I’m stuck on why the hero/header image is showing the 9th post instead of the lastest post.
Ideally, I want the latest post to be the hero one and then the list of 9 would be offset by one, but the hero image/post link is the 9th in the list.
I assume you are using the themer connections for the title and background for that heading. It will use the $post global, and because you have a loop in the page WP will have set the $post globals for each of those posts, last one rendered is where the global is when the heading is rendered. Thats just the way WP look works.
You might need to craft a couple of shortcodes to grab the 1st/latest post title and image urls and use those for connections.
Thanks. I think you responded on FB as well.