Leadership Academy for Women in Media

DEADLINE:  Dec. 7, 2019
LOCATION: The Poynter Institute
COST: $1,095

The application period for the 2020 program has ended. We will open applications for 2021 in the fall of 2020. 

This highly competitive and transformative program focuses on the skills and knowledge needed to rise to the highest levels of media leadership. Sessions will cover how to develop effective management styles, handle difficult conversations, manage burnout, master negotiation tactics and find newsroom allies. We will host three women’s leadership academies in 2020, in Winter, Spring and Fall, each open to 30 participants.

Due to the coronavirus, the dates for the 2020 Leadership Academies for Women in Media are:

  • Feb. 23-28, 2020 (Winter)
  • April 19-24, 2020 (Spring) Postponed!
  • Oct 4- 9, 2020 (Fall) Pending!

These programs are structured to encourage open and candid discussion, exploration of issues unique to women, and hands-on mentoring. Participants will walk away with strong leadership skills, structured feedback from their colleagues, individualized career plans and a built-in support system of peers.

Poynter instructors:

Kelly McBride, Poynter senior vice president, ethics chair, and founder of the Leadership Academy for Women in Media, will continue to oversee the program. Doris Truong, director of training and diversity at Poynter, and Cheryl Carpenter, Poynter leadership faculty, will return as faculty and coaches. The academies will be organized by Katie Hawkins-Gaar, founder of The Cohort newsletter and the Digital Women Leaders coaching initiative.

Guest instructors and keynote speakers for 2020 will be announced closer to the seminar dates.

Kelly McBride,

Kelly McBride
Senior Vice President
The Poynter Institute


Katie Hawkins-Gaar
Leadership Academy for Women in Digital Media

Cheryl Carpenter is the Bureau Chief of the McClatchy Washington Bureau in Washington, D.C., on April 10, 2017.

Cheryl Carpenter
Leadership Faculty
The Poynter Institute

Doris Truong
Director of Training and Diversity
The Poynter Institute

Mel2 (1)

Mel Grau
Marketing Writer; Editor of The Cohort
The Poynter Institute


Kristen Hare
Local News Reporter
The Poynter Institute

Keynote speakers for 2020:


Korva Coleman

lydia polgreen

Lydia Polgreen

Past instructors include:

Sarah Alvarez

Sarah Alvarez
Outlier Media

Kainaz Amaria
Visuals Editor

Jennifer Brandel
CEO and Co-Founder

Kari Cobham

Kari Cobham
Senior Associate Director of Journalism Fellowships
The Carter Center


Megan Greenwell

S. Mitra Kalita
Senior Vice President for News, Opinion and Programming
CNN Digital

Áine Kerr
Co-Founder and COO

Samantha Ragland

Samantha Ragland
Director, Digital Content Strategy
GateHouse Media — Florida


Swati Sharma
Managing Editor


Millie Tran
Deputy Off-Platform Editor
The New York Times


Elite Truong
Deputy Editor, Strategic Initiatives
The Washington Post


Jennifer White


Carla Zanoni
Director of Audience Development


Manoush Zomorodi
Host, WNYC’s Note to Self
Co-Founder, Stable Genius Productions

What you will learn

Each of Poynter’s three women’s leadership academies will be unique, with different instructors, new sessions and a diverse mix of participants from all over the world. Key themes will include:

  • Leveraging your leadership style
  • Negotiation strategies for women
  • Planning your career
  • Building better work-life chemistry
  • Managing burnout and stress
  • Tackling difficult conversations, including #MeToo situations
  • Navigating ethical issues in the newsroom
  • Assessing your workplace culture
  • Approaches to change management

See how the lessons these three graduates learned helped them land their dream jobs after the program.

Who should attend

Women working in journalism who have leadership responsibilities or demonstrated leadership potential should apply. This program is designed to benefit women at multiple stages of their careers.

“The Leadership Academy finally gave me leadership and management training — something I’d never received. And I use it every single day,” shared Sara Konrad Baranowski, the editor of the Iowa Falls Times-Citizen and a graduate from Poynter’s 2017 women’s leadership academy. “I think about what I learned, I go back over my notes, I look at my personal development plan … maybe it was more than career-changing. Maybe it was a little bit life-changing too.”

English-speaking women from media and journalism organizations all over the world are encouraged to apply. We value diversity and seek to create a rich mix of personal and professional experience in each class.

Poynter directly impacts your career

We launched our first Leadership Academy for Women in Media in 2015. Applications grew exponentially, with the 2018 program attracting more than 600 applicants. Why? The Poynter women’s leadership training alters careers and changes lives. In a 2018 survey of graduates from our first three years of the program, we learned:

  • 81% got promoted or have more job responsibilities
  • 83% make more money, with half making substantially more money
  • 76% have a clearer vision of what’s important in their career

“I didn’t realize magic was happening when I was in the class,” said Dhiya Kuriakose, women’s leadership academy alumna and instructor and senior director of development strategy and syndication at Condé Nast Entertainment. “I realized it two weeks later. And I’m realizing it every day two years later. Those five days are not when your life changes. It’s the experience of those five days that end up changing your life after you’re very far from St. Petersburg.”

Follow #PoynterWomenLeaders or #PoynterSisters to see the first-hand experience of past participants.

Important dates

Applications Open: Nov. 1, 2019
Applications Close: Dec. 7, 2019
Participant Confirmation: Jan. 2020


Tuition for the academy is $1,095. Lunches, snacks and some dinners are included in the program cost. Participants (or their employers — here’s advice about asking your boss for support) are responsible for travel costs.

The Poynter Institute is offering need-based tuition scholarships and travel support  — thanks to funding from the John S. and James L Knight Foundation — for journalists in local news, nonprofits and startups, as well as for women of color. All are encouraged to apply to Poynter’s Leadership Academies for Women in Media.


Here are some frequently asked questions. If you still need assistance, email us at seminars@poynter.org.

Thank you to our sponsors: