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Press Release

December 7, 2022

Alliance for Women in Media Honors Eight Female Leaders at the Gracies Leadership Awards

Photos and video from the event can be found here.

November 14, 2022 (New York, New York) – The Alliance for Women in Media (AWM) hosted the Gracies Leadership Awards luncheon, back for the first time in person after three years, Monday, November 14 at the Tribeca 360° in New York City.  Keynote speaker Soledad O’Brien inspired the audience and referenced the honorees in the room as representing “Stories not just of grit, vision, and opportunity, but of women helping women and celebrating women and the story of how those women didn’t forget that they got into media to elevate people and issues and struggles that were not in the spotlight.” She continued, “When I look around this room, I know we are in great hands. So, let’s reach out to each other and make change happen, let’s have each other’s backs.

Seven female leaders in media were honored at the event, along with the AWM Legacy Leadership recipient, Valerie Blackburn.  Highlights from the speeches include:

  • Valerie Blackburn, AWM Legacy Leadership Award recipient, began her remarks by referencing the pivotal role her family made in her life and career and continued, “Most of you know I have been gifted with a larger extended family, many in this room, and largely in part to AWM. It’s difficult to articulate what AWM has meant to me professionally and personally- even though I am merely a blip in these 70 years, being involved has been one of the greatest journeys of my life.”  
  • Nancy Daniels, Chief of Content, NTets, Discovery, Animal Planet &Science Channeldiscussed leadership and what it means to her, “The best leaders that I encountered in my career always led by example, they always showed up, they expect a lot, but they also give a lot in return-mentorship, experience, and they give opportunity.” 
  • In accepting the honor, Marie Donoghue, Vice President, Global Sports Video, Amazon, said, “Being a woman in sports can be an amazing career- but it can also be lonely and challenging. I’ve always relied on my own mini alliance, we came up together and supported each other in so many ways, we lift each other up, amplify each other, celebrate each other. Most importantly, we’ve got each other.
  • Kim Godwin, President, ABC News began her acceptance speech referring to the late Gracie Allen and the meaning of grace.  She continued in referencing the many “she-ros” in her life, “For every person who didn’t see me, there was one who did, for every person who denied me an opportunity, there was someone who gave me one, and because someone gave me a chance, I have decided I will give others a chance, and because someone invested in me, I will invest in others.”
  • Wendy Goldberg, Chief Communications Officer, iHeartMedia,Inc. focused on the importance of mentorship and the women around her, saying, “Instead of seeing it through my own leaders or mentors, I saw it from the people I had around me. So, for me, this award is really about them- their generosity, their talent and their example… I’m inspired by them, I respect them, I’m often in awe of them.”
  • Chesley Maddox-Dorsey, CEO, A wonder Media Company (AWMC, LLC) said, “For me business is personal, disruptive, and a force for transformative change.” She spoke directly to all the women and students beginning their media careers, “My advice is, be curious, learn, improve- we need you, we need your creativity, we need your unique perspectives, we need you to take up the gauntlet.”
  • Debra OConnell, President, Networks, Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution, said during her acceptance, “Yesterday I received a gift, it was a t-shirt that said- ‘As Strong As The Woman Next To Me’- I feel very strong with all of the women next to me today.” OConnell continued, “We have the opportunity to share stories of strong exceptional women, and we take this responsibility so seriously to message to our communities, the importance of women representation and inclusivity.”
  • Dawn Porter, Founder, Trilogy Films, said upon receiving her honor, “We are a small but mighty group of strong women (and a very few men). I trace my earliest professional inspiration to women like Kerry Smith from ABC News who showed me that integrity is central to everything. The women I work with now are smart, capable and fun. I know that I could never do everything I do without their wisdom and grace.”

 “It is an exciting day to celebrate women who have reached the top. They are inspiring and showing how women continue to make an impact in executive suites and boardrooms,” said Becky Brooks, President, AWM/F.

 “This is a pivotal event for us because it covers all three of our pillars- it’s recognition, it’s education, and it’s connection,” added Heather Cohen, Chair, Alliance for Women in Media Foundation. “We shine a light on exceptional women in media- those who have shattered glass ceilings and proven their leadership and notable today, what an honor to have Soledad O’Brien, one of the greatest storytellers of our time as our keynote.”

Sponsors of the event include Google News Initiative, ABC News, AURN-American Urban Radio Networks, Clear Channel Outdoor, Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution, Hallmark Media, iHeartMedia, KatzMedia Group, Mattel, NCTA-The Internet & Television Association, Warner Bros. Discovery, and Sony Pictures Television.


About the Alliance for Women in Media (AWM): The Alliance for Women in Media connects, recognizes and inspires women across the media industry. AWM is a diverse community – whether type of media, job or global location – that facilitates industry-wide collaboration, education, and innovation. Established in 1951 as American Women in Radio & Television (AWRT), AWM is the longest-established professional association dedicated to advancing women in media and entertainment. AWM harnesses the promise, passion and power of women in all forms of media to empower career development, engage in thought leadership, and drive positive change for our industry and societal progress.

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