ONA announces class for 2017 Women’s Leadership Accelerator

By on December 20, 2016

Washington, D.C. — The Online News Association is pleased to announce the 2017 class of women leaders selected for the tuition-free Women’s Leadership Accelerator.

The participants, chosen from a pool of more than 300 applicants, have each presented a unique problem in their careers which they will focus on throughout the course of the Accelerator, to be held Feb. 5-10, 2017 at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism in Los Angeles. Each class member has demonstrated an aptitude for leadership through their past projects, resumes and references. The outstanding journalists that were selected for the 2017 group have a range of skill sets and areas of expertise, and represent diversity across race, geography, technology platforms and organization size.

This year’s class includes:

Nadine Ajaka, Curator and Associate Producer, The Atlantic
Lexi Belculfine, Editor, The Incline, Spirited Media
Lauren Bracey Scheidt, Senior Product Manager, Listener Journey, NPR
Heather Bryant, JSK Fellow, JSK Fellowship at Stanford
Julia B. Chan, Editor, Reveal, The Center for Investigative Reporting
Lainna Fader, Associate Director, Audience Development, The New Yorker
Kim Fox, Managing Editor, Audience, Philadelphia Media Network
Serri Graslie, Senior Digital Strategist, Training Team, NPR
Kellen Henry, Assistant Editor, Digital Platforms, The New York Times
Denise Law, Community Editor, The Economist
Amy King, Design Director, Emerging News Products, The Washington Post
Kristen Lepore, Project Manager, Elections, Southern California Public Radio, KPCC
Irene McKisson, Team Leader, #ThisIsTucson, Arizona Daily Star
Rubina Madan Fillion,Director of Audience Engagement, The Intercept
Alba Mora Roca, Executive Producer, AJ+ Español
Anika Palm, Senior Programming Producer, Off-Platform, CNN
María Sánchez Díez, Journalist, Innovation, Univision News
Ankita Rao, Associate Editor, VICE
Shauna Siggelkow, Executive Video Producer, #EmergingUS
Usha Sahay, Interactive News Writer, The Wall Street Journal
Versha Sharma, Managing Editor, News & Politics, NowThis
Blythe Terrell, Senior Editor, Science and Health, FiveThirtyEight
Meena Thiruvengadam, Head of Audience Development, Business Insider
Heesun Wee, Freelancer
Madeline Welsh, Associate Editor, Guardian Mobile Innovation Lab, Guardian US

During their week in Los Angeles, participants will focus on developing critical leadership skills and tools for navigating change, as well as finding solutions to the unique challenges faced by women in media and technology.

Women leaders in the media industry, including Kara Swisher, Executive Editor of Recode; Jennifer Brandel, founder and CEO of Hearken; Charo Henriquez-Scaia, former executive digital editor for People en Español; and Liz Heron, former Executive Editor at Huffington Post will teach at the Accelerator.

ONA is thrilled to announce that S. Mitra Kalita, Vice President for Programming at CNN; Jessica Yu, Global Head of Visuals for The Wall Street Journal; and Will Neville-Rehbehn, Director, Talent Brand & Experience, Prudential Financial, will also lead sessions at the Accelerator. The week-long training will be co-facilitated by Tran Ha, a design thinking expert who has led the Stanford d.school’s media experiments, and ONA’s Senior Communications Manager, Jennifer Mizgata. Throughout the week, participants will hear from leaders in the Los Angeles media community and work closely with mentors on their personal projects.

Thanks to the generous support of the Dow Jones Foundation, and supporting funder Google, the Women’s Leadership Accelerator training is tuition-free. ONA also is grateful to USC Annenberg for generously hosting the Accelerator program. There are still opportunities to support ONA’s Accelerator program. If you’re interested in getting involved or sponsoring, please contact Jennifer Mizgata.

Learn more about the Women’s Leadership Accelerator.


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.