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Pilot 2, Week 1: June 25-27, 2019
USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism
Los Angeles, Calif.


Jean Marie Brown
Brown is an assistant professor of professional practice in the Bob Schieffer College of Communication at Texas Christian. She teaches reporting and is director of student media journalism. A former newspaper executive, she spent most of her career with Knight Ridder and later McClatchy newspapers. A Gallup-certified strengths coach, she was ranked a “World Class Manager” by Gallup while at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram as deputy managing editor. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Northwestern and a master’s in journalism from TCU.

Caroline Ceniza-Levine
Ceniza-Levine is a career and business expert as an executive coach, writer, speaker and co-founder of SixFigureStart career coaching, a real estate and early retirement blog. She has coached executives from Amazon, American Express, Condé Nast, Goldman Sachs, Google, McKinsey, Tesla and other leading firms. Before launching SixFigureStart in 2008, she spent 15 years in strategy consulting, executive search and human relations. She has been a repeat guest on CBS, CNN, CNBC and Fox Business and quoted in major media outlets, including BusinessWeek, Entrepreneur, Fast Company, Fortune, Success and NPR. She is a career columnist for and previously wrote for,, CNBC and Portfolio. She is an adjunct teaching professional development and negotiation courses at Columbia. She has a bachelor’s in music and economics from Barnard.

Paul Conforti
Conforti is chief marketing officer of Ocean State Job Lot, a privately-held closeout retailer with 131 stores in the Northeast and sales exceeding $680 million. He is managing partner of Encore Hospitality Group, which operates Mill’s Tavern, a five-time Wine Spectator award recipient, in Providence, R.I., and Red Stripe, a brasserie in Providence and East Greenwich. He is on the boards of Amos House in Providence and the Rhode Island Hospitality Association. He was president and co-founder of Finale Desserterie & Bakery, the country’s first upscale, dessert-focused chain. He managed call centers with Travelers and MetLife insurance companies. He has a bachelor’s in management from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and an MBA in entrepreneurship from Harvard.

Gabriel Kahn
Kahn has worked as a newspaper correspondent and editor for two decades, including 10 years at The Wall Street Journal, where he was Los Angeles bureau chief, and deputy bureau chief in Hong Kong and Rome. He has reported from more than a dozen countries on three continents. In 1998, he launched Italy Daily, a joint venture of the International Herald Tribune and Corriere della Sera, based in Milan. He has covered Congress for Roll Call and has been an editor and writer at The Forward in New York. His work has appeared in Slate, Mother Jones, Salon, The New York Times Magazine, Los Angeles Magazine, Pacific Standard, The National Law Journal, The American Prospect and other publications. In 2010, he joined USC Annenberg where he jointly runs the Media, Economics and Entrepreneurship program. He launched the economics and business reporting track in the Masters in Specialized Journalism program. He has a bachelor’s in Italian language and literature from Stanford.

Zeba Khan
Khan is a writer and commentator focused on the intersection of race, identity and politics. As a 2018 John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford, she studied diversity in the media and led design thinking projects in private and academic institutions through its Hasso Plattner Institute of Design. She continues to focus on human-centered design, working on projects including co-designing Facebook’s journalism festival Accelerate and teaching a design thinking course at Northwestern. She has a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Middle Eastern studies from the University of Chicago.

Jinah Kim
Kim is a part-time correspondent for NBC News in Los Angeles. She is founder and executive producer of WorldWise Productions, a video company specializing in education, training and marketing for corporate and health-care clients. She created patent-pending commercial products, including an easy wash children’s car-seat cover. She is a past president of the Asian American Journalists Association’s Los Angeles and San Diego chapters. Born in Seoul, she immigrated with her family at age 6. Her first full-time job was at KTLA-TV in Los Angeles while finishing her last year at UCLA. She speaks, reads and writes in Korean, German and Spanish. She has a bachelor’s in English literature from UCLA.

