Emerging Leaders Council

Nonprofit news is growing, and so is demand for people with the vision and skill to lead our field. INN is committed to building and empowering this next generation. We  formed the Emerging Leaders Council in 2017 to identify, connect, retain and build up the diverse leaders who will continue to innovate, grow and expand nonprofit news over the next 20 years. Nominations for the 2021 cohort are open, and the deadline to nominate is April 2.

This program uses 1-1 coaching and dynamic group conversations to advance leadership, management and business skills. Participants then apply their skills by designing and launching a project for their news organization. Past projects include new product development, building major donor strategies, identifying and implementing inclusive hiring best practices, building newsroom workflows and innovative source tracking.

This program is for full-time staff at INN member organizations who can advance the nonprofit news sector throughout the next decade. We encourage the nomination of individuals mid-level in their careers who have the potential to lead their own or another organization, or leaders of small organizations who want to develop their ability to run larger nonprofits.

In particular, we seek candidates who:

  • Show potential to lead a nonprofit news organization and innovate in the field
  • Want to learn management strategies and build business leadership skills
  • Reflect the diversity of the communities they serve
  • Will invest in the peer group as well as draw from it
  • Express commitment to ongoing work in nonprofit news

Throughout the four-month program, which will be entirely remote, participants will meet twice monthly via videoconferencing.

Applicants must be nominated by their Executive Director/CEO, or if they themselves are the director of a small organization, nominated by their board chair. The cohort will be selected from among the eligible nominations by a panel of INN and industry leaders.

If you have questions about the program, please email Sara Shahriari at sara.s@inn.org

Emerging Leaders Alumni

These leaders represent the excellence and diversity of nonprofit news organizations working to inform communities through factual journalism and build philanthropic support for news. Positions are those held at the time of their participation in the program.

Class of 2020, listed from top left to right:

  • Suzanne Behnke, Executive Director and Editor, The Iowa Center for Public Affairs Journalism
  • Jahna Berry, Chief Operating Officer, Mother Jones
  • Annie Chabel, Chief Operating Officer, Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting
  • Lauchlin Fields, Audience Development Director, Mississippi Today
  • Mukhtar Ibrahim, Editor and Executive Editor, Sahan Journal
  • Judy Lin, Assistant Editor, CalMatters
  • Loren Lynch, Chief Revenue Officer, The Texas Observer
  • Corrie MacLaggan, Managing Editor, Texas Tribune
  • Jim Malewitz, Investigations Editor, Wisconsin Watch
  • Irene Romulo, Co-Founder, Cicero Independiente
  • Brandon Quester, Executive Editor and Director, Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting

Class of 2019, listed from top left to right:

  • Thomas Brennan, Founder, The War Horse
  • Brian Calvert, Editor-in-Chief, High Country News
  • Candice Fortman, Chief of Engagement and Operations, Outlier Media
  • Lucas Grindley, Executive Director, Next City
  • Andrea Faye Hart, Co-Founder and Director of Community Engagement, City Bureau
  • Brian Hiatt, Marketing and Membership Director, Mother Jones
  • Kay Lima, Director, INN Labs
  • Byrhonda Lyons, Video Journalist, CALmatters
  • Asraa Mustufa, Digital Editor, The Chicago Reporter
  • Akoto Ofori-Atta, Managing Editor, The Trace
  • Tasneem Raja, Executive Editor, The Tyler Loop

Class of 2017, from top left to right:
  • Jim Small, Executive Director and Editor, Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting
  • Natalie Choate, Director of Media Relations and Partnerships, Texas Tribune
  • Lauren Fuhrmann, Associate Director, Wisconsin Watch
  • Sarah Garland, Executive Editor, The Hechinger Report
  • Dave Levinthal, Federal Politics Editor and Senior Reporter, Center for Public Integrity
  • Ben Nishimoto, Director of Philanthropy, Honolulu Civil Beat
  • Brad Racino, Senior Reporter, Assistant Director and Director of Partnerships & Innovation, inewsource
  • Amber Rivera, Engagement Editor, Inside Energy
  • Paula Saha, Director of Audience and Donor Development, NJ Spotlight
  • Halle Stockton, Managing Editor, PublicSource