Comings and goings: New director joins PBS board, network appoints VP …

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PBS announced the results of recent elections for its board of directors.


Greg Petrowich, CEO of WFYI in Indianapolis, was elected to his first three-year term on the board. 

Larry Irving, CEO of the Irving Group consultancy, was reelected board chair. Professional Vice Chair Molly Phillips, executive director and GM for Iowa PBS, served her maximum time on the board and is leaving. Courtney Pledger, CEO of Arkansas PBS, was elected professional vice chair.

Catherine Robb was reelected general vice chair. She is in the business litigation practice group in the Austin office for Haynes and Boone LLP.

Members reelected to the board were: 

  • Mark Contreras, CEO of Connecticut Public
  • Michael Isip, CEO of KQED in San Francisco
  • Sandra Cordova Micek, CEO of WTTW in Chicago
  • Mildred García, chancellor-designate of the California State University system
  • Marvin Irby, CFO and chief people officer for the National Restaurant Association
  • Gunjan Kedia, vice chair of wealth management and investment services for U.S. Bancorp

James Robertson joined PBS as VP of information technology.


Robertson most recently worked as principal program manager for Meta, the parent company of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp. He was deputy CIO for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority and also led technology teams for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the U.S. Air Force.

Robertson will report to CTO Rhonda Holt.

“James is a proven leader who will help us fulfill the PBS mission by keeping our systems running smoothly. He understands how to deliver consistent results while embracing changes that will benefit our employees and the communities we serve,” said Holt in a news release. “We are excited to bring his wealth of experience, strong leadership, and extensive operational expertise to PBS.”

Vanessa Wise was promoted from VP of development to VP of advancement and chief strategy officer for the WNET Group in New York.


Wise joined WNET in 2018. She previously worked as VP of development for the New York City Center and also led development for the Juilliard School.

“Vanessa brings a unique set of talents to this new role,” said WNET Group CEO Neal Shapiro in a news release. “Not only has her fundraising and development experience been essential to us for the past five years, but her understanding of how emerging platforms and partnerships can lead to new audiences and support, will help to bring The WNET Group into the future.”

Cecilia R. Mejia joined American Documentary as VP of external affairs.


Mejia most recently worked as impact director for the Asian American Documentary Network. She was also creative director and co-founder of Art of Me and director of development and communications for Scenarios USA. She has producing credits for the POV documentary Call Her Ganda.

“I’m a firm believer in the power of film as a tool to challenge the current narratives and to create change. I’ve built my career around it,” Mejia said in a news release. “I’m really excited to be joining the talented and passionate team at AmDoc, especially under the leadership of Erika Dilday. This is a pivotal time for nonfiction films and filmmakers to shine, I feel honored to be a part of that. And to be part of the family.”



Maria Smith was hired as development director for Mountain Lake PBS in Plattsburgh, N.Y. She most recently worked as sales manager for the Hampton Inn & Suites in Plattsburgh. Smith succeeds Beth Davis, who is retiring. Davis joined the station in 2014 as director of underwriting and event sales and had led development since 2016.



Matthew Donahue was named PD for WNRN in Charlottesville, Va. Donahue takes over the position from Mark Keefe, who is relinquishing the job while maintaining his role as GM. Donahue most recently worked as VP of regional programming for Audacy. He also held positions at several commercial stations.


Anna Staver joined WOSU Public Media in Columbus, Ohio, as host of All Sides, a daily public affairs program. She succeeds Ann Fisher, who retired earlier this year. Staver most recently worked as a statehouse reporter for the Columbus Dispatch. She has also been a politics reporter for the Denver Post and a producer for NBC affiliate KUSA in Denver. “I have a passion for helping people make sense of their government,” Staver said in a news release. “My favorite stories to pursue are the ones that others might label too complicated or opaque or too in the weeds for people to care.”


Peter Solomon joined KBEM in Minneapolis as host of the Jazz88 Morning Show. Solomon most recently worked as a jazz radio host and music director at Delmarva Public Media’s WESM in Princess Anne, Md. Before that he worked for VPM in Richmond, Va., as an assistant manager and jazz host. “We’re excited to have a seasoned jazz broadcaster and audio storyteller like Peter joining the team,” said Jazz88 PD Travis Ryder in a news release. “Peter brings a friendly, passionate intellect to our morning show.”

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