Digital Program Offers Skills Development, Leadership-Building Tools, Networking and Career Advancement Guidance

NEW YORK, NY, June 16, 2020 /Neptune100/ — Take The Lead today announced that its 2020 virtual cohort for 50 Women Can Change the World in Journalism ( will launch on June 16th. Following on the extremely successful 2019 inaugural program, this year’s cohort will include journalists from many leading media outlets including CBS, ABC News, Nightline, CNN, CNBC, The Washington Post, Advance Local, Crain Communications and several NPR affiliates.

“At this tumultuous time, it’s more important than ever to bring together women journalists,” says Gloria Feldt, co-founder and president of Take The Lead and the creator of 50 Women Can Change the World. “The media play a vital and an essential role, especially during these times of social justice issues, the Covid-19 pandemic and a drastic economic downturn. In light of industry layoffs, increasing turmoil in newsrooms and the shuttering of press outlets, we must enable women journalists with the practical tools they need to become changemakers, increase their positions within leadership and further influence the conversation. We are especially grateful to the Democracy Fund and the Ford Foundation for their support of this program, which is essential to the future of our democracy.”

Joanne Griffith, the managing editor of California Newsroom and a 2020 cohort member, concurs. “The news business is in a moment of close examination, and for journalism leaders, it’s time to look at ourselves and figure out how – collectively and individually – we make real change. Take The Lead is the right opportunity at the right time to take a step back and examine my own place in all of this and be a part of the solutions going forward.”

Take The Lead also has increased the number of women taking part in the virtual program this year, with 55 women being named to the cohort, to help more women leaders during this time of immense change and upheaval in journalism.

Diversity Embedded in the Selection Process
Take The Lead engaged in a deliberate process when selecting the cohort. Applications were carefully reviewed and then evaluated by a 16-member advisory team that provided recommendations. “Our top priority is diversity in the cohort so that these women can work openly and honestly on the major challenges facing our industry,” says Take The Lead Lead Instructor and Leadership Ambassador Fara Warner. “More than 50 percent of the cohort are women of color and we have made certain that local news organizations are represented, not just the traditional media power centers on the coasts. We also focused on a broad range of media types and leadership levels.”

An Information-Rich and Interactive Program
The two-and-a-half-month program will comprise of four virtual meetings from June 16th through July 14th and will feature lessons on strategic leadership action plans, negotiation skills and guest speakers. Smaller groups will gather in breakout rooms to discuss what they’ve learned and begin to create relationships. Each woman will be paired with a partner for the length of the training.

“We switched to a digital program due to the coronavirus and we wanted to assure that the 2020 class can network and grow relationships with other cohort members, even in the digital space,” says Warner. “With the changes that we’ve made, they’ll be able to do so.”

On June 16th, the women will meet and receive details on the leadership work on which they are embarking. Members will receive a program outline and will be introduced to Feldt; Warner; co-trainer Patricia Jerido, MSW, executive coach and lead strategist, Leadership Matters Consulting; and journalism advisor and 2019 cohort member Carla Murphy, a social justice journalist and editorial consultant for organizations including News Integrity Initiative and Center for Community.

The cohort will also answer initial questions from the Know Your History leadership tool, which will give them a jumpstart on getting to know each other and help them understand Power Tool #1 – the first of Feldt’s nine Leadership Power Tools: “Know your history and you can create the future of your choice.” By early August, a two-week immersive training schedule will encompass daily cohort meetings with the trainers to learn Take The Lead’s leadership tools and concepts.

“I’m beyond thrilled to join this cohort and connect with a group of women who share my passion for the journalism industry,” says Elana Zak, senior programing editor, CNN Business. “Our field is facing immense change and I’m ready to learn from and inspire others on ways we can help journalism become a stronger, more inclusive space.”

2019 Program Scored High Marks
A recent study showed overwhelmingly positive results for Take The Lead’s inaugural 50 Women Can Change the World in Journalism program. According to the report, conducted by Dot Connector Studio, all the members of the 2019 class recommended the program. For many, taking the course led to tangible career advancement, including raises, promotions, job changes, leadership responsibilities and other career advancement markers. Members also reported valuable collaboration among participants, with collective impact stretching beyond the program. Many participants credited the connections they made as one of the training’s most powerful aspects.

“The 50 Women Can program is a rare chance to meet other leaders in the industry who are going through similar transitions, challenges and work toward building a community,” says Leezel Tanglao, senior editor of membership and innovation, HuffPost, who participated in the 2019 program. “You can’t underestimate the power of having a powerful cohort of women who are always ready to learn and help each other. It’s just a confirmation that there is strength in numbers.”

About Take The Lead and Gloria Feldt
Co-founded by Gloria Feldt, Take The Lead is a 501 (c) (3) that prepares, develops, inspires and propels women to take their fair and equal share of leadership positions across all sectors by 2025. Feldt has been featured in many leading media outlets, including Bloomberg TV, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Ms. Magazine, Yahoo! Finance, Thrive Global and Forbes. Feldt is an in-demand speaker, with engagements at The Women in Cable Telecommunications Global Leadership Conference, The World Women Summit, 92Y Women inPower, and the Annual CUNY Leadership Conference, among others.

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About Take The Lead’s 50 Women Can Change the World
The 50 Women Can Change the World program provides women with the intention and skills to achieve greater leadership roles and embrace their power to lead change in the culture of their professions. Other cohorts have included nonprofit leaders, media and entertainment, and healthcare, with plans for repeats of those in the near future, plus law, finance and tech. For information about sponsoring a program in your sector, please contact [email protected]. To learn more, visit: To learn more about Take The Lead overall, visit