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Society of Professional Journalists hires John Shertzer as executive director


Patricia Gallagher Newberry, SPJ National President, 513-702-4065, pattinewberryspj@gmail.com
Jennifer Royer, SPJ Director of Communications and Marketing, 317-361-4134, jroyer@spj.org

INDIANAPOLIS – The Society of Professional Journalists announces today that experienced nonprofit leader John Shertzer is its new executive director.

“SPJ is excited to welcome John and looks forward to introducing him to our members,” said SPJ National President Patricia Gallagher Newberry. “His stated goal is to establish SPJ as the ‘preeminent and most influential journalism organization in the U.S.’ – an aspiration shared by SPJ leadership. His deep experience with associations that serve members, and his strong record in working with younger people, make him the right executive director for what SPJ needs right now.”

Shertzer will serve as executive director of SPJ and its nonprofit educational arm, the SPJ Foundation. Shertzer most recently served as founding executive director of the Mayor’s Youth Leadership Council in Indianapolis, where he was tapped by Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett to envision, build, secure funding and launch the MYLC, a student advisory board to the mayor, funded by the Lilly Endowment.

"The mission of SPJ to perpetuate a free press has never been more important. I am excited to work with our staff and boards to strengthen and support our membership in service to that high purpose,” Shertzer said. “SPJ is a historic and influential organization. I hope to be the kind of leader who can honor its past, while preparing it for an exciting and consequential future.”

Before creating MYLC, Shertzer spent seven years as the chief programs officer at Kiwanis International, and executive director of Kiwanis Youth Programs, Inc., a subsidiary that housed Kiwanis’ membership programs for youth and young adults. In those roles he led Key Club International, one of the largest youth service organizations in the world.

Shertzer is an established thought leader on organizational development and leadership, providing training and education to dozens of nonprofit and collegiate organizations all over the world including charitable organizations, arts organizations, membership chapters and trade associations.

He also held a senior role with the North American Interfraternity Conference, serving the needs of undergraduate members, alumni members and professional association staff and board members. His experience also includes positions at Leadership Ventures in Indianapolis, University of Maryland in College Park, Maryland, and Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa.

Hagit Limor, chair of the seven-member search committee that recommended Shertzer, said, "The executive search committee laser-focused on finding an executive director who can take a strong leadership role to tackle the challenges the Society and industry face into the next decade. John shared new ideas and a mastery of the issues in play, along with a management style we are confident will work well with our staff, boards and members."

Shertzer earned a master’s degree in higher education from Iowa State and a bachelor’s degree in mass communication from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. He participates in many volunteer and professional activities and has published a book and several articles about leadership.

Shertzer succeeds Alison Bethel McKenzie, who resigned from the position in April. He is expected to join the staff at SPJ headquarters in Indianapolis on Dec. 2.

SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to informing citizens; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and fights to protect First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press. Support excellent journalism and fight for your right to know. Become a member, give to the Legal Defense Fund or give to the SPJ Foundation.


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