For more than 20 years, ELP’s four day leadership training has been developing leaders for the media industry.

ELP brings together mid- to senior-level journalists and prepares them for tackling important leadership and change management questions. ELP delves into important topics, such as leveraging identity, changing demographics effects, leadership styles across various cultures and regions affect the success and failures of products, and what lessons can be learned from established and emerging media markets that can be shared in this new poly-cultural and cross-cultural world.

The Executive Leadership Program (ELP) is for those interested in moving ahead in the workplace and developing the necessary skills to achieve goals small and large. The program explores the responsibilities and challenges of the media workplace and examines how cultural values come into play in newsroom dynamics.

The Executive Leadership Program (ELP) is dedicated to developing the next generation of journalists who can lead in uncertain times and build a sustainable future for journalism. In today’s changing media landscape, it is vital that leaders are equipped for addressing the responsibilities and challenges of serving our increasingly diverse and cross-cultural world.

AAJA’s Executive Leadership Program has an impressive 20+ year track record, committed to journalistic excellence and leadership training. ELP provides targeted professional development to diverse, high-potential, ambitious, and community-minded professionals. The program delivers more strategic, agile, confident, and diversity conscious leaders.

Dinah Eng, contributing writer for Fortune Magazine, is the founding director of AAJA’s Executive Leadership Program. She headed the establishment of ELP in 1995 when she was AAJA president. Since then, ELP has trained more than 500 media professionals to-date. Successfully fostering a pipeline of savvy industry leaders (many at major media companies) and providing graduates with access to a robust, life-long, and supportive alumni network.

Additionally, ELP offers continuing learning opportunities year-round (online and in-person), including: alumni programming, mentorship, workshops, and networking events.

2024 ELP Program

Our 2024 program will be hybrid, with virtual sessions and in-person components. The opening session will take place in New York City from March 20-23 and the closing session will take place during our 2024 national convention in Austin, Texas on August 7. Participants are required to attend all live sessions. They are also responsible for having all the technology needed to attend a virtual conference, including a computer, webcam and reliable internet. 

Tuition is $1,500 for AAJA members and $2,000 for non-members. It includes the costs of training materials, meals during in-person sessions and basic registration for the 2024 AAJA National Convention. For assistance with tuition, individuals may apply for the Dinah Eng Leadership Fellowship, which grants up to $1,000 to professional journalists seeking newsroom leadership training and management development.


Opening sessions: March 20-23, in-person sessions in New York City

Virtual Sessions: May-July, 1.5 hour-long monthly virtual sessions. Times and dates TBD.  

Closing session: August 7 during AAJA’s national convention in Austin, Texas

Program leads

Ashley Alvarado
Ashley Alvarado (she/her) is vice president of community engagement and strategic initiatives at Southern California Public Radio (KPCC + LAist). She develops strategies and opportunities to engage new and existing audiences across platforms. Ashley is focused on engagement and source development to diversify sourcing, enrich programming, and grow audience. She is board president of Journalism That Matters, on the board of the Online News Association, on the board of Greater Public, on the advisory committee of Gather, on the national advisory board of Poynter, and a digital transformation coach.

Sharon Chan
Sharon Chan is a Deputy for the Culture & Careers team at The New York Times. The team recruits and develops people who aspire to produce the best journalism in the world. She joined The New York Times in 2019 as vice president of Philanthropy. Prior to that, she worked at The Seattle Times for 20 years, starting as an intern and leaving as Vice President of Innovation, Product & Development. She spent 15 years as a reporter and editor in Seattle. She has served as national president for the Asian American Journalists Association and vice president of UNITY: Journalists for Diversity. She received the AAJA Lifetime Achievement Award in 2019. Chan received her B.A. from Pomona College and her Executive M.B.A. from MIT in 2017.

Paul Cheung
Paul Cheung leads The Center for Public Integrity as CEO to counter the corrosive effects of inequality by using investigative reporting to hold powerful interests accountable and equipping the public with knowledge to drive change. Previously, he managed a multi-million dollars investment portfolio at the Knight Foundation to scale the use of artificial intelligence, improve business sustainability solutions, and combat misinformation. Cheung has 20 years of experience in leading digital transformation and led cross functional teams of journalists, technologists, data-scientists, and designers, at media outlets including NBC News Digital, The Associated Press, The Miami Herald, and The Wall Street Journal. Cheung is an active volunteer who dedicates his free time to advance DEI in journalism and an informed and engaged democracy. He currently serves on the board of First Draft News, a nonprofit to protect communities from harmful misinformation and News Leaders Association, a nonprofit to empower journalists to lead and transform the news industry. Cheung is a Council member of University of Florida’s Consortium on Trust in Media and Technology, to investigate ways to restore and advance trust in media and technology.

