The Women’s Leadership Accelerator is a yearlong intensive program that supercharges the leadership and management skills of women who are pushing digital innovation. Each year we welcome a cohort of women representing a range of backgrounds, expertise and newsrooms around the globe.

More details about our 2021 program will be soon. Requirements will be similar to previous years.

Announcing the 2020 Cohort!

26 participants were chosen by the Women's Leadership Accelerator review committee for a transformative program of coaching, support and development. The application deadline was Oct. 31.

Meet the Cohort

About the Program

The Women’s Leadership Accelerator kicks off at the University of California Los Angeles with an intensive week of mentoring, discussion and learning from some of the top minds in digital media.  Participants work closely with mentors on challenges unique to their careers and also receive support and coaching from ONA throughout the year.

The Women’s Leadership Accelerator provides:

  • A week of hands-on personal and professional work; candid discussions about leadership, work-life balance and problem-solving in the newsroom; deep dives on developing leadership and management skills; inspiring visits to digital media organizations; and one-on-one mentoring from industry leaders.
  • A year of check-ins and practical, targeted guidance and personal coaching on individual challenges.
  • Registration, travel and accommodations for the 2020 Online News Association Conference (ONA20) in Atlanta.
  • A half-day workshop for women in the program during ONA20.
  • The opportunity to be a part of a cohort of peers to serve as a strong career-long support system.

The program culminates in a workshop at ONA’s annual conference.

  • Oct. 2, 2019: Applications open
  • Oct. 31, 2019: Applications close at 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time
  • January 2020: Cohort announced
  • March 1-6, 2020: Accelerator at the University of California Los Angeles
  • Oct. 3, 2020: Final workshop at ONA20 annual conference in Atlanta

Opportunities for the community

Outside the cohort, ONA shares the lessons from the Women’s Leadership Accelerator through other programming and events, including collaboration with ONA LocalONA’s annual conference and training in partnership with other organizations.

In addition, you can connect with alumnae of the Women’s Leadership Accelerator through free one-on-one coaching on Over 60 women, including ONA Director of Programs Jennifer Mizgata, offer free coaching sessions to support other women in digital journalism with leadership and management tips, career advice and feedback on their work.

Subscribe to the ONA Weekly newsletter to receive announcements about other opportunities.

Summer Series Events

Launching and Leading the 19th* — Women’s Leadership Accelerator Summer Series

Building the newsroom we want to see in the world: The 19th* Co-Founder and Publisher Amanda Zamora and Editor-at-Large Errin Haines share what it has been like to launch a … Read more.

Women in Product — Women’s Leadership Accelerator Summer Series

Join us for a conversation about leading newsroom-product work and the value in developing a career bridging those two areas. You’ll hear from a diverse group of senior-level women representing local … Read more.

Career Advice from the Women’s Leadership Accelerator Summer Series

In this session, you’ll hear from women who lead in a range of journalism roles, including managing newsrooms, leading video strategy, creating and curating podcasts, delivering impactful community-focused reporting, launching … Read more.

Women in Entrepreneurship — Women’s Leadership Accelerator Summer Series

Get inspired by women in journalism who are leading the charge. From launching new businesses to bringing an entrepreneurial mindset to their organizations, these women are energizing the journalism industry, … Read more.

News and Updates

Introducing the Women’s Leadership Accelerator: Summer Series

We’re excited to introduce our first Women’s Leadership Accelerator: Summer Series, conversations that dive into the topics we most often hear women want support around. The series will start on ... Read more.

15 speakers announced for 2020 Women’s Leadership Accelerator

The Online News Association is proud to introduce 15 digital journalism luminaries confirmed to serve as speakers and mentors for the 2020 Women’s Leadership Accelerator, a yearlong intensive program aimed … Read more.

ONA announces cohort for the 2020 Women’s Leadership Accelerator

The Online News Association has selected 26 women who are pushing innovation in digital journalism for the 2020 Women’s Leadership Accelerator. The Accelerator is a yearlong program aimed at advancing … Read more.

Why apply for the Women’s Leadership Accelerator?

We designed the Women’s Leadership Accelerator to help advance women in digital journalism. The intensive program provides a lifelong connection to a cohort of amazing women.


Motherhood: Living It in Newsrooms, Covering It in the World

Motherhood is too often dismissed as a fluffy topic for lifestyle pages, rather than one in dire need of serious reporting on its intersections with healthcare, economics, public policy, gender … Learn about this subject.

Career Advice From the Women’s Leadership Accelerator

We’ve heard from women all over the world who are looking for more support and guidance as they move through their careers. Through ONA’s Women’s Leadership Accelerator, we’ve connected women … Learn about this subject.

A Seat at the Table

Women and communities of color are underserved and underrepresented in digital news, as with every other major institution and field of work. What they need and demand is nothing more … Learn about this subject.

Wonder Women, Unite! Navigating the Digital Workplace

Get tips on managing up, down or just managing yourself, from fellow women digital news leaders. This session will explore tips for women in the newsroom with a candid discussion … Learn about this subject.

Past Programs

The Women's Leadership program began in 2015 and has evolved to be a year-long cohort experience. Learn about the past programs, including previous cohorts, speakers, sponsors and programming.

Past Speakers

The ONA Women's Leadership Accelerator has featured an excellent array of industry leaders and inspirational voices to shepherd our cohorts through their time in the program.

Ladyswagger, Inc.
Vice President, Programming
Executive Editor

Program Design and Facilitators

Founder and Principal
Tiny Collaborative
Director of Programs
Online News Association

Program Supporters

The 2020 Women’s Leadership Accelerator is supported by lead funder Dow Jones Foundation, and additional support from Microsoft, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation; Inasmuch Foundation; Disney Parks, Experiences and Products; the John S. Knight (JSK) Journalism Fellowships; and Flower Child.
Dow Jones Foundation

To learn more about supporting the program, contact Jessica Strelitz, Chief Strategic Partnerships Officer, at

Learn More

Contact Director of Programs Jennifer Mizgata at to learn more about opportunities to connect with the Accelerator.

Read the FAQ