A Message from Outgoing AAJA President Yvonne Leow


Pictured from left to right: incoming Senior Vice President Ramy Inocencio, outgoing National President Yvonne Leow, incoming National President Michelle Lee, Vice President of Communications Nicole Dungca, Vice President of Civic Engagement Pia Sarkar, and incoming Vice President of Finance Ted Han

Dear AAJA Family,

2018 was a significant year for our community. We received generous grants from the New Media Venture Fund, the Democracy Fund and the Ford Foundation. Crazy Rich Asians swept the world, including a preview screening at our national convention in Houston. We organized our second year of Catalyst, a media entrepreneurship program for founders of color and a series of media access workshops for nonprofit leaders in Detroit, Atlanta, Portland and Sacramento. We also launched a search for a new Executive Director, which created an opportunity for us to reimagine AAJA’s future. This year, however, also marked the dissolution of UNITY, featured another polarizing election for America, and resulted in layoffs for many of us working in local and digital media.

Despite the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for our industry, being a member of the AAJA family has always inspired hope. I remain confident that together we can achieve anything. I’m grateful to have served and learned from our former Executive Director Kathy Chow, national staff members Justin Seiter, Daniel Garcia, Patricia Villon, and Glenn Sugihara, our executive officers, incoming National President Michelle Lee, incoming Senior Vice President Ramy Inocencio, Vice President of Communications Nicole Dungca, incoming Vice President of Finance Ted Han, Vice President of Civic Engagement Pia Sarkar, and incoming Vice President of Journalism Programs Frank Bi, and our governing board, along with the countless AAJA members I’ve met along the way.

My journey as your president is coming to an end, but AAJA’s growth and impact continues. As we charted out our future during our fall board meeting, we identified two critical goals for 2020:

  • Grow our membership from 1,600 to 2,020 members
  • Elevate our most seasoned AAJA members

We hope you’ll help us take on these initiatives. If you haven’t already, please renew your AAJA membership or invite a colleague to join the family. It has been an incredible honor serving this organization, and I wish all of you a happy holiday. The best is yet to come.

Yvonne Leow
AAJA National President

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