Emerging Leader Award

The Emerging Leader Award recognizes a professional, under 40 years of age, working in the field of community media, who demonstrates the values of building community through media on a consistent basis.  The individual demonstrates leadership in the field on a local, regional or national level. The award recognizes the individual for being a person who is innovative in their work to strengthen the impact of community media.

The nominee must be an ACM member to qualify for this award.

2021 Winner:Elisa Barrios, Open signal portland

Elisa Barrios, Director of Equity and Community Media, A multicultural and bilingual educator, Elisa has taught people of all ages for more than 15 years. She has worked as an arts facilitator for adults with developmental disabilities and an in-school and out-of-school curriculum director and an educator for wilderness survival programs. Elisa holds an undergraduate degree with a focus on video production and social sciences from The Evergreen State College. 

Joining Portland Community Media in 2015, Elisa has designed and led both youth and adult programs that have helped the organization evolve into Open Signal, a future-focused and boundary-pushing community media arts organization. Through her tenure with Open Signal, Elisa has been involved with the development and implementation of several equity-driven programs. She currently provides oversight on all equity and race-based work at Open Signal, and oversees community access programming. 
Elisa is also a part of a female, non-binary identifying LatinX video production collective, Girl Game Gang, that recruits predominantly BIPOC and non-binary identified emerging film industry professionals. She is also the board president and trauma-informed trainer and camp director for The Healing Circle, a summer camp for child survivors of sexual abuse.  

View acceptance speech here.

List of Winners by Year

2021 - Elisa Barrios, Open Signal Portland
2020 - Matt Sullivan, Larchmont Mamaroneck Community Television
2019 - Seth Ring, MetroEast Community Media
2018 - Melinda Garfield, Westwood Media Center and MassAccess
2017 - Andrea Capere, Thurston Community Media
2017 - Erica Jones, Somerville Media Center