Any Glennon (far left) and Keith Herndon (far right) congratulate the 2019 Levin Leaders. Photo: Sarah E. Freeman
Inaugural class of Levin Leaders recognized at Cox Institute’s Spring Leadership Dinner
The James M. Cox Jr. Institute for Journalism Innovation, Management and Leadership at Grady College recognized its inaugural class of Levin Leaders on March 4, 2019, presenting the 15 aspiring media leaders with the Cox Institute’s Leadership Medal. The Cox Institute’s Industry Fellow award and five departmental scholarships representing outstanding achievement were also presented.
The Levin Leaders were selected for the leadership program from a pool of faculty nominations based on their commitment to professional development through work in student media, internships and other student activities. They are: Collin Huguley, Danny McArthur, Taylor Maggiore, Christina Matacotta, Kelly Mayes, Skylar Nicholson, Brittany Paris, Myan Patel, Casey Rose, Kelsey Russo, Erin Schilling, Alexander Soderstrom, Alexandra Travis, Ashlyn Webb and Rebecca Wright.
These students, family, faculty and guests gathered at the University of Georgia’s Special Collections Library for a dinner ceremony where the students heard from the Amy Glennon, Grady class of 1990, who has served this year as the Cox Institute’s Industry Fellow.
“In the end, this is an exceedingly human business,” said Glennon, who had a 24-year-career with Cox Media Group and was the first woman to serve as publisher of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “And leading in this industry requires connecting to people.”
During the scholarship presentations, Erin Schilling and Rebecca Wright were awarded Conrad C. Fink Scholarships; Alexander Soderstrom received the Todd M. Bauer Memorial Award and Casey Rose received the first Barry Hollander Award. Charlotte Norsworthy, who will graduate in May, was named the Morris Media Fellow, which includes an assistantship for continuing her studies at the master’s level at Grady.
Since its inception seven years ago, the Cox Institute’s leadership training program has taught 100 of Grady’s best journalism students about leadership principles. This year the program was renamed the Levin Leaders Initiative to reflect the generous support provided by Adam Levin, his wife Heather McDowell, and the Philip and Janice Levin Foundation. The Levin family’s support provides for curriculum development, training materials, speaker expenses, experiential learning opportunities and the annual awards banquet. Levin is a nationally recognized expert on cyber security, privacy, identity theft, fraud, and personal finance. He is chairman and founder of CyberScout and was co-founder of Credit.com. He authored the critically acclaimed book, “Swiped: How to Protect Yourself in a World Full of Scammers, Phishers, and Identity Thieves.”
The students participating in the leadership program met weekly during January and February with Dr. Keith Herndon, professor of practice in journalism and director of the Cox Institute. The sessions featured student discussion leaders guiding conversations about leadership principles drawn from the “Your Leadership Edge” book published by the Kansas Leadership Center.
The students said they found value in leadership discussions with their peers, especially in the context of news and media professions.
“The best part, hands down, was getting to have down-to-earth chats as a group about great topics that forced us to think,” said Myan Patel. Alexandra Travis said, “This program has taught me that there are so many ways to be a leader, and my style is just as valid as others.” Danny McArthur said being a Levin Leader has given her more confidence. “While the stereotypical idea of being a leader is often about how many important positions you hold, this program taught me that . . . I can be a leader with whatever I do,” she said.
The program’s emphasis on introspection resonated with the participants. “It was a good time for reflection, to think about who I am, how I do things and why I do them,” said Kelly Mayes. Kelsey Russo added, “It has been an incredible program where I have learned so much about myself.”