Hutchins among first-ever graduates from Public Media Diversity Leaders Initiative

GREENVILLE, S.C. — As public media leaders navigate how to best foster diversity and equity in their workplaces and boards while making content inclusive for a wide array of audiences, a new program is providing them with the tools and perspectives that they can apply in their efforts.

This week, 31 public media professionals from across the country were part of the inaugural class to graduate from the Public Media Diversity Leaders Initiative (PMDLI), a program of the Riley Institute® at Furman University offered in partnership with South Carolina ETV and modeled after the Institute’s award-winning South Carolina Diversity Leaders Initiative.

WCTE’s Avery Hutchins was one of the graduates.

Over the course of three months, participants took part in a highly interactive curriculum comprising scenario analyses and other experiential learning tools that supports public media leaders in their efforts to apply diversity, equity and inclusion principles to behaviors, systems and cultures within their organizations.

“Today’s heightened awareness of racial and other inequities in American institutions has magnified and accelerated organizational and stakeholder expectations that public media leaders establish diversity, equity and inclusion as core values within their organizations,” said Anthony Padgett, president and CEO of South Carolina ETV. “Recognizing that, we are proud to partner with the Riley Institute to offer this unique virtual program to our peers from across the country.” 

Graduates of PMDLI become Public Media Diversity Fellows and will help identify future program participants. Collectively, they reflect a vast public media ecosystem, representing both television and radio as well as a variety of geographic regions, audiences, affiliate organizations and diversity dimensions. A second PMDLI class will start the program in September. 

“The Riley Institute is proud to play a role in connecting a network of public media professionals who are committed to managing, leading and meeting the needs of increasingly diverse workers, clients and audiences,” said Dr. Donald Gordon, Executive Director of the Riley Institute. “We look forward to seeing the positive impact this program will have in communities across the country.”

Below are the graduates of the inaugural PMDLI class. For more information about PMDLI, visit

Steve Bass

President and CEO

Oregon Public Broadcasting

Portland, Ore.

Kenneth Brown

Chief People Officer

Public Broadcasting Atlanta (ATL PBA-TV & WABE 90.1FM)

Atlanta, Ga.

Amy Burkett

General Manager

PBS Charlotte WTVI

Charlotte, N.C.

Jim Dunford

Senior Vice President, Station Services


Arlington, Va.

Susi Elkins

General Manager

WKAR Public Media

East Lansing, Mich.

Adrienne Fairwell

General Manager

Arizona PBS

Phoenix, Ariz.

Cynthia Fenneman

President and CEO

American Public Television

Kittery, Maine

Stephanie Frazier

Interim Assistant General Manager


Columbia, S.C.

Stephen Gong

Executive Director

Center for Asian American Media

San Francisco, Calif.

Debbie Hamlett

Chief Strategy Officer

Nebraska Public Media

Lincoln, Neb.

Phil Hoffman

Executive Director


Orlando, Fla.

Kerri Hoffman



Cambridge, Mass.

Laura Hunter

Station Manager


Salt Lake City, Utah

Avery Hutchins

Station Manager


Cookeville, Tenn.

Eric Hyyppa


National Educational Telecommunications Association (NETA)

Columbia, S.C.

Michael Isip

President and CEO


Oakland, Calif.

Jaime Jiménez

General Manager


Los Angeles, Calif.

Franz Joachim

General Manager and CEO

New Mexico PBS

Albuquerque, N.M.

Darren LaShelle

President and CEO

Northern California Public Media

Rohnert Park, Calif.

Joyce MacDonald

President and CEO

Greater Public

Catonsville, Md.

Deanna Mackey


Public Television Major Market Group

La Jolla, Calif.

Emil Mara

VP, Finance, Administration and Membership

America’s Public Television Stations (APTS)

Arlington, Va.

Kate Midgett

Senior Director of Organizational Excellence

Nine PBS

St. Louis, Mo.

Jon Miskowski

Director of Television

PBS Wisconsin

Madison, Wis.

Amanda Mountain

President and CEO

Rocky Mountain PBS/Rocky Mountain Public Media

Denver, Colo.

Anthony Padgett



Columbia, S.C.

Amy Shaw

President and CEO

Nine PBS

St. Louis, Miss.

Angee Simmons

VP, Content

National Educational Telecommunications Association (NETA)

Columbia, S.C.

Gary Stokes

President and General Manager


Spokane, Wash.

Ed Ulman

President and CEO

Alaska Public Media

Anchorage, Alaska

Stewart Vanderwilt


Colorado Public Radio

Centennial, Colo.

About the Riley Institute at Furman University

Furman University’s Richard W. Riley Institute advances social and economic progress in South Carolina and beyond by building leadership for a diverse society, hosting expert speakers to broaden perspectives on critical issues, supporting public education and creating knowledge through community solutions-focused research. It is committed to nonpartisanship in all it does and to a rhetoric-free, facts-based approach to change. Learn more at

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