A sneak peek at the program for 2016 Women’s Leadership Academy

By on April 27, 2016

The second ONA-Poynter Leadership Academy for Women in Digital Media kicks off this Sunday, May 1, and runs through May 6. We’re thrilled to welcome 28 amazing women to the new cohort and to bring in some of the leading minds in digital media as faculty.

Learn more about the participants in this year’s Academy.

Once again, we had an incredible amount of interest — over 400 applicants! — in the program, which is specifically aimed at giving emerging leaders in digital media support to do their jobs better and the skills to advance their careers. While many of the conversations will be off the record throughout the week, we’ll be sharing some of them, and a number of resources, using the #digitalwomenleaders tag on social media. Follow ONA on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for updates.

Here’s a peek at some of the topics we’ll be focusing on:

Understanding leadership skills

An important part of the seminar is giving the participants a better understanding of their own working styles. Poynter’s stellar Katie Hawkins-Gaar and Butch Ward will discuss how different management approaches can be leveraged for effective leadership. Participants also will receive one-on-one coaching with mentors who will walk them through feedback from their own staff and colleagues.

Tools to lead in digital media

Skills development and tools are a focus throughout the week. Charo Henriquez, Executive Digital Editor for People en Español, will guide the class on how to build a strong digital team. Sisi Wei, News Applications Developer at ProPublica, will provide new ideas for adaptive project management. Alumna from the first Leadership Academy, Masuma Ahuja and Meghann Farnsworth, will focus on tips to get ideas heard within your organization.

Navigating newsroom culture

Leadership doesn’t happen in a vacuum, and another major component of the academy is learning how to work within the structures that already exist. Amy O’Leary, Editorial Director, Upworthy, will discuss how to use disruption to direct the path of change from any position in your organization. Will Neville-Rehbehn, Director of Talent Brand & Marketing at Prudential Financial, will address how to be a mentor and advocate for better compensation, along with leading a conversation on diversity and representation with academy alumna Elite Truong. Jennifer Brandel, Founder and CEO of Hearken, will give advice on how to carve out your own personal path and perhaps find a corner office of your own.

We’ll be sharing more resources throughout the week (keep an eye on #digitalwomenleaders) and we’re looking forward to see how the program adapts in response to the unique needs of this exceptional group of women.

Check out this video to get a sense of last year’s academy and learn more about the first class.

A special thanks to the Ford Foundation and WordPress.com for providing support to ONA for this program. Additional support is provided by the McClatchy Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Google, and Craig Newmark, founder, craigslist and craigconnects.


Jennifer Mizgata

Jennifer Mizgata is Director of Programs at the Online News Association, where she leads the Women's Leadership Accelerator. At ONA, Jennifer focuses on identifying talented digital journalists and innovative journalism projects and providing them with support. Jennifer is a business and design strategist with over a decade of experience creating industry-changing training programs, investing in award-winning projects, and managing key relationships with journalism partners and tech stakeholders. She regularly coaches managers, senior leaders and entrepreneurs on challenges related to their careers and launching new ventures. Jennifer shares advice for navigating tough work challenges in Work Space, a monthly column for Fortune.