Meet your 2018-2019 JAWS board candidates

Disclaimer: Candidates running for Journalism and Women Symposium’s volunteer board of directors are often asked to run by fellow JAWS members. Candidate profiles that mention being asked to run do not represent an endorsement by the board.

By Andrea Stone, Nominating Committee Chair

We are overwhelmed by the number of JAWdesses who have stepped up this year to run for the board. For the first time, perhaps ever, we have competitive races for all positions. Wow!

The candidates running to join the JAWS Board of Directors are a diverse group ethnically, geographically and age-wise. They include digital reporters and editors, on-air TV correspondents, authors, educators and freelancers. They have been fellows, regional leaders, board members or have served on JAWS committees. They’re all prior CAMPers and want to continue the rewarding work of representing and working with all of you.

Voting (all online) begins Saturday, Oct. 6 and ends Saturday, Oct. 13, at noon Eastern time.

It’s exciting to have such a strong group of nominees. Keep reading to find out who the candidates are and what makes them want to join the board.

The nominees are:


Justine Griffin

Title and place of employment: Health & Medicine Reporter, Tampa Bay Times

Why are you running for the board?:

I was asked! But most of all, I’m so grateful for all the opportunities and mentorship JAWS has opened for me through the years. The least I could do is give back, help recruit more talented women journalists to our organization, and steer the ship toward growth and financial stability.

Board offices held in JAWS: Vice President (2015-2017), Communications Co-Chair (2014)

Committee(s) of interest: Membership, Communications, Mentoring, Regional Groups, Diversity, Legacy, Fundraising, CAMP

Committees served on: CAMP planning, communications, regional captains, mentoring, fellowship (application judging).

How have you contributed to JAWS? 

I’m currently the Florida-Gulf Coast regional captain and have been for a few years. In addition to two terms served on the board (the second as vice president under Sandra Fish), I planned the programming for CAMP in Roanoke with Marina Villeneuve. I also served as co-chair (with Merrill Perlman) on the communications committee. I’ve been a mentor, mentee and tech skills coach at various CAMPs and have judged applications for fellowships for several years. I’m also a regular donor to our auctions, both with vacation properties and my own digital skillsets.

What do you hope to contribute to JAWS as a member of the board?

If I were elected JAWS President, I would make it my mission to ensure the organization is financially sustainable and actively seeking out ways in which we can secure more grant funding for our fellows, for CAMP, and for future programming. I’d also like to beef up our regional groups, hopefully through funding for various training and events, to connect more journalists to the organization who may not be able to afford or make it to CAMP every year. There are many journalism organizations who spearhead projects that touch close to our mission and what we do at JAWS. I think now is a great time to revisit what JAWS is, what we want to be, and how we can better serve the population of journalists who benefit from our organization. I would love to see more young and diverse women, from all journalism backgrounds (not just legacy media) seek out JAWS as a safe place for mentorship and career resources.

Mira Lowe

Title and place of employment: Director, Innovation News Center / WUFT, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL

Why are you running for the board?

I’m running for president-elect because I’m excited about the direction the organization is heading in. The past year we’ve been focused on growing our membership, providing more training for women journalists and building productive alliances. I want to continue that momentum. JAWS is uniquely positioned in today’s media landscape to be the leading, go-to organization for women in journalism – advocating for wage parity and advancement, creating job opportunities and promoting diversity at all levels across all platforms. Working with the president and the board of directors, I will work to elevate JAWS’ profile, strengthen our regional groups, identify strategic partners and extend our reach to women in the business.

Committee(s) of interest: Membership, Communications, Mentoring, Regional Groups, Diversity, Legacy, Fundraising, CAMP

Board offices held in JAWS: Secretary

Committees served on: Membership, fundraising

I currently serve as secretary of the board and on the membership and fundraising committees. I am actively engaged in decision-making and strategic conversations about JAWS initiatives. I’ve supported the organization financially via personal contributions and the sponsoring of women; recruited members to the organization and trainers to CAMP; encouraged women to run for the board; and represented the organization at conferences and events.

