How to Support the Women’s Leadership Accelerator Series  

In January 2020, the Online News Association welcomed 26 women to its fourth Women’s Leadership Accelerator program – an incredibly diverse group from six countries and a range of locations around the U.S. and more than 40 percent people of color. These women are working in a variety of reporting, visual, audio and broadcast roles;  including editors (EICs, managing and more), publishers, entrepreneurs, executive directors, audience engagement and product executives, and more. Learn all about the 2020 cohort here.

Overview Demographics + Details:

  • More than 1,800 applicants in the five years total that ONA has run this program
  • 26 women in the 2020 cohort, 30+ speakers and mentors in LA, virtual training, summer convening and ONA20.
  • 40% of the cohort identify as people of color
  • Geographically diverse group, with 6 international participants and representation throughout the US.
  • Variety of roles, newsrooms, beats, and organization sizes represented, plus several freelancers and nonprofit/small local newsrooms

We have received overwhelmingly positive feedback from the cohort, who call the workshop “transformational” and continue to actively turn to each other for support as they work on their challenges throughout the year. We have built a robust talent pipeline of more than 100+ professionals that have gone through this year-round program since 2017, and as well as 50 more as part of the 2015 and 2016 cohorts, which ONA co-managed with Poynter.

Co-led by ONA’s Director of Programs Jen Mizgata and consultant Tran Ha, the 2020 program featured dozens of inspiring speakers and mentors throughout the cohort year, both as part of our in-person (pre-COVID) programming in Los Angeles, regular digital cohort-only check-ins and practical, targeted guidance and personal coaching on individual challenges,  our new summer speaker series (open to all) and as part of ONA’s annual event, ONA20 Everywhere which also went virtual in 2020 and had 1,800 registrants.

As an industry leader in providing programming to train, coach and support diverse leaders in media, ONA has modeled successful training programs that use a cohort-based training model not only to provide professional development but to create and nurture a supportive community that gives training participants the lifelong peer support they need for success.  ONA annually receives 300-400+ applicants for the year-long program, as well as 1,000+ other registrants for our non-cohort Women’s Leadership Accelerator specific programming.

Each of the cohorts we have selected and trained has reported extensive promotions and raises, more positive outcomes in working with supervisors and colleagues, successful launches of new projects and collaborations and new funding support for those efforts, and extensive positive feedback on the impact of the WLA in supporting their efforts, helping negotiation and decision making with workplace challenges  and much more.

By supporting this program and its related speaking series and events, you’ll join a stellar, global group of funders — including our continuing lead sponsor Dow Jones Foundation and supporting funder the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, as well as educational programs, nonprofits, technology firms, media companies, journalism fellowships and other brands supporters that help us keep this program 100% tuition-free for women in digital media around the world.

Funding levels are customized to your needs, interests and level of impact, and can range from general program support ($50,000-$500,000), event or series sponsorships ($10,000-$50,000)  supporting packages ($2,500-$10,000), as well as in-kind/product donations. All levels include WLA promotions, website logo/thanks, as well as an exclusive connection to our growing cohort community.

To discuss opportunities or share your ideas to support the event, contact Chief Strategic Partnerships Officer Jessica Strelitz at or at (571) 212-1363.

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