Where today’s success stories mentor tomorrow’s stars
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Women represent more than half the population and two thirds of college graduates nationwide. And yet only a quarter of top management jobs in news organizations are held by women. Women are 6% of sports editors, 11% of radio news directors and 16% of all positions in film.
The Kopenhaver Center for the Advancement of Women in Communication is creating the Leadership Fellows Program to address this leadership gap. Launched in 2015, the program provides up-and-coming women of Hispanic or Latina descent the guidance, resources and training that will allow them to flourish and obtain leadership positions in media industries.
The Leadership Fellows Program pairs up to 10 early-career female media professionals with 5 years or less experience in the business with top executives in the field. The 12-month mentorship combines leadership training and networking with intense one-on-one coaching. The program is built to benefit everyone involved. Mentees gain exposure and access to top networks, expand their leadership opportunities and receive feedback and guidance to accelerate their careers. Mentors provide valuable life experience, coaching and insight to promising early-career professionals. This strengthens the industry, builds the mentor’s network among younger professionals and offers new perspectives on the rapidly evolving communications field.
The mentorship is conducted in South Florida, a media hub for the Americas and home to several top English- and Spanish-language media outlets. The mentees are women of Hispanic or Latina descent, a group that has had particularly limited access to leadership opportunities. They begin at a one day Leadership Institute held at FIU’s College of Communication, Architecture and The Arts. The Institute includes skill-building in leadership and networking with the full class of mentors and mentees. The fellows return to campus twice during the year for day-long training intensives, one dedicated to media technology, the other to entrepreneurship.
Throughout the year, fellows and their mentors schedule at least one day a month for in-person shadowing and meetings. Additional phone calls and check-ins can be scheduled as needed. The program concludes with a day-long workshop at FIU for a discussion of best practices, critical feedback and a celebration of mentoring.