Here are the 29 women selected for Poynter’s first Leadership Academy for Women in Media in 2022

Here are the 29 women selected for Poynter’s first Leadership Academy for Women in Media in 2022

April 28, 2022

Last updated: May 13, 2022.

They will convene at Poynter the week of May 15, marking a return to in-person programming. This group also marks 500+ participants since 2015, a major impact milestone for the academy.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (April 28, 2022) — The Poynter Institute, renowned for longstanding excellence in training newsroom leaders, is delighted to announce the first of three classes selected for its eighth annual Leadership Academy for Women in Media. With this newest cohort of 29, the number of women to experience the transformation at the core of this prestigious program now exceeds 500.

“That’s at least 500 personal development plans, 500 coaching hours, 500 lives changed, not to mention the thousands of connections, conversations and catalysts that originated during this program,” said Samantha Ragland, Poynter faculty and director of the women’s leadership academy. “How do you measure the ripple effect of one changed leader? Who’s in charge of our industry now looks radically different than it did eight years ago, and Poynter’s programming for women has contributed to that increased equity and community.”

The Leadership Academy for Women in Media is one of Poynter’s most competitive programs. It is designed for women and nonbinary journalists who directly manage people and are within their first five years of formal leadership experience. During the weeklong academy, participants grow their self-awareness, harness their leadership potential, learn how to foster belonging, empathy and inspiration on their teams, and guide their organizations through crisis and opportunity. 

“I started to focus more on my needs as a leader and making sure that I was seen and heard,” said Monica Richardson, a member of the 2018 academy and executive editor of the Miami Herald. “Poynter’s Leadership Academy for Women in Media made me feel motivated and empowered and most of all proud of myself for all that I had accomplished as a journalist. It also gave me the confidence to share that with others. I am now proud and honored to be the first African American woman to serve as the executive editor for the Miami Herald and the El Nuevo Herald in the newspaper’s 118-year history.”

Participants also become part of a tight-knit, supportive community of leaders dedicated to helping each other succeed.

“For so long I had been trying to figure out how to navigate a space not totally understanding who I could trust or who I could turn to when things got difficult,” said Erin Peterson, a member of the 2019 academy and director of innovation at TEGNA. “It got a lot easier once I became a part of a cohort with some of the best brains in the business. No matter where I turned, there was somebody who was able to be a resource for the problems I needed to solve.”

“These are not colleagues anymore,” said Tracie Powell, a member of the original academy in 2015 and founder of the Pivot Fund, a venture philanthropy organization that invests in independent BIPOC-led community news. “They are more than that. They’re sisters.”

RELATED: Subscribe to Poynter’s newsletter centering conversations about gender in media, The Cohort.

Poynter’s 2022 academies will bring together participants and instructors at Poynter’s campus in St. Petersburg, Florida, for the first time since 2020. Because of the pandemic, Poynter hosted five consecutive academies exclusively online. 

“The women who are coming to Poynter in May are incredible, and I’m beyond lucky that I get to spend days of quality time with them away from the stressors of home and work,” said Ragland. “We carefully select each person to be in a specific cohort because we are just as focused on group dynamics as we are on personal growth. The two are interconnected! We have a great diversity of media organizations represented, from legacy to startup, hyperlocal to international and everything in between. What connects these women of varying ages and races and geographies is that they are all relatively new to their people-management career. Poynter is here to help guide them, and their teams.”

The May academy will kick off with a keynote address from chief content officer at Chicago Public Media, Tracy Brown. During a fireside chat with Ragland, Brown will share her experience leading through a merger, navigating a career path with courage and care, and serving audiences through patient leadership.

RELATED: Watch alumnae share the lessons they learned from the Leadership Academy for Women in Media

The May cohort will also participate in a newly developed workshop about trauma-informed leadership. Ragland will facilitate the three-hour session focused on coaching, resilience, listening and the double-edged sword of empathy.

Other training sessions during the week include the ever-popular work-life chemistry talk with Poynter faculty Kristen Hare, navigating ethics in newsroom leadership with Poynter senior vice president Kelly McBride, identifying your values and retaining diverse talent with Poynter director of teaching Doris Truong, and negotiation tactics with Poynter faculty Joie Chen

Sitara Nieves, who joined the institute from Marketplace as faculty in 2021, will also be part of the women’s leadership academy teaching team. She will lead sessions on conflict management and communication styles.  