Katie Nelson
Katie is a journalist and editor, who currently works for Apple. Previously, she was executive producer of ABC News digital, leading editorial coverage for distribution across ABC's websites, apps, social media, streaming services and emerging platforms. Katie is an AAJA and ONA member, was a 2016 Punch Sulzberger Executive Leadership Program fellow at Columbia University, and a 2001 Chips Quinn Scholar. Previously, she worked for HuffPost, the New York Daily News, The Associated Press, The Cambodia Daily and The Arizona Republic, among others. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Program coaches

Caroline Ceniza-Levine Caroline Ceniza-Levine is a career expert, executive recruiter and career coach/ founder of the Dream Career Club. Caroline is a Senior Contributor to and formerly wrote career columns for,, CNBC, and Portfolio. An adjunct at Columbia University, Caroline is the author of three books, including Jump Ship: 10 Steps To Starting A New Career. A classically-trained pianist at Juilliard School of Music, Caroline also performed stand-up comedy in NYC for 10 years and currently is a producer and writer with FBC Films.

Karen Gordon
Karen is the founder of Strategic Horizons, Inc., a boutique management consulting firm, providing executive coaching and leadership development workshops to a wide range of companies. Her three decades of consulting experience includes six years at McKinsey & Company, where she led teams in strategic planning and organizational development. Karen is an expert in delivering the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator in conjunction with personality Temperament Styles. She has been faculty for the Media Transformation Challenge program for over 12 years. Karen holds a B.A. from Harvard University and an M.B.A. from Columbia University. She is the author of The Last Letter: A Father’s Struggle, a Daughter’s Quest, and the Long Shadow of the Holocaust. She can be reached at

Dickson Louie
Dickson is currently principal of Louie & Associates, a boutique San Francisco Bay Area-consultancy that provides strategic planning, competitive analysis, and executive development services to start-ups, nonprofits and Fortune 500 companies. Louie has over 25 years of professional management experience within the news media industry, having worked as a planning and business development executive at the Los Angeles Times, the San Jose Mercury News and the San Francisco Chronicle. As a research associate at the Harvard Business School, he wrote 20 case studies, including those on, The New York Times on the Web and CBS Marketwatch. Louie, a certified public accountant, is a graduate of California State University, East Bay, where he received his bachelors, magna cum laude, in business administration, with a minor in journalism. He is on the faculty of the Graduate School of Management at the University of California, Davis, where he teaches the popular MBA elective course, “The Business of the Media.”

Virgil Smith
Virgil earned his Bachelor of Science and Master’s degree from the University of San Francisco and has a long career as a media executive. He has 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. Smith has recruited, mentored and coached hundreds of professionals from entry-level to senior executive roles in broadcast, publishing and other professions. He can be reached at and you can find more information about his firm at

PAST Speakers and Mentors

    • Will Lee, Chief Operating Officer, NPR
    • Marc Lacey, Managing Editor, The New York Times
    • Sara Goo, Editor in Chief, Axios
    • Shazna Nessa, Global head of Visual, The Wall Street Journal
    • LaSharah Bunting, CEO & ED, Online News Association
    • Michael Luo, Editor,
    • Ingrid Ciprian-Matthews, EVP & Washington Bureau Chief, CBS News
    • Millie Tran, VP, Content Strategy & Growth, Conde Nast
    • Kelly Harold, Managing Editor, Digital Video, ABC News/FiveThirtyEight

Application Information

Individuals with at least four to seven years of experience are encouraged to apply. Space is limited and applications are reviewed on a rolling basis until filled. You must be a professional journalist to apply for the program. 

Applications for ELP U.S. are open for the 2024 cycle. 


AAJA welcomes donations to its student and professional programs throughout the year. Your donation to the ELP program will go a long way toward helping the students produce quality work and gain valuable newsroom experience!


The curriculum is divided by major themes: Communication & Executive Presence, Power & Influence, Negotiation & Self advocacy, Networking & Branding, Work-Life Balance and Career Planning as well as Values & Introspection. The learning agenda is achieved via a mix of case studies, interactive exercises with coaches, peer discussions, small group assignments, panel discussions from industry leaders and one on one time with coaches and senior news leaders.

No, we have graduates representing different parts of journalism. Fellow’s occupation ranges from managers, editors, reporters, producers, data journalists, audience engagement, product managers and HR. The training agenda is applicable to help you be an effective leader within your organizations or in the field.

It includes the costs of training materials, meals during in-person sessions and basic registration for the 2023 AAJA National Convention. For assistance with tuition, individuals may apply for the Dinah Eng Leadership Fellowship, which grants up to $1,000 to professional journalists seeking newsroom leadership training and management development.

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