ONA Board of Directors elects new officers
By Karolle Rabarison
The Online News Association is pleased to introduce the new group of officers leading the Board of Directors: David Smydra, President; Charo Henríquez, Vice President; Rodney Gibbs, Treasurer; and Anita Li, Secretary. In addition, Shazna Nessa will serve as Immediate Past President and is the first to hold this role as an official board seat.
The Board of Directors voted on these positions at the Jan. 20-21 meeting, and officers assumed their roles immediately. The President and Vice President will hold office for two-year terms, while the Treasurer and Secretary will serve one-year terms. The Immediate Past President will support board continuity as a non-voting member for a one-year term.
David Smydra, President, has focused his career on bridging gaps between editorial quality, product, audience development and algorithmic design. He is currently a Senior Curation Lead at Twitter, where he oversees design and strategic initiatives related to human-in-the-loop machine learning systems. David joined the ONA board in 2014 and is the longest serving member among the 2022-23 directors. His many contributions to ONA including serving as co-chair of the ONA15 conference, chair of the Online Journalism Awards from 2016–2018, Board Treasurer from 2018-2019 and mostly recently Board Vice-President from 2020-2021.
Shazna Nessa, Immediate Past President, is the Global Head of Visuals for The Wall Street Journal, where she leads strategy for unique digital experiences and visual journalism and oversees teams specializing in areas such as data visualization, photography, cartography and design. Shazna joined the ONA board in 2018 and served as Secretary and vice-chair of the Awards Committee through 2019. She was elected in 2020 to a two-year term as President, during which she contributed strategic guidance and forward-thinking energy as ONA adapted programs and launched new initiatives in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Charo Henríquez, Vice President, is the Editor, Newsroom Development and Support at The New York Times, leading a team focused on culture change in the newsroom. Charo is a strong advocate for inclusion of people from traditionally underrepresented backgrounds in media leadership. As a longtime ONA member, she frequently contributes expertise and inspiration to ONA’s programs and events, including as a speaker and mentor for the Women’s Leadership Accelerator since 2017. Charo joined the ONA board in 2018 and served as Secretary in 2021.
Rodney Gibbs, Treasurer, is the Senior Director, Strategy and Innovation, at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Rodney is a media leader working at the intersection of business, content and technology. He has an impressive record launching innovative news products and growing revenue across platforms, including in his role as The Texas Tribune’s first Chief Product Officer from 2012-2019. In 2020, he launched the Tribune’s Revenue Lab and helped train hundreds of news organizations to develop sustainable products and practices. Rodney joined the board in 2019 and is serving a second term as Treasurer.
Anita Li, Secretary, is the Founder, CEO and Editor-in-Chief of The Green Line, a local digital news outlet based in Toronto. Anita has over a decade of experience as a multi-platform journalist and media consultant, with specialties in journalism business models, community engagement and innovation. She teaches journalism at Ryerson University and Centennial College in Toronto, and coaches media executives and news entrepreneurs at the City University of New York. Anita joined the board in 2020 and is taking on her first officer position.