What do you hope to contribute to JAWS as a member of the board?

Drawing on my background of working in newspapers, magazines, cable TV, digital and academia, I will use my collective experience to serve the women of our organization by focusing on providing opportunities and training for women journalists – from those just starting out to those who have been in the business for a while; tapping into industry relationships to attract new sponsors; engaging other organizations in creative partnerships; and helping shape a strategic plan for the future. As director of a public media newsroom at the University of Florida, I help train the next generation of journalists for TV, radio and digital platforms. As a board member, I would seek to attract younger voices to our organization and groom them for leadership in JAWS and beyond. I would work with our more experienced members too who are seeking growth opportunities and ways to thrive in our industry.

Why are you running for the board? 


Deborah Douglas

Title and place of employment: Pulliam Professor of Journalism at DePauw University, Greencastle, Indiana/Chicago

Why are you running for the board? 

JAWS found me at a time where I needed community, amplification and a significant career pivot. The values shared with me are those I’ve always held close, and I joined in earnest with a goal to serve the mission of supporting women journalists. You can say I found my tribe, and it is my intention to envelop as many colleagues as possible to let them know a supportive network exists. For too long I didn’t. The type of training, coaching and support available at/with JAWS is not a given in our newsrooms, but it should be. I hope to evangelize our existence, grow our ranks and broadcast a standard of excellence media organizations recognize, seek and respect. We see the metrics about who is making decisions about coverage and are experiencing the breakdown in the public’s understanding of what this profession means for democracy. This moment is an opportunity to reframe our vocation and center the role of women in every aspect of this profession — on every platform.

Committee(s) of interest: Membership, Diversity, Fundraising

How have you contributed to JAWS?

My contributions to the field of journalism include being a committed mentor to young journalists (and other professions) globally, including ensuring they have lift-off and a first five years that sets them up for success and allows, women especially, to exercise agency. I’ve given many invited talks about personal branding to help them navigate the field. I ran a high school journalism workshop for five years in Chicago, so intense, it was a part-time job. I’ve exercised thought-leadership on best practices, such as writing for and being quoted by CJR. I help other women do the same in their spheres of influence. As I work and live on the intersection of many identities, my contributions have been spread out, and offered as part of organizational and personal initiatives. I hope to focus my efforts within JAWS, which is already set up for maximum touch and impact because of the down-to-earth, egalitarian ethos the organization models.

What do you hope to contribute to JAWS as a member of the board?

My attention is the first thing I’d like to contribute to JAWS. That, plus making time to create tangible manifestations of the vision and ideas of our membership, not merely talking about them as is the habit with orgs of all kinds. For that reason, I’m task- and solutions-oriented. As a manager, my style is to address issues head on, and seek closure or action. Coming from daily news, I’m keen on seeing a tangible result, a physical product where possible. As treasurer, I’m poised to ask good questions to keep us moving forward at a steady pace. I have an immense amount of institutional support for working on the JAWS board, so now is an opportune time.

Board of Directors (three seats):

Cassie Cope

Title and place of employment: Business reporter, The Charlotte Observer, Charlotte, N.C.

Why are you running for the board? 

I attended CAMP as an emerging journalist fellow in 2015 and fell in love. I quickly realized I’m not alone in an industry that faces more and more adversity with constant attacks on the media and struggling revenue models. I’ve learned so much from JAWS members, including negotiating strategies, data reporting tips and how to adjust to a new beat. I want to run for the board to help grow the organization so more journalists can benefit from JAWS like I have.

Committee(s) of interest: Membership, Communications, Mentoring, Diversity, Fundraising, CAMP

How have you contributed to JAWS?

