Grant supports mentorship program to boost women in pubcasting ranks

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Public Media Women in Leadership has received funding for a three-year mentorship and engagement program.

Beginning this summer, the organization will offer one-on-one coaching as well as development opportunities around specific careers and leadership topics through peer groups, webinars, regional meetings and national conferences. Survey results from participants in the group’s pilot mentorship program helped shape the new initiative.

Deanna Mackey, who co-founded Public Media Women in Leadership in 2015, said that women account for 51 percent of the U.S. population but fill only 25 percent of the GM and CEO positions at public media stations. Mackey is president of the Public Television Major Market Group, an organization of 40 PBS member stations in the largest U.S. television markets.

“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,” Mackey said in an announcement Monday.

Mackey added that career path training and mentorship are the most common requests she receives from the group’s 1,700 members.

The Wyncote Foundation, based in Philadelphia, provided the $150,000 grant for the PMWL Mentorship & Engagement Initiative. The foundation backs public media projects including system innovation, journalism and independent film. (Current also receives Wyncote funding.)

“We believe this mentorship program will help supercharge an evolution in public broadcasting to an agile, forward-thinking system that reflects its audience,” said David Haas, Wyncote vice chair.

Public Media Women in Leadership will hire a coordinator to manage the mentor program and peer group communities. The coordinator will identify mentors throughout the system, both men and women, who are mid-level managers or retired CEOs and COOs. For more information, visit the group’s website or Facebook page.

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