Heather is responsible for continuing to build the profile and reputation of Health24 – a website already rated by Nielsen as the fifth most visited site in the country, with more than half a million unique users a month.
She has a long and varied career in journalism, starting with the Pretoria News in the days when hot metal was still the mode of production. Her newspaper career – which includes the Times and the Financial Times of London, as well as Business Day, the Argus and the Cape Times – gave way to magazines when she joined Cosmopolitan magazine as deputy editor in 1997. Since then, she has launched a couple of titles (notably Shape magazine, in 2000, which she took to immediate success in her four years as editor), and has spent the last three years as Special Projects Editor within the Women's Magazine Division of Media24. This role was partly strategic and partly hands-on editing.
Heather believes health and wellness information can make a wonderful difference to our ability to take enjoyment from daily life, and is looking forward to working with the immediacy and interactivity offered by online media.
“During my editorship of Shape magazine I saw, first-hand, what a powerful difference simple, basic information can make, when it's presented to readers in a way which reflects a real understanding of their issues,” she says. “In the last few years, online has become key to the way we communicate on a personal and professional level, and I'm really excited about what that suggests for life-changing interactions.”
To some extent, Heather says, she is “Everyman”. “I understand that for many people, gym membership is a ‘grudge purchase'. I understand the allure of the third glass of pinot noir, and that too much information about the various aspects of Vitamin B can make your eyes glaze over and induce you to eat cheesecake.
“I understand the fear of the unknown. And I know that researching mysterious rashes online can make you panic (usually inappropriately).
“That's why I believe Health24 and I are philosophically aligned: Health24 believes life is about balance, and rashes usually have a simple and benign explanation.”
She has a BA from UCT, an unfinished LLB and according to Heather, “A motley collection of terribly interesting – though frequently not very useful – certificates”.
Married, Heather lives with her husband, journalist and editor Donald Paul, in Green Point, Cape Town. She unwinds by going to gym (yes, really – it's about the endorphin rush she says), throwing extravagant dinner parties, and – when there's nothing much going on – multitasking in front of the TV.