Two program alumnae typically return to the academy as guest faculty, strengthening the connective tissue between the different cohorts and demonstrating the impact of the programming. Dana Lacy, head of longform partnerships at Twitter and graduate of the 2018 academy, will teach the May group how to make working relationships more fruitful. Sushil Cheema, executive coach, former newsroom manager and graduate of the 2019 academy, will talk about change management when personal buy-in varies. 

Those chosen for Poynter’s 2022 Leadership Academy for Women in Media passed through multiple rounds of review with an emphasis to ensure diversity across race, ethnicity, geography, age, platform/medium, organization size and expertise. Reviewers included Poynter staff and faculty, as well as a volunteer committee of program graduates. Poynter thanks the following alumnae for their investment and feedback: Becca Aaronson Davis, Anika Anand, Kari Anderson, Belén Arce Terceros, Diana Elbasha, Maritza Félix, Brittany Hite, Liz Johnson, Tania Karas, Natasha Madov, Gabriela Manuli, Rajendrani Mukhopadhyay, Roshni Murthy, Emma Patti Harris, Erin Peterson, Maryam Saleh, Sandhya Sekar, Taylor Shaw, Kayleigh Skinner, Alexandra Smith, Christina Tapper and Megan Whelan.

The academy takes place three times each year, and all participants are selected at the same time. 

RELATED: What makes a strong application? Here’s how to sell yourself 

Meet the May 2022 cohort

Poynter is pleased to welcome members of the upcoming Leadership Academy for Women:

Terry Aguayo

Hana Alberts

Caterina Andreano

Antonia Cereijido

Eli Chen

Sarah Colón-Harris

Kate Cox

Leah Donnella

Megan Finnerty

April Fong

Tara Francis Chan

Danielle Gaines-Sridharan

Jamie Gumbrecht

Sabrina Herrera

Kamila Hinkson

Jehan Jillani

Alexis (Lexie) Krell

Alexandra March

Mary Tyler March

Sarah Menendez

Brittany Patterson

Erin Perry

Christina Rees

Lauren Savoie

Brandi Schier

Rachel Schindler

Chelsea Stark

Megan Thielking

Julie Zeglen

The 2022 Poynter Leadership Academies for Women in Media are made possible in part by support from Craig Newmark Philanthropies, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Gannett Foundation. In 2021, women’s leadership academy alumna and Kimbap Media founder Emma Carew Grovum also established a scholarship to support international participants

“I feel confident about what I do now and I attribute so much of that to my cohorts … both as a participant and as faculty member,” said Carew Grovum. “I would never want someone to not be able to have that experience.”

Applications for the 2023 Leadership Academies for Women in Media will be open earlier than usual this year, from Aug. 1 through Sept. 5, 2022. Subscribe to Poynter’s Weekly Training Digest to get updates and save the date for other upcoming leadership programs, including:

  • Executive Leadership Summit (September 2022) — for leaders who are No. 1 or 2 in their organization and/or a department head with 10 or more years of experience. Details coming soon! 
  • Lead with Influence (October 2022) — an outgrowth of the women’s academy, this leadership program is for women and nonbinary people with big responsibilities but no direct reports. The deadline to apply is Sept. 2, 2022.
  • Essential Skills for Rising Newsroom Leaders (December 2022) — for new managers or experienced managers who have had little or no management training. The deadline to apply is Oct. 14, 2022.


Media Contact:

Tina Dyakon
Director of Marketing
The Poynter Institute

About The Poynter Institute

The Poynter Institute for Media Studies is a global leader in journalism education and a strategy center that stands for uncompromising excellence in journalism, media and 21st-century public discourse. Poynter faculty teach seminars and workshops at the Institute in St. Petersburg, Florida, and at newsrooms, conferences and organizations around the world. Its e-learning division, News University, offers the world’s largest online journalism curriculum, with hundreds of interactive courses and tens of thousands of registered international users. The Institute’s website produces 24-hour coverage about media, ethics, technology and the business of news. Poynter is the home of the Craig Newmark Center for Ethics and Leadership, the Pulitzer Prize-winning PolitiFact, the International Fact-Checking Network and MediaWise, a digital information literacy project for young people, first-time voters and senior citizens. The world’s top journalists and media innovators rely on Poynter to learn and teach new generations of reporters, storytellers, media inventors, designers, visual journalists, documentarians and broadcasters. This work builds public awareness about journalism, media, the First Amendment and discourse that serves democracy and the public good. Learn more at