Minutes – October 11, 2019


Board members in attendance: Kim Bui, Eric Carvin, Charo Henríquez, Shazna Nessa, Versha Sharma, Ebony Reed, Niketa Patel, Rodney Gibbs, Rubina Madan Fillion, Imaeyen Ibanga, Justina Sharp (Student Representative), Benet Wilson, David Smydra.

Board members not present: Mandy Jenkins, Celeste LeCompte, Nathalie Malinarich 

Staff in attendance: Irving Washington, Executive Director; Jen Mizgata, Director of Programs; Adam Nekola, Senior Digital Manager; Karolle Rabarison, Communications Manager; Bill Brady, Strategic Partnerships Coordinator; Diana Lopez, Administrative Assistant; Meghan Murphy, Community Manager, Jessica Strelitz, Head of Strategic Partnerships; Adam Martin, Meetings Manager; Trevor Knoblich, Chief Knowledge Officer; Hollie Schultz, Program Manager, Awards and Grant-Making.


The meeting was called to order at 12:04 p.m. ET

Old Business:  The board unanimously approved the minutes for the August meeting. 

ONA19  Recap (Irving)

  • Thanks to all of the board members for coming to ONA19.
  • Feedback from the conference is coming in
  • 20th-anniversary efforts will continue throughout the year, we have four more episodes of our podcast involving the 20th anniversary. Please encourage people to use the anniversary hashtag #Happy20thONA. We are making this a year-round effort.
  • Board members should join our ONA Local Slack channel 
  • January Board meeting will take place on the 23rd and 24th of January. 

Partnerships (Jess)

  • Record revenue on the sponsor side. Very close to a million dollars.
  • A record number of lunches, breakfasts and other sponsored events. 
  • Good mix of new and returning sponsors.
  • We have had a number of debriefs with sponsors and Freeman over the past weeks. 
  • We are sending surveys to all of the sponsors who participated this year
  • The hotel layout represented some challenges, but we worked with it.
  • People are showing early interest in getting involved with ONA20 in Atlanta

Conference Programming (Trevor)

  • Most diverse speaker slate this year
  • Most participation from local newsrooms this year
  • Conference survey closed last night, we will be reviewing it over the next few weeks.
  • We had 6 focus groups on site led by Fergus and Tom
  • Versha Q: How do we set our goals regarding diversity of speakers?
  • Trevor: we focus on gender (65% female this year), race (40% this year), international presenters, media market in the region we are presenting and LGBTQ (12% this year) 

Updates from Irving 

  • WLA applications are open. Please promote that program.
  • Elections closed, we have a new board member joining us next year.  
  • We are working on finding out why voter turnout was lower this year

Board Appointments (Benet)

  • The board approves Fergus Bell and Maryanne Reed for the two board appointments slots. 


  • Benet reminds the board that we are looking for a new student representative.

The next Board call is on Friday, December 13, 2019, at 12:00 p.m. ET.

Meeting adjourned at 12:52 p.m. ET

These minutes are submitted by Administrative Assistant Diana Lopez and Board Secretary, Shazna Nessa.