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Team & Leadership

The staff of the Institute for Nonprofit News works to support the field in business education, audience development, leadership training and more. Open positions will be posted on our job board.

Leadership Team

Executive Director and CEO

Sue Cross

Sue Cross leads the Institute for Nonprofit News, a network of more than 425 independent, nonprofit news organizations in North America. She joined INN in 2015 to build its emerging news network and advance social enterprise models for investigative and other public service journalism. Sue is a former senior vice president for the Associated Press global news agency, where she created digital news services, expanded Spanish language and Latin American operations, introduced video to more than a thousand online news sites and managed a national news cooperative. |

Chief Development Officer

Lisa Gardner-Springer

Lisa Gardner-Springer leads development initiatives benefiting nonprofit newsrooms that are members of INN and make up the fastest growing news network in North America. In this role of attracting philanthropic investment, she advances INN’s mission of expanding Americans’ access to trusted sources of news. Most recently Gardner-Springer has been the senior director of institutional giving at PRX, where she has overseen strategies to secure foundation and government grants for the organization and its programs. |

Chief of Growth Programs

Courtney Lewis

Courtney Lewis oversees INN’s initiatives to accelerate the growth of nonprofit news organizations. These include our annual INN Days conference, philanthropic giving programs like NewsMatch, and myriad newsroom leadership training programs. Courtney joined INN in 2020 to manage NewsMatch, the most sophisticated collaborative fundraising campaign for journalism in the U.S. The campaign has helped raise more than $150 million for nonprofit newsrooms. Courtney graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Michigan State University and holds an MBA from Wayne State University. |

Chief Network Officer

Jonathan Kealing

Jonathan Kealing strengthens collaboration and audience growth among INN’s network of nonprofit newsrooms and develops partnerships and services that help them meet their missions and increase the reach and impact of their journalism. Jonathan oversees INN’s membership and collaborations teams, in addition to audience growth and services. 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. |

Chief Operating Officer

Soraya Membreno

Soraya Membreno leads organizational development as INN extends programs and support to a growing number of nonprofit newsrooms across North America. Prior to joining INN, Soraya served as the publisher of Bitch Media, an independent, feminist, nonprofit media outlet. She is a graduate of the Executive Program in News Innovation and Leadership at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism. A first-generation Nicaraguan-American forever repping Miami, Soraya now lives in Los Angeles. |

Management & Staff

Communications Director

Sharene Azimi

Sharene Azimi promotes the work of the INN network to funders, partners and other external audiences while bringing INN members news and resources from the field of public service journalism. She edits the weekly INNovation newsletter and oversees all of INN’s communications channels. Prior to joining INN in 2020, Sharene spent a decade as founder and principal of Mission Communications, providing organizational strategy, branding, communications planning, and marketing services to non-profits, universities, and foundations. |

Director of Institutional Giving

Moumita Chakraborty

Moumita Chakraborty supports development operations and growth for INN and its members across North America. Prior to joining INN, Moumita served in several senior fundraising roles at global and national organizations, managing strategies for corporate, foundation and individual giving. |

Manager, Distribution and Audience Growth

Sam Cholke

Sam Cholke works with INN members to better understand their audiences and take their direct audience to the next level. Prior to joining INN, he was project manager for the Metro Media Lab at the Medill School at Northwestern University, the largest university program in the country researching and developing strategies around news audiences. He was also director of the Local Media Association’s Solving for Chicago collaborative and reported on Chicago for 15 years as a contributor to Chicago Magazine, the Chicago Sun-Times, the Washington Post and other publications. |

Membership Coordinator

Devon Dunkle

Devon Dunkle supports operations of the membership team at INN. Prior to INN, Devon worked in the membership department of the Florida Press Association for more than eight years, focusing on journalism contests, member onboarding and board management. She has also worked extensively with the Florida Society of News Editors, the Florida Magazine Association, and the Florida Newspaper Advertising and Marketing Executives. |

Growth Programs Coordinator

Kemuel Farmer

Kemuel Farmer coordinates and streamlines our processes for supporting members with fundraising services, capacity-building training and virtual and in-person gatherings. Prior to joining INN, Kemuel served in conflicts analysis at a global law firm. She has also worked extensively within the nonprofit sector in law and several organizations that directly give back to disenfranchised communities. |

Director of Member Network Engagement

Bia Medious

Bia Medious leads the strategic growth and diversification of INN’s member network, deepens network engagement and implements systems to support that growth. That includes managing the membership team, expanding collective actions and measuring impact to ensure nonprofit newsrooms draw exceptional experiences and value from their membership. Prior to joining INN, Bia spent five years working in public, legacy and local media as an investigative journalist and narrative audio producer. She also brings over twenty years of experience in political organizing and education. |

Director, Finance & Operations

Chip Potts

Chip Potts supports the growth and financial success of the INN membership network by overseeing INN’s fiscal sponsorship program, expanding the portfolio of business services as well as supports INN’s staff to help their work to the benefit of INN members. Chip has over 35 years of accounting, tax and nonprofit management experience. He was previously the associate director and CFO of the Santa Monica College Foundation and ran his own accounting and tax practice for 12 years in Arlington, Virginia before moving to California and joining the college foundation. |

