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About Us

Making mentorship more accessible.

Digital Women Leaders is for women and non-gender binary people working in news who are looking for advice from someone who understands their experience. Trying to survive motherhood and a leadership role? Feeling isolated from higher-ups? Want to talk to someone else who knows what it's like to be the minority in the room? We can help.

We know asking for help can be difficult, and sometimes, finding that help can be even harder. We facilitate conversations with knowledgeable, understanding mentors who might otherwise be hard to find. And because coaching sessions are just 30 minutes, the time commitment for mentor and mentee is low, but the impact on career satisfaction can be significant.

Prepare for a transformative half-hour.

What you talk about during your coaching session is entirely up to you, but here are a few tips to make the most of your call:

Plan ahead.

 Identify the issues you want to talk about. We suggest focusing on no more than three areas, and jotting down some questions beforehand.

Remember the clock.

Thirty minutes can fly by! Our mentors have busy schedules and these calls are on a volunteer basis. Pay attention to time during your conversation so you get what you need without disrupting your mentor's schedule.

Focus on the objective, not the specifics.

Let’s say you’re having trouble getting a direct report to turn in work on time. Instead of spending your coaching session dwelling on frustrations with that particular employee, use your call to identify underlying issues at play and strategize ways to solve your problem.

Show up ready to work.

Set your messaging apps to Do Not Disturb, close your laptop, find somewhere quiet to talk — whatever it is you need to do to ensure you are 100% committed to the conversation. Your mentor will be doing the same.

End your session with a game plan.

Try and identify next steps, or decide on a deadline for when you'd like to meet a particular goal.

Who’s behind this project?

This initiative was created by Katie Hawkins-Gaar, a freelance writer, journalism consultant, and co-founder of Poynter’s Leadership Academy for Women in Media. Katie serves on the advisory board for the Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism, and writes a weekly newsletter called My Sweet Dumb Brain.  

Katie previously worked as the digital innovation faculty at The Poynter Institute, where she launched The Cohort, a newsletter dedicated to women kicking ass in digital media, and co-founded 40 Better Hours, a project to improve newsroom culture. Prior to Poynter, she was the editor of CNN iReport, overseeing a team of producers responsible for soliciting and verifying audience-submitted news.

Digital Women Leaders is an entirely collaborative effort. This project wouldn’t exist without the amazing coaches offering their time and expertise, or the journalists reaching out to schedule calls. Thank you for making this project possible.