ELP 2017 Announces Guest Speakers and Mentors


The Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) is proud to announce the following guest speakers and mentors who will be participating in the 22nd Executive Leadership Program taking place on March 28 – April 1, 2017 at the City University of New York (CUNY).

Please join AAJA in welcoming our ELP speakers and mentors!



Irene Chang is a product manager at Graphiq, a technology company that collects, structures, and presents data to consumers and enterprises. She spent the last year building specializing in data products surrounding the election and international geospatial information.


Kevin E. Lord has been an Executive Vice President of Human Resources at FOX News Network, LLC since January 16, 2017. Lord oversees the entire Human Resources (HR) division for FOX News Channel (FNC), FOX Business Network (FBN) and each of the corresponding digital operations. He served as Chief Human Resources Officer and Senior Vice President of TEGNA Inc. since joining in October 22, 2012 until January 7, 2017. Lord was responsible for guiding the HR strategies that attract, develop and retain talent needed to enable and execute TEGNA’s strategic initiatives.



Amna Nawaz is an Emmy award-winning anchor of ABC News’ Digital and Livestream platforms. Since joining ABC News in 2015, Nawaz has led the network’s digital coverage from presidential debates and political conventions to entertainment events and breaking news. She also hosts original digital video series and the ABC Radio podcast “Uncomfortable” which features honest and in-depth conversations with influential voices in America to tackle issues dividing the nation.

Brian Carovillano is vice president for U.S. News at The Associated Press in New York. Born and raised in Westfield, New Jersey, Carovillano joined AP in 2000 and worked as a reporter, desk supervisor and editor in Rhode Island, Boston and San Francisco. In 2008 he became the founding editor of the first domestic regional desk, in Atlanta, overseeing operations and coverage across a 13-state region in the southeastern United States and leading AP’s award-winning coverage of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Carolyn Ryan is an assistant Masthead editor at The New York Times, where she focuses on recruiting and career development in the newsroom. Before assuming that role, she was senior editor for politics and directed The Times’s coverage of the 2016 presidential campaign. She was also the chief of the Washington bureau and Metro editor; she played a key role in The Times’s coverage of the revelations about Eliot Spitzer — reporting that was honored with a Pulitzer Prize. She has also served as deputy managing editor of The Boston Globe. She is a graduate of Bates College.

Eric Umansky is a deputy managing editor of ProPublica, where he edited our Pulitzer Prize-winning series about Wall Street. Previously, he wrote a column for Slate and was editor of Motherjones.com. He’s also written for The New York Times Magazine, Washington Post, The New Republic, and elsewhere. He is also a co-founder of Document Cloud. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a master’s degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

John Mancini is global news editor at Quartz, Atlantic Media’s digital publication focusing on the global economy. He has led digital newsgathering at NBC News, been global news manager at the Associated Press and reported on the air at NY1 News. He was the editor of Newsday, the 11th largest daily in the US, metropolitan editor of the New York Post and the founding editor in chief of the Long Island Voice.

Karen Mahabir oversees the General Assignment Desk at The Huffington Post. The team includes nearly two dozen reporters and editors across the U.S. and overseas who are responsible for covering breaking news, as well as daily and enterprise stories. Before joining The Huffington Post, she spent more than a decade at The Associated Press as a reporter, editor and producer in their Mexico City, Washington and New York bureaus, and also spent years working at various newspapers in the Washington and New York areas. She has an English Literature degree from the University of Sussex, and a master’s degree in International Journalism from City University of London.

Kelly Bourdet is the Editor in Chief of Gizmodo. Prior to joining Gizmodo, she was the Editorial Director of Vocativ, overseeing all aspects of the editorial operation and launching the site’s technology, science, health, and sexuality coverage. Prior to joining Vocativ she worked at Refinery29, where she founded and led the site’s health, science, and technology verticals, ultimately working as the site’s Deputy Editor. Bourdet previously worked as an editor at Nerve Media and was a long-time contributor to Vice’s Motherboard, where she wrote the weekly column “Future Sex,” which explored the intersection of science and technology with sexuality and personal relationships.

Lauren Johnston is the Head of Breaking News at Yahoo, where she oversees the Yahoo.com homepage, real-time breaking news coverage and mobile push notification strategy. She has also worked at the New York Daily News, Newsday, CBS News, People and the Village Voice. While at the Daily News, Johnston co-founded an Innovation Lab to focus on digital innovation in journalism and to incubate early-stage startups in the newsroom. She holds an M.A. in cultural reporting and criticism from New York University.

Patricia Peart is the Director of Weekend Booking with Fox News Channel. Among the shows she is responsible for are Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo, Fox Report with Harris Faulkner and the weekend news shows, America’s News Headquarters. She has been with Fox News Channel since 2005. Peart spent nine years at MSNBC producing segments for The Jerry Nachman Show and Countdown with Keith Olbermann. She has also worked at US News & World Report and at WNET, a PBS station in New York City. Peart holds a B.S. in Communications from Molloy College and a M.A. in Media Studies from the New School for Social Research.

Ramon Escobar is the vice president, talent recruitment & development for CNN Worldwide. He is a creative media executive with a proven track record of building dynamic organizations and leading them through transformational change. A media veteran with 20+ years of experience in news and entertainment in local, cable and network television as well as digital/new media, Escobar has the unique perspective of having worked in both English- and Spanish-language media.

Ryan Kadro is Executive Producer of CBS This Morning, overseeing all aspects of America’s fastest growing morning news broadcast. During his tenure, CBS This Morning has earned a distinguished Peabody Award, a George Polk Award, two News & Documentary Emmys and one Daytime Emmy. His work has been nominated for nine Emmy Awards. Prior to CBS News, Kadro worked as a Supervising Producer on NBC’s “Last Call with Carson Daly” and “NBC’s New Year’s Eve with Carson Daly.”

Reg Chua is Executive Editor, Editorial Operations, Data & Innovation at Reuters.  Among other duties, he manages global newsroom operations, safety, logistics and budgets at Reuters.  He also helps manage data and computational journalism, oversees the graphics team, and works with corporate technology and R&D teams to develop newsroom systems and tools.  He was previously Editor-in-Chief of the South China Morning Post; prior to that, he had a 16-year run at The Wall Street Journal, including as Editor of its Hong Kong-based Asian edition and as a Deputy Managing Editor based in New York.

Samantha Barry is the Executive Producer for Social and Emerging Media at CNN Worldwide. Barry leads the social teams at all of the CNN bureaus and works closely with the CNN Digital leadership in their editorial strategy. Her teams span publishing, newsgathering, digital and TV.

Samantha Storey is a senior enterprise editor for The Huffington Post. Before that, Storey worked as a senior digital editor at The New York Times.

Traci Carl has worked for The Associated Press for 22 years. She started as a reporter in her home state of Kansas, then became an editor on the international desk in New York. In 2000, Carl moved to Mexico City, covering Latin America for nine years. She returned to the U.S. in 2009 to lead news in 13 states west of the Rocky Mountains. She has been international operations director for one year.

Virgil Smith earned his Bachelor of Science and Master’s degree from the University of San Francisco and has a long career as a media executive. Having spent 20 years with McClatchy Newspapers and the last 24 years with Gannett, where he served numerous roles, including president and publisher and corporate HR executive. He has recruited, mentored and coached hundreds of professionals from entry-level to senior executive roles in broadcast, publishing and other professions. The firm’s website is www.smithedwardsgroup.com.