Emerging Leaders Institute Virtual Event

 October 6, 13, 19 & 27
11 a.m. - 2 p.m. PT / 2 - 5 p.m. ET

We believe it is essential to support and prepare community media leaders for the future. In the face of major disruption, where is our potential for evolution and transformation?

The Community Media Emerging Leaders Institute enables community media leaders with diverse backgrounds and perspectives to come together as a community of learners for personal growth and renewal. 

Participants can expect to reflect on leadership strengths and challenges in a changing community media landscape; explore and apply a racial equity leadership framework; develop a leadership manifesto; and participate in a supportive peer group of community media leaders from across the U.S.

The Institute includes four, virtual, interactive workshops, plus peer coaching, and will be led by Paula Manley and Toni Tabora-Roberts, non-profit consultants and community builders with deep roots in community media, media arts and leadership development. 


Four 3-hour workshops over successive weeks (Oct. 6, 13, 19 & 27 from 2 - 5 p.m. ET and 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. PT)
Three peer coaching groups (3 people per group for approximately 1 hour each for a total of 3 hours), and
A follow up interview with Institute Faculty - required (20 mins).


Managers and coordinators in program, administrative or operations roles
Executive Directors and Co-Directors
Board members
Others who desire to develop their leadership potential in a supportive community

COST: $200 per participant.


“It was empowering to realize that I am an emerging leader in this industry: ELI was an opportunity to come together, talk about big questions with peers, have conversations with people across diverse organizations, and think about the trajectory of our industry rather than just my own organization.”
"The Emerging Leaders Institute was an incredibly valuable experience. It was an excellent mix of individual reflection and group work, which included opportunities to evaluate and develop my own personal leadership... I walked away with practical tools and resources and a new network of friends and colleagues."

“The Institute was professional, encouraging, supportive, and respectful. I think about leadership differently now, with a better understanding of my style and how to create synergies with colleagues who manage differently…. I benefited tremendously from learning from other community media groups, for example how they are working with funding challenges, pivoting to smaller footprints, and evolving community engagement.”
"Learning in community with a diverse group of participants was super useful – to understand their different contexts and geographies. Having the mix of large and small group discussion and then peer coaching groups to go deeper gave me so much perspective to inform my decisions.”  


Reflect on your personal leadership strengths and challenges in the context of a changing landscape for community media
Explore an anti-racist framework to inform personal goal-setting and the development of a “leadership manifesto” to guide your next chapter as a community media leader
Participate in a supportive peer group of community media leaders from across the country, and
Share highlights from the Institute experience within the field, which may include a short video, blog, or case study to be disseminated via ACM social media and website.


11 hours of activities, plus 1-2 hours of individual pre-assigned homework. This includes: 

Four 3 hour workshops over four successive weeks (Oct. 6, 13, 19, 27 / 2 -5 pm ET)
Three between sessions peer coaching groups (3 people per group for approximately 1 hour each for a total of 3 hours), and 
A follow up interview with an Institute facilitator (30 minutes). 

The ACM Foundation recognizes that all community media leaders are in a state of "emergence" in this unprecedented time. The Institute is designed for community media leaders at all levels who want to rise to new challenges, including: 

Managers and coordinators in program, administrative or operations roles
Executive Directors, Co-Directors
Board members
Others who desire to develop their leadership potential in a supportive community


Paula Manley is a nonprofit consultant, educator, and community builder with deep roots in the media arts. She is the founder of Paula Manley Consulting. Her work is fueled by the power of story, drawing on a background in journalism and documentary video production. For 15 years (2000-2015), she co-founded and co-facilitated a national Media Arts Leadership Institute, in partnership with the National Alliance for Arts + Culture (currently the Alliance for Arts + Culture), to support the development of leaders at all levels in media arts organizations. She developed and presented a similar institute for multi-disciplinary arts leaders in partnership with the Alliance of Artists Communities and the Atlantic Center for the Arts (2010-2012). Other recent cohort-style leadership development projects include: Executives Leading for Equity and Inclusion (with Nonprofit Association of Oregon members) and Diversity-Equity-Inclusion Leadership Development Cohort (with Meyer Memorial Trust grantees).

Paula’s approach to training and leadership development is informed by extensive practical knowledge gleaned from experience over three decades as an executive director, interim executive director, network builder, program director, and board leader. She has served in program and executive leadership roles in Texas and Oregon, including Austin Community Television, Tualatin Valley Community Access, and Open Signal (formerly Portland Community Media). Paula has also consulted with many media arts organizations including Aurora Picture Show, Houston Cinema Arts Society, Austin Film Society, Columbia Film Society/Nickelodeon Theater, and Wisdom of the Elders. She is also an avid kayaker based in Portland, OR, who believes in the power of creativity and the arts to catalyze a re-imagined future grounded in love and justice.

Toni Tabora-Roberts has more than 20 years of experience working in the nonprofit and private sectors in a variety of roles, with expertise in leadership development, program management, communications, community engagement, and organizational development. She founded Esper House, a management, project, and communications consultancy in 2015. She has particular content experience and passion for arts, culture, media, education, sustainability, and social justice. With a strong DEI lens informing her work, Tabora-Roberts’ approach with organizations is grounded in team-based collaboration, interpersonal connections, experiential engagement, and culturally responsive, strengths-based facilitation. 

Significant areas of interest include leadership development program design and delivery, and leadership coaching and consulting. Her team is collaborating with the City of Portland’s Bureau of Human Resources to design and deliver pilot leadership development programs for a cohort of emerging leaders and for the city’s managers and supervisors. She is the co-designer/co-facilitator of Regional Arts & Culture Council’s (RACC’s) board training program, Art of Leadership, and was the co-producer/co-facilitator of Arts Workers for Equity’s Racial Equity in the Arts Self-Assessment Learning Circle. 

She has worked with diverse client and organizations including Alliance for Community Media, City Club of Portland, Media Rites/Theatre Diaspora, Meyer Memorial Trust, Mt Hood Cable Regulatory Commission, Oregon Metro, Oregon Public Broadcasting, Portland Parks Foundation, Shaking the Tree Theatre, Unit Souzou taiko. She is former Board Chair and is a current board member for APANO Communities United Fund, and is a core member of Arts Workers for Equity. She has previously served with City Club of Portland’s Friday Forum Committee, on the Program Committee with Partners in Diversity, and as Board Vice Chair at Bitch Media. 

Toni is also a mama, creative, and explorer with her daughter and husband in Portland, OR.


$200 per participant. Application deadline is September 1st. Once applicants have been selected, applicants will be invoiced.