Staff & Leadership

Sue Cross

Executive Director and CEO

Sue Cross directs INN’s work to advance nonprofit, public service newsrooms that inform communities across the U.S. with fact-based, non-partisan, accountability journalism.  Cross has worked in nonprofit and public service news for 20+ years and ran a strategy firm helping nonprofits and news organizations increase their impact and reach. As senior vice present for The Associated Press, the nonprofit global news agency, Cross directed business development and partnerships throughout the Americas, managed a nationwide membership cooperative and developed digital partnerships with global media and technology firms. In prior roles in digital product development and partnerships, she expanded Spanish language news and video production and helped introduce digital video to thousands of news websites, an initiative awarded the Chairman’s Prize for Innovation by the AP board of directors.

She previously served as AP’s Los Angeles bureau chief and directed news coverage and media operations in Chicago, Phoenix and Dallas. She began her career as a reporter in Alaska and Ohio. Cross serves on boards including EdSource, a California education media and research nonprofit, the Social Enterprise Alliance - Los Angeles and the Center for Health Journalism at USC Annenberg.

Contact: sue@inn.org

Fran Scarlett

Chief Knowledge Officer

Fran Scarlett is INN’s chief knowledge officer and business coach. She specializes in helping organizations understand and leverage their value propositions to build business models that maximize their potential for revenue growth and long term sustainability. 

Most recently Fran served as the regional director of the Small Business & Technology Development Center (SBTDC) at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. She was responsible for starting businesses, growing capital investment and creating jobs in Southeastern North Carolina. Prior to that, she ran her own management consulting firm, Scarlett Ink Media, providing strategic and tactical consulting to news media organizations with an emphasis on developing new revenue models; product development and cross-platform collaborations.

Before consulting, Scarlett spent ten years at The Plain Dealer in the advertising division.  In her role, she worked closely with the news division in content development to grow incremental revenue. During her tenure she created and served as the general manager of the custom publishing group with responsibility for editorial, sales and operations. 

Scarlett received her MBA from Harvard University and a B.S. in Mass Communications from Boston University. 

Contact: fran@inn.org

Mara Jezior

Membership & Development Coordinator

Mara Jezior is INN’s membership and development coordinator. She is responsible for managing and helping to build INN’s growing member community and strengthening INN’s individual and corporate development initiatives.

Prior to joining INN in July 2017, Mara held marketing and development internships at the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism and MinnPost, two of INN’s earliest members. As the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism’s first public engagement and marketing intern, she took ownership of several responsibilities on a small staff, including tracking the reach and impact of individual stories, producing reports for funders and created the Center’s first stakeholders report. During her time at MinnPost, she honed her skills using databases and donor prospecting.

Mara graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2015 with a B.A. in journalism and history. She first realized her passion for nonprofit, public-interest journalism while serving as managing editor of UW-Madison’s independent student newspaper, The Daily Cardinal. There, she wrote and received her first grant, which awarded the newspaper $5,000 to support the coverage of under-reported topics on campus during a time when ad revenue was dwindling and the newspaper was seeking new revenue streams.

Contact: mara@inn.org, @marajezior


Chip Potts

Director, Finance & Operations

Nonprofit finance executive Chip Potts is director of finance and operations, supporting the growth of the INN membership network, overseeing INN's fiscal sponsorship program and expanding the portfolio of business services and benefits for INN members.

Potts previously was the associate director and CFO of the Santa Monica College Foundation. He has more than 30 years of accounting experience, starting with a Washington CPA firm that specialized in audit reporting for nonprofit organizations and government contracting. He ran his own accounting and tax practice for 12 years in Arlington, Virginia before moving to California and joining the college foundation nine years ago.

Potts brings INN and network members broad nonprofit experience in volunteer fundraising, board participation and civic leadership. In addition to his CFO position, Potts served as acting director of the college foundation for nearly two years and volunteered for organizations including The Design Industry Foundation for AIDS (DiFFA), Whitman Walker Clinic AIDS Walk, Food and Friends' annual gala "Chef's Best.” He was a 10-year member of the Board of Directors for Florence Crittenton Services of Greater Washington, an organization serving at-risk girls and teenage mothers.

Potts has a B.S.B.A in accounting from Wheeling Jesuit University and in 2012 received his Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Sector Management from the California State University Northridge (CSUN). He has completed CSUN course work for a Master's in Public Administration.

He is based at INN's Los Angeles office.

Contact: Chip@INN.org


Sarah Vassello

Audience Development Specialist

Sarah Vassello is the Audience Development Specialist for the Amplify News Project, focusing on magnifying stories from the midwest.

Vassello has worked at The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and served as a market engagement intern with Gannett, where she collaborated with publications in more than 100 markets to provide technical, website and newsroom support. She also provided network-wide support on watchdog projects, like a database to track special interest group influence on national and statewide politics, and has experience analyzing engagement data using website metrics, social metrics and data visualization.

Based in North Carolina, Vassello is a recent graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, where she earned degrees in multimedia journalism and political science. She also worked for The Daily Tar Heel, ranked in the top echelon of independent student-run collegiate publications, where she rose from staff writer to launching and directing the entertainment and culture vertical.

Contact: sarah@inn.org, @sarahvassello

Jules Shapiro

Director of Communications and Marketing

Jules Shapiro directs and leads INN’s marketing and communications strategies.

She has held nonprofit leadership positions for more than five years, including director of digital marketing for the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s) in New York, where she helped agencies with social media and negotiated a million dollars annually of in-kind media partnership deals. She most recently led marketing and communications at the East Bay SPCA in Oakland, CA, running digital fundraising initiatives and setting revenue records. Shapiro also served as a digital strategist for Next Generation Fundraising, an agency that partners with public media and other nonprofits on fundraising strategies.

