sara is busy curating and sharing inspirational images at @arteditdesign. Identifying what’s on trend and what’s cutting edge keeps your pages relevant, and Sara will share which magazines and design/edit teams are creating looks to lead print design into the second half of the decade.

10:35 AM Coffee Break + Sponsor Minute with Specialized Fulfillment Services

10:55 AM How to Make Local Media Profitable
Host: Annie Stoltie, Co-Publisher/Executive Editor, Adirondack Life
Speaker: Ted Williams, Entrepreneur-in-Residence, Queen University of Charlotte; Media Consultant and Former Charlotte Agenda and Axios Local guy

Ted Williams has a passion and a knack for building successful businesses. He founded the popular — and profitable —  Charlotte Agenda newsletter, which grew to 1,700 paid supporters and $2.2M in revenue before it was sold to Axios Local. After a stint as general manager for Axios Local, Ted is now in an advisory role and consulting and teaching entrepreneurial business students at Queens University of Charlotte. Ted believes that local news can be profitable, and in this conversation, he will share some of the secrets to building successful digital products, how to sell advertising to local retail businesses, and how to build high performing small teams.

11:30 AM IRMA Luncheon and AGM
Location: Salon D

Afternoon sessions will be held in Salon A

1:30 From Curation to Connection: A renewed view of the role of magazines
Speaker: Käthe Lemon, Avenue. Pre-recorded.

In this pre-recorded session, Käthe Lemon shares how Avenue is remaking itself as a connector rather than a curator of content, and has reinvigorated its relationships with readers, advertisers, and custom publishing clients.

2:00 The Secrets of Successful Anniversary Packages
Host and Panelist: Ed Graves, Publisher, New Mexico Magazine
Speakers: Will Grunewald, Editor in Chief, Down East; Alysha Vandertogt Senior Editor, Cottage Life; Steve Gleydura, Editor in Chief, New Mexico Magazine; John McCauley, Art and Photography Director, New Mexico Magazine

We’ve all got them: Anniversaries. But what’s the secret to keeping anniversary packages and celebrations fresh and engaging for our audience? (Not to mention intellectually stimulating for the editors and designers.) And what about brand extensions, digital programs, events and partnerships? How to know what it is, when it should happen, and how to sell it to advertisers.

This panel will look at what it takes to deliver lively and original content in Anniversary Issues, and how to generate new packaging ideas that will generate revenue and buzz for your brand.

3:00 PM Coffee Break

3:20 – 4:30 PM Member-led Roundtable Discussions

Including! Magazine Show and Tell led by Nathan Gunter, Editor-in-Chief, Oklahoma Today
Got a great editorial execution to share with the group? In this lively session for editors and art directors, colleagues will share ideas for packages and stories that really wowed their audiences. Spoiler alert: This is a great spot to pick up ideas for your own title!

Join IRMA colleagues to share your experience and learn from others in this member-led conversation.

4:30 PM Close of IRMACON2024 and Unplugged Time

7:00 PM IRMA Awards Dinner and Presentation



Thank you to Keith Whitney of Arizona Highways, for designing the IRMACON2024 logo.

IRMACON2024 Speaker Bios (PDF)

Download the 2024 IRMACON Schedule at a glance (PDF)

Meet IRMA’s sponsors

IRMA Logo Contest

IRMACON Logo Contest


Calling all IRMA members! We want to see your designs for a special logo for next year’s conference in Charlotte, NC. The IRMA Logo Contest is a friendly competition that gives all of our members and sponsors a chance to create this special emblem.

Here’s what you need to know:

The destination for IRMACON2024 is Charlotte, NC, and we’ll be staying at the Embassy Suites Uptown.
Key Contest Dates
• Contest entry deadline: Friday, October 27, 2023  OCTOBER 31 2023!
• Winner will be announced on Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Contest Guidelines

• The winning logo will be used to promote the 2024 conference in Charlotte, North Carolina
• Logo must be appropriate to be used in a variety of sizes for website, printed and digital materials such as a postcard, promotional literature, the e-newsletter, stickers, gift bags, slide shows, etc.
• Winner must be able to supply a high-res vector art file
• 4 colour preferred but must also be suitable for use in B&W, transparent background etc.
• Must reflect the spirit of IRMA and the conference’s location in some way
• Must include the year of the conference (2024); inclusion of specific dates is optional (June 11-15, 2024)
• Designers do not have to attend the conference to win
• All entries become the property of IRMA

Who Can Enter?

• Members and sponsors

Who are the Judges?

