The Online News Association is excited to announce the 2023 cohort of the Women’s Leadership Accelerator (#ONAWLA). The accelerator is an intensive program of mentoring, discussion and learning from some of the top minds in digital media. Participants work closely with coaches on challenges unique to their careers and also receive support from ONA throughout the year. The program nurtures career-long connections to a powerful community of leaders, both within each year’s cohort and across a broader network including accelerator alums, mentors and speakers.
This year’s program is tuition-free thanks to our supporters. The schedule will include a kickoff virtual gathering in March, individual virtual coaching, an in-person workshop in Chicago later this spring and a closing workshop during the 2023 Online News Association conference (#ONA23) in Philadelphia.
The 26 women chosen for the 2023 cohort represent five places outside of the contiguous United States and 10 states or territories within the contiguous U.S. They serve audiences from San Diego, California, to Buenos Aires, Argentina. The majority of this inspiring group identify as women of color, and all members represent a range of journalism backgrounds.
We asked applicants to the accelerator this year to share an example of how they are working to create change within their organizations, and/or ultimately the journalism industry at large. The women selected for the cohort not only have a deep understanding of the digital journalism landscape but are actively helping to advance it.
We are thrilled to welcome a variety of changemakers to the group, from directors, founders and hosts, to editors, managers, producers and researchers, among others. They bring expertise in local news, broadcast, magazines, newspapers, podcasts, nonprofits, audience, digital journalism, product, strategy, video production, digital safety and partnerships.
Meet the 2023 cohort:
- Allegra Kirkland, Politics Director, Teen Vogue
- Anita Rao, Host and Creator of Embodied, Managing Editor of On-Demand, North Carolina Public Radio WUNC
- Courtney Sebesta, Managing Editor, Austin American-Statesman
- Cristina Fernández, Digital Content Director, WAPA TV
- Dariela Sosa, Founder, Arepita, 10min
- Dawn Cuthbertson, Director of Local Online News, Global News/Corus Entertainment
- Elaine Okyere, Assistant Editor, Digital, Sky News
- Femi Redwood, Host and Managing Producer of Podcasts, 1010 WINS/WCBS Newsradio 880
- Jamie Self, Deputy Managing Editor, inewsource
- Jeje Mohamed, Senior Manager for Digital Safety and Free Expression, PEN America
- Jennifer Tanaka, Senior Editor, Digital News, WBEZ
- Katherine Reynolds Lewis, Founder and Director, The Institute for Independent Journalists
- Kendall Trammell, Senior Producer, Weekend Digital Programming, CNN
- Lama Rabah, Senior Producer and Project Manager, Thmanyah
- Laurence Du Sault, Senior Writer and Editor, Open Vallejo
- Louise Ridley, Senior Features Editor, Business, Insider UK
- Lydia Belanger, Director of Production, Fortune
- Marian Chia-Ming Liu, Project Editor of Special Newsroom Initiatives and Partnerships, The Washington Post
- Masako Melissa Hirsch, Senior Researcher, Video, Vox.com
- Michelle Kanaar, Cofounder, Associate Director, Partnerships and Visual Storytelling, Borderless Magazine
- Molly Greene, Strategy & Legal Director, The Appeal
- Shannon Busta, Senior Manager, Operations and Audience, Opinion Audio, The New York Times
- Stephanie Daniel, Senior Managing Editor and Reporter, KUNC (NPR for Northern Colorado)
- Tess Jeffers, Director of Audience Analytics, The Wall Street Journal
- Valeria Perasso, Senior Journalist, BBC 100 Women Team Lead, BBC
- Zeynep Günbay, Senior Product Designer, The Philadelphia Inquirer
Supporting women in digital journalism
The 2023 Women’s Leadership Accelerator is supported by lead funder Dow Jones Foundation, with additional funding from the Inasmuch Foundation, The New York Times and the Tiffany Shackelford Foundation. Want to connect with this incredible group? Contact Jessica Strelitz, Chief Strategic Partnerships Officer, at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about supporting this program and others.
ONA has organized cohort-based leadership training for women since 2015. Beyond the accelerator, ONA’s initiatives to support women in digital journalism have expanded to include inspiring conversation series on advocating for your team and leadership styles and entrepreneurship, facilitated networking events, training tailored to women in local news, dedicated programming at the annual conference and a learning series for women executives, launching in 2023.
We seek funders for each new cohort and have several opportunities to support this program as well as our other year-round opportunities for women in digital news leadership. To talk about ways to support these programs, contact Jessica at email@example.com.
ONA was founded in 1999 as a forum for digital news pioneers to collaborate on common challenges and encourage the highest journalistic standards. Become an ONA member or make a donation to sustain our mission to inspire and support innovation and excellence in digital journalism.