At the 2014 Online News Association (ONA) conference, I had the honor of joining eight women — we dubbed ourselves Lady Leaders — on stage for a session with emerging leaders, and each other, about how to rise to the top. You can read my story on that here.
Well, the room was packed, and we definitely touched a nerve, because after we gave our three-minute lightning-style talk, the questions came fast and furious. We only had an hour, but I honestly believe that we could have sat there for the rest of the afternoon talking and answering questions.
After the event, we saw dozens of tweets about how great the panel was, and many of us had women approach us at the rest of the conference with praise, more questions and queries on what could be done to continue the conversation.
Enter the Poynter Institute. It has joined with ONA to create the ONA-Poynter Leadership Academy for Women in Digital Media. The event is “a groundbreaking, tuition-free seminar that will help women gain and polish the skills and knowledge needed to rise to the highest levels of media leadership.” The event will offer training specifically for women working in the digital space with leadership responsibilities or demonstrated leadership potential who are focused on advancing their careers toward higher leadership in journalism and technology.
I’m excited about the faculty already announced because these are women I greatly admire. Liz Heron, Facebook’s Manager of News Partnerships, one of the Lady Leaders, will be on the faculty. Others include S. Mitra Kalita, executive editor at large for Quartz and an adjunct faculty member at Poynter; and Kelly McBride, Poynter’s vice president of academic programs.
Attendees will participate in workshops that will explore effective management styles, understanding journalism business models, navigating newsroom and digital culture, staying on top of technology trends, building entrepreneurial and collaborative teams, managing across differences and coaching critical thinking. The classes will be structured to encourage open, candid discussion and networking, and participants will walk away with not only strong skills, but a built-in support system for the future.
Each participant in this inaugural class will be matched with an industry mentor. And the class will continue to gather virtually as a cohort group for at least a year following the April seminar. The inaugural class will have slots for 25 women at the event, scheduled for April 12-17 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Applications are due by February 20, and you can apply here.
The program has been funded with donations from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, with additional funding support from Google, craigconnects and the Ford Foundation.
I have been contacting the fantastic women I know — especially those who identify as diverse — in my network encouraging them to apply for this unique opportunity. So I encourage you to consider applying for this great event and pass this along to anyone you think can benefit from it. Good luck!
Benét J. Wilson is the co-editor-in-chief of AirwaysNews.com. She is also the Air Travel Expert for About.com and a long-time an aviation/travel journalist. She has written for publications and blogs including CrankyFlier.com, ACI-NA Centerlines, Aviation International News, Airport World, the Airline Passenger Experience magazine and the Runway Girl Network. She currently serves on the board of the Online News Association and is Vice Chair of Education for the National Association of Black Journalists’ Digital Journalism Task Force.