AAJA kicks off search for next executive director


The Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) is searching for our next executive director to lead the organization. In April, AAJA Executive Director Kathy Chow announced she will be resigning from the position after eight years of leadership. Read a message from Kathy and the AAJA governing board.

AAJA was founded in 1981 by a small group of AAPI journalists who felt a need to support one another and to encourage more Asian American and Pacific Islanders to pursue journalism at a time when there were few AAPI faces in the media. AAJA owes its founding to the vision of this small group of Los Angeles journalists, Tritia Toyota and Frank Kwan of KNBC-TV News; Bill Sing, Nancy Yoshihara and David Kishiyama of The Los Angeles Times; and Dwight Chuman of Rafu Shimpo, a local Japanese American newspaper. AAJA’s expansion into a truly national organization took off in 1985 with the formation of additional chapters. Today, AAJA is 501(c)3 nonprofit educational and professional organization with more than 1,500 members across the United States and Asia. Since its founding, AAJA has been at the forefront of change in the journalism industry.

Executive Director

The Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) is a professional member association nonprofit committed to ensuring fair and accurate news coverage of communities of color— particularly Asian American and Pacific Islander— and promoting diversity in newsrooms. We’re looking for a strategic, entrepreneurial and visionary leader to be our next Executive Director.

The ED is responsible for AAJA’s growth strategy and day-to-day operations. This includes growing AAJA’s revenue, developing new programming and managing a team of staffers and consultants. This position requires at least five years of executive management experience, financial acumen, grant development experience and a passion for working to advance journalism and diversity, equity and inclusion. The ED reports to AAJA’s governing board.

AAJA’s national office is based in San Francisco, but we encourage candidates outside of the Bay Area to apply. Experience working with journalists or the news industry and understanding of journalism’s core values and ethics are preferred, but not a requirement. This is a full-time position.

Responsibilities include:

Strategic Planning

  • Develop and execute short- and long-term strategies to grow AAJA’s operating budget and its membership.
  • Work with staff to support and launch innovative training, journalism and civic engagement programs. AAJA is a digital-minded, forward-thinking global organization, and this job requires strong experience working with data and the ability to identify and integrate new technologies to enhance the organization’s operations.
  • Deepen and strengthen relationships with the Asian American/Pacific Islander community and other journalism/media organizations. The ideal candidate will have proven success in collaborating with diverse stakeholders.


Business Development

  • Identify new sponsors and grow ongoing partnerships. The ED will work with the national staff to diversify AAJA’s revenue sources.
  • Cultivate new relationships with foundations, corporations and high net-worth individuals to secure grants and donations. The ED is often the first point of contact for funders and partners, and must be an adept negotiator and spokesperson for AAJA.
  • Due to AAJA’s global network of funders and partners, the ED is expected to travel at least once a quarter.



  • Work closely and collaboratively with AAJA’s 11-person governing board, advisory board, program directors and chapter leaders to fulfill our mission and programming. The ED will work with multiple stakeholders, conflict resolution and change management.
  • Oversee AAJA’s annual national convention and regional events, demonstrating excellent organizational skills and the ability to meet daily, weekly and monthly deadlines.
  • Communicate AAJA’s programs, initiatives and policies to members, funders and the broader public. Familiarity with e-mail newsletter, social media, video and/or event marketing is key.
  • Manage, coach and grow national staff. The ED will guide a small team of staffers to have ownership over their work and develop new skills.


AAJA is an equal opportunity employer and highly encourages all applicants to apply regardless of race, national origin, religion, gender, age and sexual orientation. We offer a competitive salary, and benefits include paid medical, dental and vacation, along with a 401K plan. 

To apply, send a cover letter, including your top three priorities as ED, and a resume to AAJA President Yvonne Leow at YvonneL@aaja.org. Applications must be received by August 3, 2018 5pm PT.