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David Zinczenko ’91 is dedicated to building a healthier world and is doing it one publication at a time. His long list of accomplishments—books, magazines and healthy-living programs—define his commitment.
First, he traveled the globe as editorial director of Men's Health magazine international, overseeing the development, launch and standardization of the magazine's overseas editions. By 2000, at just 30, he was named editor-in-chief of Men's Health, where he led the Rodale publication’s rise to become the world’s leading men’s lifestyle magazine.
Today, the 42-year-old award-winning author and authority on men and healthy lifestyles serves as general manager of Rodale Inc.’s Healthy Living Group and eVP/editor-in-chief of Men’s Health. He also serves as the editorial director of Women’s Health, Prevention and Organic Gardening and oversees Rodale’s book division.
"I knew even as an undergraduate that I wanted to make a career in writing," says Zinczenko, "I just didn't know what kind." The Allentown native says it was at Moravian, where he double majored in political science and journalism, that he found his way to his career in the publishing world.
Zinczenko discovered his calling at his first writing job with Campus Voice, a service magazine aimed at helping students navigate college. "It's almost as if I was getting an early education in the kind of reader-focused journalism that would dominate my working life later on."
For Zinczenko, Moravian was a perfect fit, offering the nurturing environment in which his talents could flourish.
"Moravian trains you for life by encouraging you to do as many different things as you dare,” he says. “Most people focus on what they want to do in life, and stay within that silo. They say, ‘I want to be a doctor, so I’ll only focus on health courses and activities.’ But in most cases, being successful at one job means also juggling about a dozen more. I wanted to be a magazine editor, but I’ve discovered that running a magazine—or any business—means being able to do many, many unrelated things at once."
The ability to explore a diverse range of programs and activities at Moravian laid the foundation Zinczenko credits with his success.
"Moravian prepared me for that sort of Swiss Army-knife world. In addition to juggling a double major, I was in the U.S. Navy Reserves, wrestled, edited the school newspaper, ran a dorm, did a Washington semester program at American University while working on Capitol Hill, sold IBM computers on campus, wrote op-eds for the LA Times and other publications and on and on."
Under his leadership, Men's Health has thrived; recognized as the largest and most innovative men's lifestyle magazine brand in the world with 39 international editions in 46 countries. It's been nominated for 14 National Magazine Awards, winning four. Zinczenko was named "Editor of the Year," by Adweek magazine, shortly after the brand topped the list of the magazine's "Brand Leaders Hot List."
He also has written the best-selling series, Eat This, Not That! More than 7.5 million copies are in print nationwide with 11 installments, including two cookbooks.
For Zinczenko, the most satisfying part of his expansive number of undertakings is "helping people live better lives." If that sounds naive, the editor says, "Well, it's true."
One way has been to promote President Obama’s fitness regime through a 2009 cover story that established Men's Health as the authoritative voice on the administration’s efforts to promote a healthier lifestyle for all Americans. Interviews with First Lady Michelle Obama in Women's Health and a special newsstand edition of Children's Health set the stage for an ongoing debate over the nation's drift into obesity.
"We've always believed that the mission behind Men's Health is to help guys seize control of all the chaos in their lives, and we do that. When we shout, ‘GET BACK IN SHAPE,’ on our cover, a lot of men do exactly that, and live longer, better and happier lives because of it. How amazing is that?"
Zinczenko has taken his message to the airwaves as well, appearing on Oprah, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, ABC World News and as a regular contributor to The Today Show. He also has helped pass legislation creating National Men's Health Week during the week of Father’s Day; adopted the town of Large, Pa., organizing a health program for its residents; and sent editors to testify before the United Nations on the condition and health of men in the world.
And closer to home, he was just inducted into Lehigh County’s inaugural Hall of Fame for contributions to the heritage and history of the Lehigh Valley.
Zinczenko has moved decisively into the digital age, abandoning print-only products long ago. The Men’s Health message is now available online, on the iPad, Twitter, Facebook, podcasts and through e-books. “When you hear publishers complaining about the difficulties of the new environment, you’re listening to dinosaurs caught in the tar pits,” says Zinczenko. “We’re making the most of the new formats, and reaching more guys than ever. This isn’t a problem, it’s a history-making opportunity.”
"Moravian trains you for life by encouraging you to do as many different things as you dare."