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Home > Grants > Dori Maynard Diversity Leadership Program > Recipients


Dori Maynard Diversity Leadership Program
2018 Recipients

The goal of the Dori Maynard Diversity Leadership Program, ultimately, is to increase the diversity participation of SPJ members within national committees and on the national board of directors. The following people were selected to receive Diversity Leadership Grants to attend the Excellence in Journalism 2018 Conference in Baltimore.


Ivette Davila-Richards

Journalism is Ivette Davila-Richard’s passion and diversity is her mission. Today more than ever newsrooms lack representation with people of color. Ms. Davila-Richards believes it is time to make a difference.

While her career in broadcast news began at NY1 News-Spectrum as a Videographer/News Assistant she eventually made it to the network at CBS News as an Associate Producer. Today she Freelances and enjoys being able to work in journalism, while also learning how immersive journalism is changing the landscape of news long term.

Wanting to see diversity increase and continue in newsrooms one has to be the change they wish to see, Ms. Davila-Richards built her leadership skills by joining and serving on the NAHJ local and national board of directors for 8 years. She continues to do so while currently serving on the local SPJ chapter, The Deadline Club, and the programming committee of the NAMIC-NYC chapter.


Laura Garcia

Laura Garcia is Features Editor and health/nonprofits reporter at the Victoria Advocate, second-oldest daily newspaper in Texas. She graduated from San Antonio College and Texas State University-San Marcos with journalism degrees. Garcia worked for the Longview News-Journal, Corpus Christi Caller-Times and The Roanoke Times. She was accepted into fellowship programs for the National Press Foundation, Society of American Business Editors and Writers, Association of Health Care Journalists and The Poynter Institute with the Association of Opinion Journalists. She is also part of the Nex-Gen mentorship program sponsored by the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association. She enjoys writing about social issues and health care in her community. After Hurricane Harvey, she was part of an investigative team on “Understanding Harvey,” a series awarded the SPJ Sigma Delta Chi Award for public service journalism.

Garcia is also mom to a toddler, part of her church’s media ministry and loves sci-fi shows.


Muhammad Ittefaq

Muhammad Ittefaq is a Graduate Teaching Assistant at Department of Communication and Journalism, University of Maine, United States. He received his second MA from the Institute of Media and Communication Science, Technical University Ilmenau, Germany. He did his first MA from the Institute of Communication Studies, University of the Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan. He is co-founder of The Educationist (English monthly newspaper of Pakistan) and the Asian Journalism Network (AJN). He writes for The Educationist, the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) Region 3 and University of Southern California, Center on Public Diplomacy. His research interests are social media, Health Communication, public relations, digital diplomacy and press freedom. He was Deutschlandstipendium (Germany Scholarship) holder for 2017-18. He is Alumni of Bosch Alumni Network, and Exchange Program for Regional Integration of East-Asia and Europe (EPRIE), Germany. He belongs to middle class family and rural area of Punjab, Pakistan. He has attended various national and international conferences, trainings and workshops.


Aisha I. Jefferson

Aisha I. Jefferson is an award-winning writer and multimedia journalist who has covered a broad array of topics including drug busts, the 2008 economic crisis and the Academy Awards. A newspaper girl who’s fully embraced living in a digital world, Aisha’s work has been featured in various outlets including USA Today, The Root, Essence, JET, Black Enterprise and O, The Oprah Magazine, South Africa. Her interest in journalism began in high school and, at her father’s urging, continued during her years at Northern Illinois University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism. She’d later earned a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. Though Aisha’s background is hard news and business reporting, she’s also covered environmental, mental health, beauty, healthy living, education and entertainment topics. Her ability to build rapport easily with people across all racial, cultural and socioeconomic lines is one of her biggest personal and professional strengths. In her spare time, Aisha enjoys running along Lake Michigan, checking out the latest museum exhibits and traveling.


Eldredge McCready

Eldredge McCready has been a journalist for more than 25 years. While attending San Francisco State University, he was a part-time prep sports reporter at The Oakland Tribune and an editorial assistant at The Summer Program for Minority Journalists. After getting his B.A. in Journalism, he was a Sports Reporter at The Bakersfield Californian, where he and Dori Maynard were the only editorial staff minorities. McCready has covered sports at The Seattle Times and The Oakland Tribune. As the Editor for a now defunct weekly, The Macon Metro Times, he covered part of Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign and Clinton’s 1993 inauguration. He also worked as Sports Editor of the Virgin Islands Daily News and Copy Editor at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and The Macon Telegraph. McCready is also a long-time member of the National Association of Black Journalists, and is a founding member of the organization’s Sports Task Force.


Mary Annette Pember

After dropping out of school in 8th grade, Mary Annette Pember earned a GED and graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Journalism. She worked as a staff photojournalist for daily newspapers including The Green Bay Press-Gazette, The Arizona Republic, The Oregonian before embarking on a freelance career as both writer and photographer in 2003.

She focuses on Native American issues and has won several industry awards including the Clarion, Medill Milestone Achievement Award, Native American Journalists Association (NAJA) Photographer of the Year as well as fellowships with Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Journalism, USC Annenberg National Health Journalism, University of Maryland Child and Family Policy for her work regarding sex trafficking, sexual assault and historical trauma. She is past president of NAJA.

Clients include Indian Country Today, ReWire News, Yes Magazine, Columbia Journalism Review and others. She is an enrolled member of the Red Cliff Band of Wisconsin Ojibwe.


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