Engagement Specialist

Alexis Price-Waddy

Alexis Price-Waddy drives meaningful engagement by creating dynamic web, social media and email content for INN. Before joining INN, she managed email marketing and spearheaded social media strategy at a national education nonprofit. Alexis graduated from Butler University with bachelor’s degrees in journalism and English creative writing. During that time, she worked on the student newspaper staff, serving as editor-in-chief her final year. Alexis is currently working toward her master’s in communication — with a specialization in journalism innovation — at Syracuse University. |

Office Administrator & Executive Assistant

Cynthia Ruiz

With more than 15 years of nonprofit administration experience, Cynthia is equal parts admin and equal parts jack of all trades — depending on project and office priority. Before joining INN, Cynthia worked closely with keratoconus patients for the Gavin Herbert Eye Institute at the University of California Irvine. Cynthia is actively pursuing a B.A. in Sociology and Masters in Social Work, with a concentration on strengthening, empowering and rebuilding under-resourced communities. |

Rural News Network and Special Projects Editor

Alana Rocha

Alana Rocha leads INN’s Rural News Network — our most ambitious collaboration to date. As editor, Alana works with nearly 70 member outlets in 46 states to guide and amplify coverage of remote areas. Alana joined INN after 20 years as a news and politics reporter in Florida, Kansas and Texas. Most recently, she worked for The Texas Tribune — a nonpartisan, nonprofit news organization based in Austin — directing news partnerships and producing award-winning multimedia journalism in English and in Spanish. |

Research Director & Editor

Emily Roseman

Emily Roseman leads the INN Index, an annual study of INN members and the most comprehensive source of data about the emerging nonprofit news field. Emily also oversees the production of a rich set of case studies with the goal of speeding field development and amplifying the resources available through INN. Emily has researched and written for the Membership Puzzle Project, the Public Media Mergers Project, the Solutions Journalism Network and Harvard’s Belfer Center. |

Network Philanthropy Director

Stephanie Schenkel

Stephanie Schenkel designs and manages capacity-building programs and collaborative fundraising initiatives to grow philanthropic support for the INN Network. In her previous role as director of institutional advancement for a local public media organization, Stephanie managed the development department, working to fund collaborative journalism initiatives, track impact and raise revenue. Stephanie began her career with the United Way and has worked as the director of development for a literacy organization. Stephanie lives in Connecticut with her family and a very rambunctious Beagle named Sunny. |

Director of Leadership & Talent Development

Sara Shahriari

Sara Shahriari helps nonprofit newsrooms develop effective and forward-thinking leaders who advance the industry in both journalism and financial sustainability. That means supporting emerging leaders through training that strengthens their organizations while also building pathways into the nonprofit news world for diverse groups of talented students and industry professionals in journalism, public administration and business. |

Manager, Network Digital and Business Services

Jordan Smith

Jordan Smith increases the scale and scope of services we offer INN members, helping manage existing services like our relationship with JustWorks and LexisNexis, and identifying new services in response to member feedback. Prior to joining INN, Jordan served as the Manager of Technology and Multimedia for the Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles, the nation’s largest local bar association of trial attorneys. He oversaw all communication and social media platforms, and coordinated marketing and registration for online programs and events. |

NewsMatch Program Manager

Meta Stange

Meta Stange serves as the program manager for NewsMatch, the largest collaborative fundraising campaign building awareness and support for nonprofit journalism. Before joining INN, Meta was the digital content and engagement manager for WDET, Detroit’s NPR Station, where she developed and implemented a comprehensive strategy for WDET’s digital platforms. She also provided digital insights for membership campaigns and developed marketing campaigns to build station audiences in the Detroit market. |

Research Associate

Ha Ta

Ha Ta helps expand research and knowledge of the field by further developing INN’s data services and helping lead INN’s new “pods” program. She previously worked for the Civil Rights & Restorative Justice Project, helping build the database for the Burnham-Nobles Archive of anti-Black killings in the mid-century South. Ha has taught digital storytelling at Northeastern University School of Journalism. She was previously a Poynter fellow, editor-in-chief of The Scope Boston and co-founder of The Global Observer, a publication reporting on issues pertaining to international students in the United States. |

Director of Collaborations

Bridget Thoreson

Bridget Thoreson works with INN member newsrooms to frame, fund and execute project-based editorial collaborations, ongoing partnerships and collaborative networks. Prior to INN, she worked with more than 100 newsrooms on audience engagement strategies at Hearken and served as project manager for Election SOS. She’s also held reporting, editing and audience development roles at a daily newspaper and magazine publisher. |


Audience Research Fellow

Allison Altshule

collaborates with member organizations to research their audiences and help them expand their reach and impact. She previously worked as a reporter and writer for Solitary Watch, a watchdog organization covering solitary confinement. Most recently, she worked as a legislative fellow for government relations firm NVG, where she advocated for union workers, affordable healthcare prices and food security and affordability. Altshule is a Georgetown University graduate and former writer for the Hoya, where she reported on student life and administrative policy surrounding Covid-19. |

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