Communications professional Jean Palmer Heck is proof that being in the right place at the right time pays off. The place? Japan. The time? 1987.
“I gave a speech at an international women’s conference. I was emcee for the day,” says Heck, a 1974 communication arts alum, who spent her early career as a radio talk show host and TV anchor before working as a corporate spokesperson.
Heck made such a favorable impression that a company at the conference hired her as an international communications strategist. That opened more doors and led to more clients. The communications consulting business Heck started at home in Indianapolis took off during her five years abroad. She made a name for herself coaching Asian executives who needed to express themselves to English-speaking constituents and customers.
“It was my dream, really,” says Heck, a working mother of two who was in Kobe, Japan, because of her husband’s job transfer there. Heck also capitalized on her ability to shoot video, augmenting her communications business as a videographer.
In the years since her return to Indianapolis, Heck hasn’t stopped adding to her résumé. She recently published her first book, Tough Talks in Tough Times: What Bosses Need to Know to Deliver Bad News, Motivate Employees and Stay Sane.