I promote JAWS every chance I get to other reporters. I talk about all of the aspects that make CAMP amazing (Informative sessions! Dressing comfortably! New friendships! Bonding experiences! Wine!) I also share social media postings to expand the reach of the JAWS message and encourage peers to join the organization.

What do you hope to contribute to JAWS as a member of the board?

Whether it’s helping raise money, run CAMP or increase membership I want to give back in any way I can.

Andrea Gabor

Title and place of employment: Bloomberg Chair Business Journalism, Baruch College/CUNY

Why are you running for the board?

I’m passionate about mentoring young women and journalists. After several very busy years in which I’ve completed a book and launched the Baruch Journalism Dept.’s travel program —I’ve taken students to both Cuba and Maine on reporting trips (the latter to do political reporting in the 2nd Congressional District, a swing district, in advance of the 2018 midterms)—I feel ready to take on a new challenge that will make the most of my mentoring and organizational skills.

Committee(s) of interest: Membership, Mentoring, CAMP

How have you contributed to JAWS?

I organized the Covering the Working Class panel at Hot Springs with Lottie Joiner, Mary Meehan and Monica Potts. I’ve also volunteered to host NYC JAWs meetings, though I have not yet been taken up on the offer 😉

What do you hope to contribute to JAWS as a member of the board?

In my role at Baruch—both as a professor, founder of the travel program and advisor to the school’s award-winning magazine—I’ve become something of a professional mentor. I also organize 1 to 2 events at the college every year. (In the past I’ve done Q&A’s with everyone from Paul Volcker to Sasha Pfeiffer of Spotlight fame.) I think these skills and interests should translate well both for planning special JAWs events or future CAMPs, as well as bringing some energy to mentoring young women new to the profession.

Charisse Gibson

Title and place of employment: Television News Anchor/Host, FOX 19 NOW- Cincinnati, Ohio

Why are you running for the board?

As a 2015 JAWS Diversity Fellow and member of the JAWS Diversity Committee, I see opportunities for growth within our organization. JAWS has a very unique opportunity to expand its core membership to women across the journalism field. As a Television News Anchor and woman of color, I find opportunities to build relationships and partnerships with other affinity groups such as NABJ, AAJA, NAHJ, and NLGJA-the association of LGBTQ journalists. These partnerships would lead to an expansion in education, leadership, mentorship, and membership. With this new wave of journalists and a new way to tell stories, we can all benefit from fresh blood in our organization. If elected as a member of the board, I will find ways to build key partnerships with these organizations so that JAWS has a presence and can benefit from webinars that lead to professional development. I think a presence at these conferences is vital to JAWS survival as we attract journalists not just in the print and digital field, but television and radio. This is an opportunity for growth at CAMP as well. While still keeping CAMP intimate, we can expand our workshops to benefit those in television, radio, and digital. All of this can be accomplished easily if we allow minor changes to the way JAWS operates, in an effort to continue the growth of an organization that has long been a catalyst for change for women in journalism.

Committee(s) of interest: Diversity

Committees served on: Diversity, Membership

How have you contributed to JAWS?

As a member of JAWS, I have used my experiences with the women at CAMP as a way to recruit new journalists to the organization. As an active member who has visited several regional chapters, I find the connections I make with other “Jawdesses” allows me to assist young minority journalists in finding fellowships, mentor-ship, and job opportunities. I assisted with recruitment efforts more efficiently by joining the Membership Committee, spearheaded by Andrea Stone. I also joined the Diversity Committee in an effort to find ways to increase diversity in our organization, more recently helping to form a questionnaire that allows JAWS to find ways to identify where we stand in terms of diversity and inclusion in an effort to show we support those efforts by “checking our own.”

What do you hope to contribute to JAWS as a member of the board? 

I hope to bring more opportunities for diversity, recruitment and finding opportunities to expand offerings at CAMP.

Jennifer Kho

Title and place of employment: Managing Editor, Journalism, HuffPost, New York, NY (I live in Brooklyn)

Why are you running for the board?

