Public Media Women in Leadership Launches First System-Wide Mentorship & Engagement Initiative

Three-year Program Will Serve Both Emerging & Established Women Leaders

(April 30, 2018) In the summer of 2018, Public Media Women in Leadership (PMWL) will launch the PMWL Mentorship & Engagement Initiative, a three-year program to provide one-on-one mentorship partnerships for women in public media and develop facilitated peer-group communities around job verticals (development, investigative journalists, digital staff, etc.) and leadership topics (confidence building, managing change, etc.). Funding for the initiative is being provided by the Wyncote Foundation whose mission is "To support efforts that strengthen and enrich culture, community and the natural environment." The Foundation has been active in supporting public media projects for many years ranging from system innovation to journalism and independent film.

The Mentorship and Engagement Initiative has four components to provide mentoring, training and community for women in public media to both retain rising stars and prepare established leaders to attain the highest positions at stations and national organizations. The components are mentoring for women within five years of attaining a C-level position, mentoring for women in the first five years of their career, peer group facilitation and trainings via webinars and regional meetings and sessions at national conferences.

Participation in the mentorship program will include monthly calls/meetings with a mentor, training via webinars and peer group facilitation, and community discussions via the Facebook page. There will also be opportunities for mentor /mentee meetups at the national conferences. The mentor partners will be required to work together for a minimum of six months. Curriculum and recommended topics of discussion will be provided, but the mentor /mentee partners also will have the freedom to dictate their own topics for discussion if preferred.

The elements of the mentorship and engagement program were developed based on survey input from the members of PMWL, from results garnered from the group's pilot mentor program in 2015-2016 as well as learnings from the many webinars and conference sessions the organization has hosted.

"I am thrilled that the Wyncote Foundation is investing in mentoring and training to build future women leaders for our industry," says Deanna Mackey, founder of Public Media Women in Leadership. "While women make up 51% of the population, they only fill about 25% of the GM/CEO positions at public media stations. As our country continues to diversify and increase its need for emotionally intelligent leaders, it's critical that our industry represents this in its leadership ranks. Our PMWL group currently has 1,700 members and the most common theme I hear from them is the need for career path training and mentorship. I could not be happier that PMWL and Wyncote Foundation will make this a reality for many women in our industry over the next three years."

Beginning this month, the project will begin recruiting for a PMWL Mentoring & Engagement Coordinator position that will be responsible for managing the mentor program and peer group communities. As that position is being recruited, the PMWL will begin a call for mentors from throughout the public media system. Both men and women mentors are encouraged to apply and both mid-level managers and current and retired CEOs/COOs will be needed to serve as mentors for the two tiers of the project. The organization will also be looking for volunteers who want to lead the peer groups. Information about the mentor and peer group process will be available here on the PMWL website and the PMWL Facebook page (https: // / l 55843500773 l 899/) by late spring. Those who aren't yet members of the PMWL group can also request membership at the Face book group page. It is open to women working in public media.

"Deanna and her colleagues have hit on a critical need in the system , and a creative way to assure rising leaders have access to seasoned guidance while bringing their own energy and perspectives to the system, " says David Haas, Vice Chair of Wyncote Foundation. "We believe this mentorship program will help supercharge an evolution in public broadcasting to an agile, forward-thinking system that reflects its audience."


The Public Media Women in Leadership organization was founded in January 2015 by Deanna Mackey and Jeannie Ericson to provide a forum for women leaders and aspiring leaders to support and learn from each other, provide training and mentorship opportunities , build community and advocate for women leadership within public media. The PMWL currently has 1,700 active members in its Facebook Group and provides bi-monthly training webinars on both public media and leadership topics and leads sessions and socials at many of the public media national conferences. While Ericson has left public media, Mackey currently serves as president of the Public Television Major Market Group. Mackey is supported by a committee of current and retired women leaders in public media, many who joined as the organization was founded. The grant to fund the Mentoring & Engagement Initiative is being provided to the PTMMG on behalf of the Public Media Women in Leadership organization.

The Wyncote Foundation's mission is to support efforts that strengthen and enrich culture, community and the natural environment. The Foundation, based in Philadelphia, was founded in 2009 with funds from the Otto and Phoebe Haas Charitable Trusts, at the direction of John C. Haas. It is named after the town Wyncote, located in Pennsylvania, where John C. Haas and his wife, Chara, owned their first home and raised their family.