Meet the third cohort of Poynter’s 2021 Leadership Academy for Women in Media

Meet the third cohort of Poynter’s 2021 Leadership Academy for Women in Media

October 12, 2021

Swati Sharma, the new editor-in-chief at Vox and 2016 Poynter alumna, will be the keynote speaker and coach for the Nov. 7-12 cohort.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (Oct. 12, 2021) — The Poynter Institute, renowned for longstanding excellence in training newsroom leaders, is pleased to announce the third and final class selected for its seventh annual Leadership Academy for Women in Media. This illustrious group of 31 women will join a network of more than 460 graduates who experience significant personal and professional transformation through the prestigious program.

“We are thrilled to welcome our final cohort of women leaders this year,” said Doris Truong, director of training and diversity at Poynter. “Every cohort inspires because we see the members’ ongoing commitment and passion for journalism. These are also leaders who are dedicated to self-improvement that will have a ripple effect with their staff as they work toward more diverse and inclusive news products.”

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 program — which will be hosted online Nov. 7-12 because of the pandemic — participants learn to manage teams more effectively, hone and communicate their strategic vision, and steer their organizations toward greater success.

“This will be the fifth women’s leadership academy we’ve hosted digitally, and we’re excited to share a longer program format — more true to our in-person academy,” said Samantha Ragland, lead faculty for the Leadership Academy for Women in Media. “The expanded schedule allows for more of what all cohort alum always want more of — time with each other. We’re adding walking meetings, which was inspired by the May cohort, as well as going deeper on a brand new workshop on the most under-utilized leadership skill — delegation. In the virtual setting, you can’t be afraid to try new things, and this is just as true for Poynter and the program so near to our heart.”

RELATED: Subscribe to The Cohort, the newsletter from Poynter that centers conversations about gender in media

Swati Sharma, the new editor-in-chief at, will be this cohort’s keynote speaker. A graduate of the program and a previous guest faculty, Sharma will also be available to provide one-on-one coaching. 

“This cohort gets a super special treat in that Swati will be with them all week,” said Ragland. “This isn’t always something our keynotes can do, but as a program alum, Swati was more than willing to devote the extra time to getting to know this group of women and form meaningful connections.”

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Other training sessions during the week are how to find better work-life chemistry with Poynter’s Kristen Hare, how to use ethics in newsroom leadership with Kelly McBride, how to create space for diverse talent with Truong and how to apply positive psychology tactics to quiet self-doubt with Ragland. 

Those chosen for Poynter’s 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. 

Meet the November 2021 cohort

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

Anna Walsh

Areli Padilla

Ashley Woods Branch

Beth Ashton

Candice Mays

Christina Andreasen

Emily Barske

Emily M. Eng

Emily Siner

Gabriela Manuli

Gloria Knott

Kate Maxwell

Kayleigh Skinner

Kim Dixon

Laila Al-Arian

Lainey Seyler

Laura Terberl

Leila Kheiry

Macie May

Maritza Lizeth Gallego Félix

Maryam Saleh

Meredith Bennett-Smith

Molly Eichel

Onyinyechi Eze

Paula Molina

Saba Hamedy

Sadie Quarrier

Samantha Tomaszewski

Sarah Frostenson

Shana Pinnock

Talia Medina

The 2021 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.

Applications for the 2022 Leadership Academies for Women in Media Poynter will be open from Oct. 25 through Nov. 30, 2021. Subscribe to Poynter’s Weekly Training Digest to stay updated about the following leadership programs and other workshops:


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

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