At a time when journalism is under attack and women continue to face major challenges (including increasingly heinous trolling, doxxing and general undermining, unfairness and disrespect), the networking/knowledge sharing, training and support that JAWS offers seems more important than ever. I’d love to do what I can to help other women – and journalism – succeed. Also, Sheila Solomon asked me!

Committee(s) of interest: Mentoring, Regional Groups, Diversity, CAMP

How have you contributed to JAWS?

I haven’t contributed as much as I’d like to. I’ve participated in CAMP and occasional message boards, connected with other JAWS members, and gotten a few others to join. I’m hoping that joining the board will enable me to contribute more.

What do you hope to contribute to JAWS as a member of the board?

I’d love to share the load and be part of the team helping to grow JAWS’ impact, visibility and inclusiveness to help more women succeed and improve the journalism industry overall.

Marina Trahan Martinez

Title and place of employment: Producer/Reporter; print, broadcast, The Dallas Morning News, Dallas, Texas

Why are you running for the board?

Participation and enjoyment of the JAWS Conference And Mentoring Project calls for more involvement to support the process, beyond mentorship. I have benefited from CAMP and should serve in gratitude the organizing process.

Committee(s) of interest: Membership, Communications, Mentoring, Regional Groups, Diversity, CAMP

How have you contributed to JAWS?

My contributions to JAWS include membership support, panel speaker, regional organization, mentoring, and involvement encouragement within The Dallas Morning News.

What do you hope to contribute to JAWS as a member of the board?

I will serve at the pleasure of the membership and board, pulling from my 18 years of professional print and broadcast newsroom expertise and personal experiences and lend guidance to committees and individuals.

Heather Stark

Title and place of employment: Host and researcher, broadcasting, Seattle, WA

Why are you running for the board?

I would like to do more to not only improve journalism options for women in general, but also for women in my area. We have a local Seattle group that is small but makes efforts to be JAWS active, but because of the size of our area, those activities and events that serve the metropolitan area exclude the smaller, local communities where many women, like myself, work in the field without much support or inclusion. If I become more active in JAWS it is my hope that I will also be able to do more for my colleagues locally.

Committee(s) of interest: Communications, Regional Groups, CAMP

Committees served on: Membership, 2017

How have you contributed to JAWS?

I have led a session on Reporting Gendered Violence at the Roanoke, VA camp, as well as leading two table discussions on podcasting. I also served on the membership committee.

What do you hope to contribute to JAWS as a member of the board?

I would like to have some impact on promoting the smaller, locally involved members as well as the self-employed members. I also think we need to promote and focus on rural participation where women often work in local media. We need to explore, educate and promote opportunities for women journalists that take into account that not everyone works in a metropolitan area, or is employed by large outlets. We need to bring JAWS to all women who work in media, even if they are working at their kitchen tables instead of an office desk. That is where I hope to help.

Fara Warner

Title and place of employment: Founder, Shokan Studios (digital media, editing, consulting), West Shokan, New York

Why are you running for the board?

As a former board member, I’d love to re-engage with JAWS as my career shifts yet again away from corporate media to founding a journalism start-up with a JAWS member, returning to teaching via the Poynter Foundation, and working with a non-profit focused on pay equity for women, specifically in the media industry.

Committees of interest: Regional Groups, Diversity, Fundraising, CAMP

Committees served on: CAMP programming chair for Asheville CAMP

How have you contributed to JAWS?

I’ve contributed to JAWS in three ways: through direct donation either through attending CAMP or donations during my years as a member; bringing new members into JAWS who have become key members of the organization; serving on the board and programming the Asheville CAMP.

What do you hope to contribute to JAWS as a member of the board?

I would like to focus on fundraising as the organization continues to evolve as well as focus on improving diversity within JAWS. We have done an excellent job on diversity through the years and I would like to help build on that foundation. Finally, I had great fun programming CAMP for Asheville and would look forward to helping with another CAMP in the future.