Forum - Women’s Leadership Accelerator, 5-10 February 2017, USA

Publish Date: Oct 31, 2016

Deadline: Nov 15, 2016

Event Dates: from Feb 05, 2017 12:00 to Feb 10, 2017 12:00

Women’s Leadership Accelerator is a weeklong forum aimed squarely at developing strong leadership skills for women working in digital journalism

The Accelerator, to be held Feb. 5-10, 2017, at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, is open to 25 promising women leaders who are pushing innovation in their organization.

In addition to learning leadership skills and tools for navigating change, participants will focus on a challenge specific to their careers, whether an obstacle to overcome or an aspirational goal to achieve, either within their organizations or as an independent project.

The Accelerator, supported by a generous grant from the Dow Jones Foundation, is open to practitioners working in digital media, including freelancers, entrepreneurs and independent journalists. ONA will screen candidates for potential, need and diversity across ethnicity, age, geography, technology platforms and skill sets.

The tuition-free program offers:

  • A focus on developing leadership and management skills, with special attention to challenges faced by women in media
  • Discussions, deep dives and one-on-one mentoring from some of the top women leaders in digital journalism
  • Proven creative approaches to pushing innovation in newsrooms
  • Practical, targeted guidance to working through individual challenges
  • Open, candid discussions about leadership, work-life balance and problem-solving in the newsroom
  • The opportunity to build a cohort of peers to serve as a strong career-long support system

Speakers and Mentors

Kara Swisher
Executive Editor at Recode

Jennifer Brandel
CEO and Co-founder, Hearken

Charo Henriquez-Scaia
former Digital Executive Editor of People en Español

Liz Heron
former Executive Editor at Huffington Post

Important Dates

Applications open: Oct. 18
Applications close: Nov. 15
Participants notified: mid-December
Women’s Leadership Accelerator: Feb. 5-10, 2017

Women’s Leadership Accelerator 2017 is aimed at

The Accelerator is designed for practitioners working in digital media, including freelancers, entrepreneurs and independent journalists, who are pushing innovation in digital media. 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 in innovative ways. Applicants should have leadership experience, which can mean managing people or projects, and be committed to further developing their skills.

Selection Process

ONA staff works with a review committee comprised of a mix of industry leaders and past program participants to select candidates. As in past years, we strive for a diverse cohort, and we will factor in potential, need and diversity across ethnicity, age, geography, technology platforms and skill sets. We’re looking for women from a range of disciplines, including startups, digital-only, legacy media and blended newsrooms, broadcast and technology companies. (Reviewers must disclose any conflict of interest during the selection process and, in that case, recuse themselves from reviewing any applications)

Costs of Travel

ONA understands that, even for a tuition-free program, the costs of travel, lodging and missed work also are factors. ONA is happy to be able to offer a limited number of travel stipends and will work with attendees who have demonstrated need to make sure they can participate at as low a cost as possible.

Importance of the Recommendation Letter

The recommendation letter is a very important complement to the information you provide. It gives reviewers insights into how you’ve worked with people and projects as you lead change. You should ask an employer, professional colleague or business partner who knows you and your work well to outline your demonstrated leadership ability.

Estimated costs to participants

Thanks to the generous support of lead funder, the Dow Jones Foundation, and support from Google, the Women’s Leadership Accelerator training is tuition-free. We also provide breakfast, lunch and some dinners throughout the week. Participants will cover their own travel and accommodation costs. ONA has secured a hotel within walking distance of USC Annenberg that with a special room rate of $175 a night, so an estimated budget for accommodations is $1,000 ($875 for five nights, plus taxes and any hotel fees). Travel costs will vary depending on your location. It’s completely appropriate to ask your employer to cover those costs, if possible — employers for the majority of the first two classes did just that since they know the program is a great investment. We realize that not everyone has a newsroom to fund them or an organization with a budget for professional development, so we’re happy to be able by offering a limited number of travel stipends to participants who need them.

Does the challenge have to be a work problem?

The challenge doesn’t have to be a problem at all — we are also open to helping you with your aspirational goals. One of the most unique aspects of the Accelerator is that it provides practical advice and gives participants tools to better understand themselves and how they work with others. In the same spirit, feel free to pick a challenge specific to your work or personal development.

Some examples of previous challenges addressed by the cohort include:

  • Creating workflows to collaborate across desks on special news projects
  • Building a new digital team inside a legacy media organization
  • Getting buy-in on projects designed for emerging social platforms
  • Setting benchmarks for success for a new media startup
  • Changing organizational culture to include more diverse voices in leadership
  • Practical solutions to dealing with colleagues who are actively blocking projects

Information for attendees

The most valuable takeaways: A lifelong connection to a group of amazing women, an expanded network, tools to troubleshoot your biggest challenges at work and opportunities to push yourself farther in your career than ever before. Sound like a lot? It is.

Repeatedly, we’ve heard feedback from past participants that speak to the transformational change that has happened throughout the workshop, from increasing their confidence in themselves, to learning how to navigate management and pitch ideas more successfully, to taking control of their own narrative and using that as a guide for the future. Don’t just take our word for it — previous participants have called the program “an extraordinary, transformative experience,” “empowering and life altering” and said that they are “so thankful to have this community of amazing and inspiring women.”

For more official information click "Further official information" below.

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Opportunity Types

Financial aid

Eligible Countries


Host Countries

United States