Arthur Korteweg
Korteweg is a financial economist whose research interests include corporate finance, private equity and alternative assets. His work in corporate finance aims to quantify costs and benefits of corporate borrowing. In private equity research, he focuses on investment decisions in alternative asset classes such as venture capital, leveraged buyout, real estate and art. His work has been published in leading academic journals and cited in The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, The New York Times, Forbes and other publications. Before joining USC Marshall School of Business in 2014, he was an associate professor of finance at Stanford Graduate School of Business. He has a master’s in economics from Tilburg University and another in business administration, and a Ph.D. in finance from the University of Chicago

Joe Lambert
Lambert founded and is executive director of the Center for Digital Storytelling (now StoryCenter) in 1994. He and colleagues developed the Digital Storytelling Workshop, a computer training and arts program. He and his staff have traveled to the 50 states and some 48 countries to spread the practice of digital storytelling. He is the author of “Digital Storytelling: Capturing Lives, Creating Community” and “Seven Stages: Story and the Human Experience.” In 2018, he celebrated his 35th year as an executive director as his performing arts work in the 1980s evolved to digital storytelling and media education in the 1990s. He has a bachelor’s degree in business from Texas and another in dramatic arts from UC Berkeley.

Susan Leath
Leath is founder and president of The Leath Consultant Group, a management consulting firm focused on helping organizations to operate more effectively, identify and develop revenue streams, establish and activate a strong communication strategy and build relationships with external stakeholders. Her media career spans two decades, most recently as regional president of USA Today Networks media groups in Delaware and Maryland. She lectures in media management and public policy, and public relations case studies at the University of North Carolina and in media ethics at North Carolina Central University. She is on the boards of Carolina Public Press and Public Media NC (UNC-TV) Black Issues Forum Advisory Council. She was president and publisher of the Centre Daily Times in State College, Pa., and held advertising positions at the Tampa Bay Times and three newspapers in The New York Times Regional Media Group.

Dickson Louie
Track Executive-in-Residence: Media Entrepreneurship

Louie is principal of Louie & Associates, a Bay Area consultancy providing strategic planning, competitive analysis and executive development services to startups, nonprofits and Fortune 500 companies. He is co-founder, president and CEO of Time Capsule Press, a publishing imprint focusing on creating books from archival material. He has over 25 years of professional management experience in news media, having worked as a planning and business development executive at the Los Angeles Times, the San Francisco Chronicle and The Mercury News in San Jose. At those, he helped to oversee launch of the Ventura County and Valley editions at the Times and the Viet Mercury Vietnamese-language weekly at the Mercury News. On the Times Mirror corporate staff, he oversaw finances of its $2 billion newspaper division. He was a research associate at Harvard Business School, where he authored over 20 management case studies for the second-year MBA course. He is an adjunct at UC Davis Graduate School of Management and the Executive MBA Program at San Francisco State. He has a bachelor’s in business administration from California State, East Bay and an MBA in finance, marketing and statistics from the University of Chicago. He is on the Maynard Institute board.

Denise Malan
Malan is senior training director at Investigative Reporters & Editors. She was a newspaper journalist for more than a decade, covering government, education, politics, the environment and more. She was a reporter and data/investigative editor at the Corpus Christi Caller-Times and joined IRE in 2013 in a joint position with the Institute for Nonprofit News, helping newsrooms nationwide to use data in their reporting. She became an IRE training director in 2016. She has a bachelor’s in journalism/physics from Arkansas and a master’s in data science & analytics from Missouri.

Emmanuel Martinez
Martinez is a data reporter for Reveal, the nationally broadcast public radio show and investigative reporting podcast created by The Center for Investigative Reporting. He is based in Reveal’s Emeryville, Calif., office. Previously, he interned for KPCC, the Los Angeles NPR affiliate, where he helped reporters acquire, clean and analyze data. He has a bachelor’s degree from UC Irvine and a master’s degree from the University of Southern California, where he studied radio and data journalism.

Tom Nixon
Nixon is a speaker, speaker coach, author and founder of Ready2Speak Online Courses. For more than 15 years, he has helped businesses of all sizes and types create and deliver clear, powerful presentations. His clients have included Georgia-Pacific, Emory University, Coca-Cola, Habitat for Humanity and Visa International. As a presentation designer and speaker coach, he has helped senior executives, hall of fame speakers and subject-matter experts clarify their messages to inspire and motivate audiences. His book, “Fix Your Lousy PowerPoint! Over 100 tips, tricks and ideas for creating brilliant PowerPoint presentations!”, is a culmination of his long career as a speaker and presentation designer. It is an in-depth look at how anyone can create and deliver visuals to an audience in an effective and engaging way.