Your fellow members: Staci Miller (Arkansas Online), Tiffany Brett (Downhome) and Gabby Boyer (The Bermudian)

The Prizes

• Each member or sponsor entrant will receive a $50 credit* towards either an IRMA Awards 2024 entry or an IRMACON2024 registration.
• Use of logo in all IRMA materials related to the conference, the IRMA website and social channels and recognition of designer’s name
• Winner’s certificate and announcement to members of the winner
• Bottle of champagne for the table of the winning entrant (must be present at 2024 IRMA awards to win the champagne)

*One credit per individual, multiple submissions will earn one credit.

Send entries by October 27th to:
Joyce Byrne
Executive Director, IRMA

Questions? Call Joyce 416-886-8114

Examples of previous logos

IRMACON 2019 Charlotte Logo

IRMACON2023 Schedule

IRMACON2023 will be held at the stunning Embassy Suites by Hilton in downtown Portland. This historic hotel is centrally located in Portland, within a 10-minute walk of Lan Su Chinese Garden, Voo Doo Donuts, Powell’s Books, and Pioneer Courthouse Square.

  • Emphasis on member connection to strengthen relationships that we can count on year-round
  • Intensive workshopping and dedicated roundtables in smaller groups around specific, urgent topics brought by our members. Focus on troubleshooting and creating actionable ideas to return home with for every member.
  • Perennial conference favorites, such as ‘Hits & Misses’


6:00-8:30 PM
Welcome to Portland: A Stumptown Synopsis
Hosts: Kelly Mero (Publisher, Arizona Highways, President IRMA) and Joyce Byrne (Executive Director, IRMA)
Keynote Remarks: Sam Stites, Portland Monthly

First-time visitor to Portland? Portland Monthly’s Sam Stites dishes on how to see the Rose City like a local and sheds some light on the inner workings of one of North America’s most interesting city mags.

Sam Stites is Portland Monthly’s travel and outdoors editor, and a veteran reporter for Oregon Public Broadcasting and several papers.


8:00 – 9:00 AM Breakfast

9:00 AM  Welcome from IRMA, Kelly Mero (Arizona Highways, President, IRMA) and Andrea Etzel (KANSAS! Magazine, CPC Chair)

9:15 AM Connection Exercise
Host: Dianne Davis (TulNet)
The popular annual meet and greet speed-style.

10:00 AM Break

10:15 AM Hits and Misses
Host: Andrea Etzel (KANSAS! Magazine, CPC Chair)

A representative of each member magazine presents specific examples, big or small, on any topic, to show what has gone well in the past year–and what hasn’t. You’ll learn a lot and take away some great ideas. Take good notes and plan to follow-up after the session.

11:45 AM IRMA Luncheon

1:00 PM Service, Storytelling, and Wildsam: A Reinvention Case Study
Host: Annie Stoltie, EIC Adirondack Life
Speaker: Zach Dundas, Managing Editor, Wildsam

The Wildsam approach to travel content involves reassessing the relationship between expertise and storytelling, service and narrative that has long characterized most guidebooks (and plenty of magazines). Zach Dundas, managing editor of the Austin-based travel brand, discusses how the nature of digital content informs Wildsam’s print field guides, how reader expectations are evolving in place-based media, and how to go about doing an old thing in a new way.

2:00 PM How to Redesign a Magazine on the Cheap
Host: Emily Stone, Editor in chief, Texas Highways magazine
Speaker: John McCauley, Art and Photography Director at New Mexico magazine; Shelly Bryant, Kansas! magazine, Mike O’Leary, Down East magazine

Back in the old days, a redesign meant bringing in an external consultant, dedicating months to planning and discussing options, buying new fonts, updating the logo….redesigning was a production. Few publications have the money for that these days, but magazines still need to evolve to stay current—a fact more important than ever given how accustomed readers are to the pace of change in the digital world. So, how do you update the look and tone of your brand without breaking the bank? What are some of the small changes you can make that have a big impact?

3:15 PM Break

3:30 PM Operational Pain Points and How to Solve Them
Host: TBA
Speaker: Lisa Heyamoto, Director of Programming and Member Education at LION: Local Independent Online News Publishers

While you may think you don’t have time to take on more work, to focus on strategy, or to grow your business in new ways, you may be wrong. Perhaps it’s how you’re going about your work that’s holding you back from sustainable success. Lisa Heyamoto, Director of Programming and Member Education at LION: Local Independent Online News Publishers, joins us to share some insight on how to rethink your operations so that you can free up your time—and mind—to make your business stronger.

