Participants in the Public Media Diversity Leaders Initiative greet each other.

Arizona PBS GM among first-ever graduates of Public Media Diversity Leaders Initiative

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Participants in the Public Media Diversity Leaders Initiative greet each other.Participants in the Public Media Diversity Leaders Initiative greet each other. Photo courtesy of The Riley Institute at Furman University.

As public media leaders nationwide navigate how to best foster diversity and equity in their workplaces and communities, new Arizona PBS general manager Adrienne Fairwell is among the first group to participate in a program exploring opportunities and challenges related to diversity, equity and inclusion.

Today, 31 public media professionals from across the country were part of the inaugural class to graduate from the Public Media Diversity Leaders Initiative (PMDLI), a program of the Riley Institute® at Furman University offered in partnership with South Carolina ETV and modeled after the Institute’s award-winning South Carolina Diversity Leaders Initiative.

Over the course of three months, participants took part in a highly interactive curriculum comprising scenario analyses and other experiential learning tools that supports public media leaders in their efforts to apply diversity, equity and inclusion principles to behaviors, systems and cultures within their organizations.

“Today’s heightened awareness of racial and other inequities in American institutions has magnified and accelerated organizational and stakeholder expectations that public media leaders establish diversity, equity and inclusion as core values within their organizations,” said Anthony Padgett, president and CEO of South Carolina ETV. “Recognizing that, we are proud to partner with the Riley Institute to offer this unique virtual program to our peers from across the country.”

Graduates of PMDLI become Public Media Diversity Fellows and will help identify future program participants. Collectively, they reflect a vast public media ecosystem, representing both television and radio as well as a variety of geographic regions, audiences, affiliate organizations and diversity dimensions. A second PMDLI class will start the program in September.

“This experience has been an invaluable opportunity to really dive into these crucial topics with my peers across the public media system,” said Arizona PBS general manager Adrienne Fairwell. “As a public service, the mission of Arizona PBS is to support the communities that rely on us, so the more inclusive we are able to be, the better.”

“The Riley Institute is proud to play a role in connecting a network of public media professionals who are committed to managing, leading and meeting the needs of increasingly diverse workers, clients and audiences,” said Dr. Donald Gordon, executive director of the Riley Institute. “We look forward to seeing the positive impact this program will have in communities across the country.”

Below are the graduates of the inaugural PMDLI class. For more information about PMDLI, visit

Steve Bass
President and CEO
Oregon Public Broadcasting
Portland, OR

Kenneth Brown
Chief People Officer
Public Broadcasting Atlanta (ATL PBA-TV & WABE 90.1FM)
Atlanta, GA

Amy Burkett
General Manager
PBS Charlotte WTVI
Charlotte, NC

Jim Dunford
Senior Vice President, Station Services
Arlington, VA

Susi Elkins
General Manager
WKAR Public Media
East Lansing, MI

Adrienne Fairwell
General Manager
Arizona PBS
Phoenix, AZ

Cynthia Fenneman
President and CEO
American Public Television
Kittery, ME

Stephanie Frazier
Interim Assistant General Manager
Columbia, SC

Stephen Gong
Executive Director
Center for Asian American Media
San Francisco, CA

Debbie Hamlett
Chief Strategy Officer
Nebraska Public Media
Lincoln, NE

Phil Hoffman
Executive Director
Orlando, FL

Kerri Hoffman
Cambridge, MA

Laura Hunter
Station Manager
Salt Lake City, UT

Avery Hutchins
Station Manager
Cookeville, TN

Eric Hyyppa
National Educational Telecommunications Association (NETA)
Columbia, SC

Michael Isip
President and CEO
Oakland, CA

Jaime Jiménez
General Manager
Los Angeles, CA

Franz Joachim
General Manager and CEO
New Mexico PBS
Albuquerque, NM

Darren LaShelle
President and CEO
Northern California Public Media
Rohnert Park, CA

Joyce MacDonald
President and CEO
Greater Public
Catonsville, MD

Deanna Mackey
Public Television Major Market Group
La Jolla, CA

Emil Mara
VP, Finance, Administration and Membership
America’s Public Television Stations (APTS)
Arlington, VA

Kate Midgett
Senior Director of Organizational Excellence
Nine PBS
St. Louis, MO

Jon Miskowski
Director of Television
PBS Wisconsin
Madison, WI

Amanda Mountain
President and CEO
Rocky Mountain PBS/Rocky Mountain Public Media
Denver, CO

Anthony Padgett
Columbia, SC

Amy Shaw
President and CEO
Nine PBS
St. Louis, MO

Angee Simmons
VP, Content
National Educational Telecommunications Association (NETA)
Columbia, SC

Gary Stokes
President and General Manager
Spokane, WA

Ed Ulman
President and CEO
Alaska Public Media
Anchorage, AK

Stewart Vanderwilt
Colorado Public Radio
Centennial, CO

About the Riley Institute at Furman University

Furman University’s Richard W. Riley Institute advances social and economic progress in South Carolina and beyond by building leadership for a diverse society, hosting expert speakers to broaden perspectives on critical issues, supporting public education, and creating knowledge through community solutions-focused research. It is committed to nonpartisanship in all it does and to a rhetoric-free, facts-based approach to change. Learn more at

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