Nadine Selden
Selden has had a 30-plus year career as research manager at The Seattle Times, where she now works part-time as a researcher, the Mercury News in San Jose and the Press-Telegram in Long Beach. She did international development work for the Red Cross in Cambodia, the Balkans and Turkey. Her experience includes market research, multi-language polling, development of Spanish and Vietnamese editions, and ethnographic research and analytics of the interplay of print and digital audiences. She has a bachelor’s in journalism and business from California State University, Long Beach, has done graduate work in social science at the University of California, Irvine, and had fellowships at Syracuse and Cornell.

Virgil Smith
Track Executive-in-Residence: Advanced Leadership

Smith is former president and publisher of the Asheville Citizen Times. His career spans 20 years with McClatchy and 24 with Gannett. At Gannett, he was vice president of talent management, talent acquisition and diversity. In 2015, he retired and launched Smith Edwards Group, LLC. He is the principal consultant and works professionally with the Asian American Journalists Association, Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation and 21st Century Fox/Fox News. He has a bachelor’s degree in human resources/professional development and a master’s in human resources and organizational development from the University of San Francisco.

Roxann Stafford
Roxann Stafford brings together the worlds of social impact, entrepreneurship and design thinking. Her background in mechanical engineering, business, and psychology combines the analytical rigor and empathy necessary for sustainable systems design. She is the Managing Director of the Knight-Lenfest Local News Transformation Fund, a newly formed fund by the Knight Foundation and the Lenfest Institute for Journalism designed to strengthen local journalism at scale, with a focus on journalistic excellence and serving the information needs of communities in the U.S.
She was previously the Director of Program (NYC) for Matter, a startup accelerator and venture capital firm grounded in the principles of design thinking that supports early-stage media entrepreneurs and mission-aligned media institutions building scalable ventures that make society more informed, inclusive, and empathetic. Roxann continues to be passionate about redefining the VC and entrepreneurship landscape. At SecondMuse, as Director of Design & Learning, she worked on a variety of collaborations including LAUNCH, National Day of Civic Hacking, Internet Freedom, community building around green spaces and strategic guidance for developing a sustainable apparel and footwear industry. Prior to joining SecondMuse, she was a consultant at FSG where she developed strategies, evaluation plans, and implementation plans in Shared Value and Collective Impact. As a Senior Associate at Jump Associates, an innovation and growth strategy firm that specializes in discovering new opportunities for growth, she worked with visionary organizations, including HP, Target, and the Kellogg Foundation, to identify new markets, reinvent existing categories, and develop new sources of revenue. Roxann’s expertise in linking human needs with tech solutions has helped her clients develop robust strategies and successfully bring numerous products to market. She also worked as a Teaching Fellow and Guest Lecturer at the Stanford University School of Engineering and There she taught Needfinding, the art of empathy-based innovation and creative strategic planning, to both undergraduate and graduate students and most recently taught in Fall 2018 of Design for Influence. Roxann has extensive international experience identifying big system problems in regions from the Pacific Islands to East Africa to the Caribbean, and cultivating opportunities for entrepreneurship to solve those issues. She has been named a tech innovator by NPR, for whom she has been a commentator on diversity, inclusion and innovation. Roxann earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Product Design from Stanford University and an M.B.A. from Duke University, with concentrations in social entrepreneurship and strategy.

A.C. Thompson
Thompson is a staff reporter with ProPublica. His stories, which often examine the criminal justice system, have helped lead to exoneration of two San Francisco men sentenced to life in prison, and to prosecution of seven New Orleans police officers. In addition to working as a print and web journalist, he has reported extensively for television as a producer and correspondent for Frontline, the PBS documentary series. His life was fictionalized on the HBO show “Treme.”

Francisco Vara-Orta
Vara-Orta brought 17 years of newsroom experience to his role in February as training director at Investigative Reporters & Editors. Previously, he was a national reporter and data specialist at Chalkbeat, and a data specialist, staff writer and contributing writer at Education Week. He was a staff writer at the San Antonio Express-News, Austin Business Journal, Los Angeles Business Journal and the Los Angeles Times, and a reporter at the Austin American-Statesman. He has a bachelor’s in English/Communication Arts from St. Mary’s University and a master’s in investigative/data journalism from Missouri.

