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

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

(Image by Susana Sanchez)

April 13, 2021

The first of three classes will gather in Poynter’s interactive online learning environment for a week of leadership training in May.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (April 13, 2021) — The Poynter Institute, renowned for longstanding excellence in training newsroom leaders, is pleased to announce the first of three classes selected for its seventh annual Leadership Academy for Women in Media. This illustrious group of 30 women will join a network of more than 400 graduates who experience significant personal and professional transformation through the prestigious program.

“This is the third year I’ve been involved in our selection process, and the applicant pool continues to impress. From the diversity of life experiences to the diversity of work these women are doing, they are clearly raising the bar within their news organizations,” said Doris Truong, Poynter’s director of training and diversity. “We are thrilled to empower a new class of women who will blaze trails for our industry with their innovative ideas and energy.”

The Leadership Academy for Women in Media is one of Poynter’s most competitive programs. It is designed for women who directly manage people and are within their first five years of formal leadership experience. During the program — currently hosted online because of the coronavirus pandemic — participants learn to manage teams more effectively, hone and communicate their strategic vision and steer their organizations toward success.

“After going online for both the September and October 2020 academies, I have to say that this May academy is going to be off the chain,” said Samantha Ragland, lead faculty for the Leadership Academy for Women in Media. “We are ready to serve this dynamic, talented group of women in the digital space. We have seen the cohort magic sparkle up from a Zoom call, and we can’t wait to foster it again this year.”

For the 2021 academy, 40% of the total applicants were journalists of color with 65% of all applicants hailing from outside major media centers.

“Sometimes the women’s leadership academy is taken to be a program for millennial women. And this just isn’t the case,” said Ragland. “This leadership academy has been built for women in leadership, particularly women leading people. I cannot wait to have a variety of voices in the room, as communicating and being inclusive across generations is just as important as other diverse groups.”

The first class this year will convene May 2-7, 2021. Journalist, author and podcaster Danyel Smith will be the keynote speaker, jumpstarting the week of training with an off-the-record conversation about her career of firsts as a Black, female editor, including at Billboard and Vibe. Other training sessions during the week are finding better work-life chemistry, managing burnout, navigating ethical issues in the newsroom, creating space for diverse talent and advocating for yourself and others. The guest faculty who will join Smith are:

  • Sushil Cheema, editor, The Penny Hoarder
  • Joanne Griffith, managing editor, California Newsroom
  • Liz Johnson, regional features editor, USA Today Network Atlantic Group

The next two Poynter academies this year will take place Sept. 26-Oct. 1 and Nov. 7-12; participants are selected and will be announced closer to the teaching dates.

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. Poynter thanks these alumnae for their dedication to upholding the integrity of the program: Masuma Ahuja, Jenn Amur, Corinne Chin, Sushil Cheema, Emily Chow, Emilia Diaz-Struck, Jin Ding, Nana aba Duncan, Emanuella Grinberg, Mandy Hofmockel, Carrie Holt, Ally Jarmanning, Angela Kim, Christina Kline, Chelsea Matiash, Jessica Morrison, Rachel Rohr, Ginny Romney, Megha Satyanarayana, Kay Steiger, Taylor Turner, Rebecca Zamon and Ariel Zirulnick.

Meet the May 2021 cohort

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

Yasmeen Alamiri

Marcia Allert

Kari Anderson

Elizabeth Baugh

Tayla Burney

Lisa Creamer

Caitlin Curran

Nicole Cvetnic

Natalie Delgadillo

Heather Doyle

Lena Felton

Emily Goldstein

Anika Houston

Erika Janik

Panagiota Tania Karas

Ashton Lattimore

Ashley Lisenby

Maribel Lopez

Ginella Massa

Sara McCloskey

Jessica Meyers

Candace Mitchell

Roshni Murthy

Carolyn Powers

Elizabeth Roman

Josée Rose

Melissa Steinhofer

Katy Stone

Tracy Vence

Liz White

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 will open in the fall of 2021. Subscribe to Poynter’s Weekly Training Digest to stay updated about the following leadership programs and other workshops:

  • Build a Stronger Team by Being a Better Coach: June 28-30, 2021
  • Lead With Influence: August 2021
  • Leadership Academy: Oct. 24-29, 2021
  • Essential Skills for Rising Newsroom Leaders: Dec. 12-17, 2021


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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