The Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) announced Wednesday that Kathy Chow, director of the nonprofit Hands On Sacramento, has been named AAJA’s executive director.
AAJA is a leading nonprofit that advocates for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in journalism and ensures fair and accurate coverage of the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities.
At Hands On Sacramento, Chow quickly dug the organization out of a deficit by fundraising and launching revenue-generation programs. In addition to turning Hands On around, Chow’s management experience includes running the nonprofit’s daily operations, leading its staff and overseeing strategic planning and brand marketing to further its mission of encouraging volunteerism.
Prior to Hands On, Chow worked for six years at The Sacramento Bee in Public Affairs, where she was introduced to AAJA programs and values through The Bee’s sponsorships for the journalism group. During her tenure at The Bee, Chow received The Sacramento Bee Peer Award twice, once from the newsroom. She also is a certified diversity facilitator with the Newspaper Association of America (NAA) and has a bachelor’s degree in English and pre-law from the University of the Pacific.
Sharon Chan, national president of AAJA, said: “We are super excited to have Kathy Chow leading AAJA into this next era. She has the unique combination of nonprofit management, fund development experience and passion about where journalism is headed. She brings a personal commitment to AAJA’s mission for increasing diversity in journalism and ensuring that Asian Americans have a voice in the media. The Governing Board is unified in its support for Chow and the energy she brings to AAJA.”
“I am very excited to have the opportunity to work with AAJA, a membership organization of passionate and dedicated journalists,” said Chow. “This is an exciting time for the field of journalism, and I am looking forward to strengthening our members and helping them grow through this next phase.”
Chow will join AAJA at its national office in San Francisco on Dec. 7. Maya Blackmun, whose last day as interim AAJA executive director will be Dec. 18, will work with Chow on the transition.
“I want to extend a personal thank you to Maya Blackmun for leading AAJA through this transition,” Chan said. “With her long tenure on AAJA’s Governing Board and MediaWatch, she seamlessly melded into the organization and shepherded us through our national convention, working closely with our funders and guiding us through our 2010 budgeting. I will miss working closely with her, but I am excited for her next adventure in Portland.”
“It was my privilege and pleasure to serve AAJA during this time,” said Blackmun. “As tough as the challenges are, I know bright days are ahead for AAJA with the leadership of the officers, board and now Kathy as she joins a skilled and committed national staff.”
“I also want to applaud the work of the executive director search committee, led by the uber-organized Randall Yip,” Chan said. “The committee members committed countless hours to recruiting, interviewing and screening applicants, and made sure we had the right candidates to fill this crucial position.”
Other search committee members were former AAJA National President Mae Cheng, National Treasurer Candace Heckman, nonprofit communications director Keith Kamisugi and veteran journalism recruiter Joe Grimm.
The AAJA Advisory Board, chapter presidents, members and supporters also played a key role marketing and recruiting for this position. “Thank you to everyone who reached out and leaned in,” Chan said.