Chicas Poderosas Appoints Founding Board Members

Chicas Poderosas, a global organization that empowers women journalists, developers and designers to become new media leaders, announces the appointment of its first board of directors as it tackles the next step in its growth.

The founding board consists of 10 expert volunteers from around the world, drawn from the fields of finance, development and media, who will help set policy and priorities and provide financial oversight for Chicas Poderosas as it incorporates into a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization in the United States.

Mariana Santos, Chicas Poderosas founder and co-director, and Vicki Hammarstedt, co-director, will work closely with the board as the organization inaugurates an incubator program for Latin American journalists. The incubator will give them the tools to develop independent media ventures that amplify the diversity of voices in the news.

“Over the past three years, we have launched Chicas Poderosas across 14 communities, in collaboration with the Chicas ambassadors and community,” said Santos. “We’ve seen significant outcomes beyond the empowering of women through technology — societies have become more involved and invested in the change they want to see in the world.”

At its first meeting in December, the board elected as chair Jane McDonnell, who most recently served as Executive Director of the Online News Association, and Elisa Tinsley, Deputy Vice President-Programs at the International Center for Journalists, as secretary.

The full board, diversity champions with strong experience in digital innovation, is listed here:

Robert Hernandez, Associate Professor of Professional Practice, USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, offers a deep understanding of digital technology, Latin America’s media landscape and the needs of each region. In addition to serving as a digital journalism professor and media innovator, he explores the intersection of technology and journalism focusing on emerging technologies, most recently immersive journalism publishing under the name JOVRNALISM, which has been seen in The New York Times, NPR, ProPublica and others. He also serves on the board of directors of InquireFirst, and is a past board member of ONA. He is the co-creator of WJCHAT and editor-at-large for Immersive Shooter. @webjournalist

Jane McDonnell has a long history of journalism innovation and nonprofit development. Until December, she oversaw and managed the day-to-day operations of ONA, the world’s largest membership organization of digital journalists, initiating what is now the Women’s Leadership Accelerator. She also serves on the board of the Student Press Law Center. Previously, she was Consulting Senior Editor for the Project for Excellence in Journalism’s State of the News Media Report; oversaw the communications, marketing and digital efforts at the Center for Public Integrity; served as President of her digital editorial company, Public Access Journalism, and was Managing Editor for Knight-Ridder / Tribune Information Service. @freerangejane

Ricardo Mesquita leads the Immersive Learning initiative @, based in Madrid. Former CEO of, he loves to set things up while driving change through education, entrepreneurship and business innovation. Ricardo believes entrepreneurs, startups, educators, investors and organizations need an open and inspiring space to gather, learn new skills, experiment and foster connections that they otherwise wouldn’t have found. He is co-founder of Beta-i and ambassador of the accelerator, mentor at StartUp Chile (2014/2015), and co-author of the book The Soul of Business​, a roadmap for entrepreneurs looking to set up shop in Portugal.

Sina Mossayeb, Global System Design Lead, IDEO, focuses on social impact and organizational change, helping organizations create internal capabilities and fully developed labs to innovate through design thinking. He also focuses on using learning from social movements to help create behavioral and organizational change. @sinamossayeb

Daniela Pinheiro, Senior Reporter, Piauí Magazine in Brazil, specializes in political coverage. She began her career at Folha de São Paulo, the country’s largest newspaper, and as a reporter and editor at Veja, Brazil’s largest weekly magazine. She has covered topics ranging from fashion to soccer. She was a JSK Knight Fellow at Stanford in 2016, a four-time winner of Brazil’s Women in Press Prize and twice was awarded Brazilian journalism’s most distinguished prize, the Comunique-se Prize, as best print journalist. She also is the curator of Piauí-Globonews International Journalism Festival. @danielavelho

Lilia Saúl Rodríguez is a Mexican journalist specializing in data, transparency and information access focused on investigative journalism. Apart from many collaborations with Mexican news organizations, since 2014 she has been the Editor on Data Journalism at El Universal (@ElUniversalData). She won the Premio Nacional del Periodismo in 2011 and Ortega y Gasset 2016. She was an ICFJ Fellow with University Iberoamericana and FNPI. Today she is editor at Connectas and a member of Chicas Poderosas México. @liliasaul

Vivian Schiller, independent advisor, is a longtime executive at the intersection of journalism, media and technology. Her current portfolio includes serving as the Editor in Chief for Weber Shandwick, Chair of the Executive Committee for Vocativ, and director of the Scott Trust, which oversees The Guardian. She previously was the Head of News at Twitter, where she led the company’s strategy for news and partnership with journalism organizations and the news publishing ecosystem; Senior VP & Chief Digital Officer for NBC News; President and CEO of NPR; Senior Vice President and General Manager of and Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Discovery Times Channel, a joint venture of The New York Times and Discovery Communications. @vivian

Giannina Segnini, Director of the Master of Science Data Concentration Program, the Journalism School at Columbia University in New York, has been a role model and mentor for many journalists — both female and male — in Latin America. She has been the lead journalist-mentor for Chicas Poderosas since its launch, offering deep knowledge of Latin American data and the region’s investigative journalism scene. A native of Costa Rica, she has taught all over the world and been at the forefront of some of the biggest investigations and leaks in global journalism. @gianninasegnini

Elisa Tinsley, Deputy Vice President-Programs, ICFJ, has overseen global programs at ICFJ since 2013. For the previous seven years, she was director of the Knight International Journalism Fellowships, ICFJ’s flagship program. Mariana Santos launched the Chicas Poderosas initiative as part of her ICFJ Knight Fellowship during Elisa’s tenure. Before joining ICFJ, Elisa was the world editor at USA Today, where she oversaw international bureaus and coverage and developed the newspaper’s first security policy for reporters working in conflict zones. Previously, she was a foreign correspondent in the former Soviet Union; she was accredited to United Press International and simultaneously reported for USA Today, Newsweek, Time, ABC Radio and others. Elisa began her journalism career as a business reporter and editor in New York and Chicago. @elisatin

Lia Beltrán Valero, a Colombian journalist, is currently part of Rutas del Conflicto team, an investigative platform reporting on conflict in Colombia that started as a database about massacres that occurred since the 1980s and became a media organization producing long-form content and audiovisual stories about survivors of the war. She freelances for De Correspondent, a Dutch platform focusing on long-form journalism, feature pieces and investigations and is a Chicas Poderosas ambassador in Colombia. She is one of the founders of 100En1Dia, a global movement around citizenship and urban interventions. @lia_valero

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