When she isn’t helping INN members, she can be found volunteering at animal shelters and pursuing her design communications certificate from UCLA Extension. Shapiro has a bachelor of science degree in journalism from San Jose State University, a master of science degree in publishing from Pace University in New York, and an executive leadership certificate from the American Association of Advertising Agencies.

She lives in Los Angeles with her two dogs and one cat and is based out of INN's Los Angeles office.

Contact: jules@inn.org, @julianneshapiro

Roz Hunter

Grants Officer

Roz Hunter is a development and communications strategist and grant writer specializing in nonprofit journalism. Most recently she served as Deputy Director of Type Media Center (formerly The Nation Institute) and has previously held positions at The Nation magazine and International House Philadelphia. Hunter received an undergraduate degree from the University of Pittsburgh and an M.A. in Women's History from Sarah Lawrence College. She lives in New York City.

Jonathan Kealing

Chief Network Officer

As INN’s chief network officer, Jonathan Kealing strengthens collaboration among INN’s network of nonprofit newsrooms and develops partnerships and services that help them meet their missions and increase the impact of their journalism.  Kealing leads the Amplify Project among Midwest newsrooms piloting news sharing and distribution models. He is especially interested in ways local and regional news organizations can work together and with national organizations to extend the impact of their journalism.

Before joining INN, Kealing was part of the executive leadership team at Public Radio International, serving as executive editor for PRI.org. Kealing led a team of 15 journalists covering global issues including immigration, gender equity and international security. He also made four trips to China to teach mid-career Chinese journalists about U.S. digital media trends.

Kealing previously worked for The World Company and its Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World. There he helped launch innovative community news sites focused on health and sustainability. He also led efforts to cross-train reporters and photographers for a digital-first, multiplatform environment.

Kealing has spoken at many national and regional journalism conferences, including the Online News Conference, and is a graduate of the William Allen White School of Journalism at the University of Kansas. He lives in Minneapolis with his wife, two kids and their dog.

Sharon McGowan

Amplify Collaborations Leader

Sharon McGowan is the Amplify Collaborations Leader at the Institute for Nonprofit News, working with members throughout the Midwest on collaborative resources and coverage of public affairs issues that span the region.  McGowan was the founding editor of Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service, an award-winning nonprofit news organization that has covered low-income, minority communities in Milwaukee’s central city since 2011.

She started her career as a reporter and then managing editor at The Chicago Reporter, which covers race and poverty. McGowan was assistant news director/managing editor at WBBM-AM Radio and later became Assignment Manager at WBBM-TV, both in Chicago. She was an adjunct faculty member in journalism at Northwestern University for more than 20 years and was most recently on the journalism faculty at the Diederich College of Communication at Marquette University.

McGowan earned her bachelor’s degree at Washington University in St. Louis and her master’s degree at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. McGowan and her husband, Jim, have two adult children and are based in the Chicago area.

INN LABS

Kay Lima

Director, INN Labs

Kay leads a team of news technologists at the Institute for Nonprofit News, a fast-growing network of nearly 200 public service news organizations. She identifies and builds innovative solutions for independent news publishers to better engage with the public, strengthen revenue sources, and build trust. The team she directs build products which help newsrooms with their digital presentations of news.

Kay brings her experience in digital marketing, project management, and creative strategy to INN. She leverages this experience to lead trainings and digital innovations for over 70 publisher sites and news organizations each year.

Contact: kay@inn.org, @kayleen_lima

Paola Baradello

Account Director

Paola specializes in helping organizations understand how to optimize their online and digital media presence. As INN Labs' account director, Paola works closely with our growing number of INN members and clients to identify solutions and leverage the INN Labs publishing tools.

Before joining INN, Paola served as an account director for five years at a large distributed global demand generation agency. She was responsible for managing key global accounts as well as assisting in project management, execution, and strategic direction. Prior to that, Paola held various positions in digital and online product marketing.

Paola has her undergraduate degree from UC San Diego and a dual MBA from the Universidad Carlos III in Madrid, Spain and Arizona State University.

Contact: paola@inn.org

Ben Keith

News Apps Developer

Ben Keith is a web developer who solves journalism problems through WordPress. He started at INN in 2014 as an apprentice and returned to INN full-time in 2015.

As INN Labs’ lead developer, Ben oversees the Largo publishing platform and creation and maintenance of our publishing tools and plugins. He also contributes to editorial projects for our members and is highly skilled in WordPress theme development, PHP, CSS, JavaScript, and database work.

Ben has given talks at WordCamp Columbus, WordCamp for Publishers, SRCCON, and the Ohio State University Open Source Club and Collegiate Web Developers Club and has led training sessions for INN members. He holds an undergraduate degree from The Ohio State University.

Contact: ben@inn.org, @benlkeith

Miranda Krapf

Project Manager

Miranda Krapf has joined INN Labs as a project manager, responsible for client-facing communications, management of project scopes, timelines, and successful deliveries.

Krapf previously held positions as project manager and business analyst at the University of Minnesota, where she developed experience in web and digital project management, particularly for nonprofit organizations. In her previous role, she managed technology projects for scientific research labs, academic technology initiatives, a wide variety of web and digital projects, and extensive freelance web development. Krapf is skilled in all aspects of scoping, planning, implementing and reviewing technology and web-related projects and has years of hands-on WordPress experience.

Krapf graduated from the University of Minnesota with a B.S. in Environmental Science and minors in Geographic Information Systems, Sustainability Studies, and Atmospheric Chemistry. She also holds certifications and awards for project management, agile development, business analysis, and leadership.

Contact: miranda@inn.org