4:30 pm How We Do It: Podcasts
Host: TBA
Speakers: Michelle Kelly (Editor, Cottage Life magazine), Karen McColl (Editor, Yukon North of Ordinary magazine), Robert Stieve (Editor, Arizona Highways magazine)

Join IRMA colleagues as they share their experiences with launching a successful podcast. In this panel discussion, we will discuss the nuts and bolts of what’s required, including software and equipment; how to leverage your loyal brand audience on a new platform; insider tips on how to approach lineups and scripts; and ways to save — and make! — money as you go.

5:45 PM Unplugged Time – Do your own thing, or join a group in the gathering space

5:45 PM Unplugged Roundtable on Mental Health in Our Workplaces
For people leaders: How are you managing your team in stressful times? Have you implemented anything in your workplace to address mental health concerns? How do you motivate your staff when anxiety is high and there’s always so much to do? Come meet your peers and find out what’s worked for them.

7:15 PM Unplugged Dinners in the Downtown Portland area


8:00 – 9:00 AM Breakfast

9:00 AM Across the Multifaceted Universe
Host: Brian Kevin, EIC Down East magazine
Speaker: Anja Charbonneu, Founding EIC and creative director, Broccoli Magazine

Anja Charbonneau understands that community is the backbone of any publishing venture. The indie mag Broccoli, which she founded in 2017, today connects a community of smart, creative cannabis lovers through a “multifaceted universe” of events, books, newsletters, podcasts, merch, and more. How has that universe evolved? How has its expansion affected revenue and staff resources, and what place does the flagship print product hold in it? Charbonneau discusses all this, plus her love of “left-of-center editorial concepts,” the challenges of distribution and fulfillment in a small shop, and more.

10:00 AM Taking The Temperature on Social Media: Live-Polling Q&A
Host: Andrea Lin, Publisher, Texas Highways magazine

What do we really need to care about in the contemporary social landscape? Which platforms are you committing more resources to, and from which are you pulling back? What platforms and strategies are driving engagement? How about revenue? How much staff time are you devoting to dancing on TikTok? IRMites will answer these questions and more in a live-polling exercise that guides a discussion about what’s valuable and what isn’t in the world of social in 2023.

11:00 AM Newsletters and New Audiences: Bryan M. Vance from City Cast
Host: Michelle Kelly
Speaker: Bryan M. Vance, Director of Newsletters at City Cast

Newsletters continue to be a key driver of website traffic and advertiser revenue for publishers. Plus, they are an incredibly useful way to get your brand in front of new audiences—new audiences who will eventually fork over cash for your premium products. But how do you find those new audiences? How can we grow subscriber lists beyond the audiences who already know about us? In an on-stage Q&A with Cottage Life editor Michelle Kelly, Bryan M. Vance, director of newsletters at City Cast, a network of city-based podcasts and newsletters in 11 markets across the U.S, talks about how his company is thinking about efficient subscriber acquisition.

12:00 PM IRMA Luncheon

1:15 PM The Future of Paper: Challenges Facing the Industry and What it Means for Publishing
Host: TBA
Speaker: Toni McQuilken, Senior Editor, Printing Impressions

Frustrated watching your printing bill going up, up, up? The rising costs of producing magazines impacts everyone on the team, and just like contraction of our industry impacted theirs, so too will the tide run the other way. In her recent reporting for the trade mag Printing Impressions, print-industry journalist and editor Toni McQuilken lays bare the challenges facing the commercial printing industry, from labour shortages to supply chain disruptions and everything in between. Join us for an illuminating look at our biggest suppliers and what the future looks like for them — and us.

2:15 pm How We Sold/How We Executed It
Host: Ed Graves
Speaker: Brian Kevin, EIC Down East; Tina Stevenson, Bermudian magazine; Kathe Lemon, Avenue magazine

Sponsored content, or SponCon or branded content, can be the cornerstone of a successful revenue strategy for publishers. But it’s also a big leap from selling traditional advertising. How does a publisher get in on the action? How do you run an in-house content studio efficiently while maintaining editorial integrity? In a small shop, who does the work? What are prospective clients looking for from, beyond leveraging your highly engaged and loyal audience? IRMA colleagues will walk through the workflow of some of their more successful paid-content projects, from the client pitch through carrying out creative.

3:15 PM Break

3:45 PM

4:45 PM IRMA AGM and Close of IRMACON2023

5:45 PM Break

7:00 PM IRMA Awards Dinner and Presentation