Joy Vermillion-Heinsohn
Vermillion-Heinsohn is assistant director of the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation and responsible for managing its All For NC: Framework for Grantmaking and Learning. She leads the foundation’s Exploratory, Visionary Ideas Strategy. She joined ZSR in 1998 has led its strategic planning processes. Previously, she completed internships in the North Carolina governor’s office and The White House. She has served on the boards of trustees and visitors of Wake Forest University, the state’s Equal Access to Justice Commission, the board of the Environmental Grantmakers Association, the steering committee of the Funders’ Committee for Civic Participation and was a founding member of the boards of the NC Network of Grantmakers, the NC Center for Afterschool Programs and the NC Civic Education Consortium. She has a bachelor’s in politics from Wake Forest and a master’s in public administration from Harvard.

Maynard Institute Executive Team

Odette Alcazaren-Keeley
Alcazaren-Keeley is a strategic diversity communications and media executive, a principal and co-founder of CKO+ Media, a multicultural media consultancy group headquartered in the Bay Area. A broadcast journalist whose career spans 20-plus years in the United States and the Philippines, she is director of Maynard 200 and was a consultant for the Democracy Fund. At New America Media, she was national media network director, television and radio news anchor/executive producer and chair and co-emcee of its Ethnic Media Awards. She hosted and produced NAM’s weekly radio segment in the Bay Area, the TV show “New America Now” and its monthly TV news magazine. In the 9/11 aftermath, she led the group launching the U.S. news bureau of The Filipino Channel of ABS-CBN International. She was simultaneously news executive producer, co-­anchor and head writer for Balitang America, the network’s flagship newscast. She also served as a reporter, associate producer and head writer in ABS-CBN International’s parent network, ABS-CBN Channel 2 in the Philippines. She is a board trustee of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy and a board adviser for the Filipino Food Movement. She has a bachelor’s in mass communication from the University of the Philippines Diliman.

Evelyn Hsu
Hsu is co-executive director, programming and operations at the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education. She joined the institute in 2004 as director of programs and most recently was senior director for programs and operations. She was a reporter at the San Francisco Chronicle and The Washington Post. She was an associate director of the American Press Institute and a faculty member at the Poynter Institute. Evelyn is a past national president of the Asian American Journalists Association and a graduate of the Maynard Institute’s Summer Program for Minority Journalists. She is a board member of the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation, which supports the educational mission of the Society of Professional Journalists. She has a bachelor’s degree in history from UC Berkeley.

Martin G. Reynolds
Track Executive-in-Residence: Storytelling

Reynolds is co-executive director, external affairs and funding at the Maynard Institute. Previously, he was a senior fellow for strategic planning for the institute, helping to oversee planning and implementation of the MIJE Re-Imagined project. He is co-founder of Oakland Voices, a community storytelling project training residents as community correspondents. He was named Digital First Media Innovator of the Year for his work on the project. He was senior editor for community engagement and training for Bay Area News Group, where his career spanned 18 years, and editor-in-chief of the Oakland Tribune from 2008-11. He was a lead editor on the Chauncey Bailey Project, formed in 2007 to investigate the slaying of the former Oakland Post editor and Tribune reporter. He is director of Reveal Investigative Fellowships from the Center for Investigative Reporting. He has helped to raise more than $1 million from foundations to support reporting and community engagement initiatives. He conducts Fault Lines diversity training programs for media companies, colleges and universities. He has a bachelor’s in journalism from San Francisco State.

Bill Celis
Bill Celis is an associate professor of journalism at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California. He previously worked as a national correspondent for The New York Times and as a reporter and columnist for The Wall Street Journal. At USC, he has served as an associate dean and as an associate director, leading curriculum and assessment revisions in undergraduate and graduate degree programs. He managed the journalism school’s graduate admissions, international programs, student affairs, and helped oversee the role and use of technology in the school’s curriculum. In 2010-2011, he led the Annenberg Diversity Initiative, which produced 11 recommendations to improve diversity, inclusion and climate efforts at the school. The report, and the results it inspired, won USC Annenberg the 2012 AEJMC Equity and Diversity Award. Celis received the 2018 ASNE Barry Bingham Sr. Fellowship, awarded to a U.S. journalism educator who advances diversity. He also won the 2011 USC Provost’s Prize for Teaching with Technology and received a 2007 outstanding Instructor award from the Annenberg Graduate Student Association. Celis is the author of “Battle Rock: The Struggle Over A One-Room School In America’s Vanishing West” [PublicAffairs, 2003], included on two year-end reading lists, and is completing a second book about the intersection of civil rights and public education told around the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court case, San Antonio v. Rodriguez. Before joining the Maynard board in 2017, he served on the Institute’s advisory committee for editing and on the Institute’s strategic planning committee.