In December 2021, the newest group of Southeastern local news organizations will begin the UNC-Knight Table Stakes Initiative. In this program, newsroom leaders will define and tackle challenges using a performance-driven framework to craft innovative solutions.
In anticipation of the fifth cohort’s kickoff, the Center for Innovation and Sustainability in Local Media talked with each of the new coaches, independent advisors who will help guide the news organizations throughout the process.
Meet Felecia Henderson, one of five coaches selected for the upcoming cohort.
CISLM: What’s your day job and what does that involve?
Felecia Henderson: I am the Director of Cultural Competency for the Maynard Institute. In that role, I work as a coach/facilitator on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) for news organizations participating in all Table Stakes programs. I also serve as a diversity consultant and lead Maynard’s signature Fault Lines training program.
CISLM: Have you participated in a Table Stakes program yourself? If so, which one and what was your biggest lesson learned?
FH: I have not participated with a news organization in the Table Stakes program. However, I am a 2021 Fellow of the Media Transformation Challenge Program (MTC), which is the individual version of the Table Stakes program. MTC gave me the opportunity to use the framework and performance-driven change tools for my consulting challenge.
The biggest lesson? Make sure everyone involved in a challenge is prepared to do the work. For teams with members who are focused, it is so exciting to see them accomplish process, capability, insight and outcome wins they doubted they could achieve.
CISLM: What are you most looking forward to in terms of coaching this cohort?
FH: For many years I was a writing/editing/leadership coach and led a newsroom reorganization. Now I coach and consult with newsrooms on DEIB issues. It has been personally gratifying to see people grow and organizations do the work to thrive, so I am looking forward to using that same energy and tools to help people who want to make transformational and lasting change.
CISLM: In our UNC Table Stakes program, we love to celebrate our wins, big and small. What’s your best win recently?
FH: I am coaching a senior manager who is leading a news organization in huge transformational change. This newsroom has scored so many wins that, in time, will be the model of employee engagement and greater inclusion and equity inside and outside the newsroom.