Requirements for the 2022 Women’s Leadership Accelerator

The application period is closed. Applications for the 2023 cohort will open in September/October 2022.

The application has five parts. Applications and all submitted materials must be in English. Any links you provide as part of the application must be public, with no password required.

Based on feedback from past applicants, we highly encourage you to start by seeking your letter of recommendation. The coordination required to get a letter often takes time and relies on others to adapt to your schedule. Waiting to start this step has caused many applicants to miss the deadline.

Section 1: Your bio

Provide name, bio, relevant online presences, photo, job title and upload your resume. These questions help us to learn more about who you are and, if you are selected, your bio will be posted publicly as part of your bio when the 2022 cohort is announced.

Section 2: Your personal details

Provide details about where you live, how you identify yourself, your phone and email. The answers to these questions are confidential and help ONA staff and the selection committee better understand who applies to our programs, ensure a diverse cohort and that, if selected, you have a comfortable stay with us.

Section 3: Your challenge

The Women’s Leadership Accelerator is aimed at leaders who are pushing innovation in digital media. In addition to learning leadership skills and tools for navigating change, you will get practical feedback on a challenge specific to your career — a realistic obstacle you’d like to overcome, or an aspirational goal you’d like to achieve, either within your organization or as an independent project. In the application, we ask three questions about your challenge:

  • Describe the problem or challenge you are facing. (500 words or fewer)
  • Why is it important to solve this challenge? (250 words or fewer)
  • What do you hope to personally gain from participating in the Women’s Leadership Accelerator? (250 words or fewer)

Details about your challenge are confidential and accessible only to ONA staff and select reviewers to understand what you want to get out of the program.

Section 4: A digital project

The selection committee is looking for practitioners working in digital media, including freelancers, entrepreneurs and independent journalists. This means we’re looking for women who not only have an understanding of the digital journalism landscape but who are helping to advance it. Sharing a digital project you have worked on gives ONA staff and the review committee a unique window into how you think. Please provide a link to a project you’re proud of and a brief description of how you were involved. (This project does not need to be directly connected to the challenge you’ve outlined above.)

Length: 250 words or fewer.

Section 5: Testimonial / letter of recommendation

One letter of recommendation from an employer, professional colleague or business partner outlining your demonstrated leadership ability. Please note we’ve heard this can be one of the more time-consuming aspects of the application, so you’ll want to get an early start on this.

Length: One typed page.


Please also visit the program overview and FAQ pages. For additional questions, contact Learning Director Kelsey Proud at

The Women’s Leadership Accelerator is supported by lead funder Dow Jones Foundation, with additional support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Inasmuch Foundation, Alley,, Shindig.

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Applications for the 2022 Cohort are now closed.