New training for first-time managers during ONA23

From intensive yearlong programs to candid conversation series, ONA has long been a go-to resource for high-quality training on leadership, management skills and building workplace culture tailored to digital journalists. We are excited to announce our newest offering: a full-day workshop for first-time managers during the in-person component of the ONA23 conference, Aug. 23–26 in Philadelphia.

Being a first-time manager brings a host of new responsibilities. Between establishing a strategy that needs buy-in from a variety of colleagues to guiding individuals in their professional development, there is plenty of ambiguity to navigate and new skills to hone.

Don’t go at it alone.

We’re gathering leaders from the ONA community to guide workshop attendees through key skills for management success, and connecting fellow first-time managers for peer support throughout their journey. We’ll spend the day diving into areas such as work culture, considering power and influence and how best to allocate limited resources.

Who this training is for

This workshop is part of the career development-focused lineup for Day 1 of ONA23: Philadelphia (Wednesday, Aug. 23). We designed the training for anyone who is a first-time manager of staff, or expects to imminently move into a first-time management role within the next six months.

If you recently promoted someone into a manager-level role, make sure they receive this training to set them up for success. Attendees will leave feeling equipped to confidently begin their journey into management and leadership.



  • Martin G. Reynolds, Co-Executive Director – External Affairs and Funding, Maynard Institute
  • P. Kim Bui, Director of Product and Audience Innovation, The Arizona Republic
  • Trevor Knoblich, Chief Knowledge Officer, Online News Association
  • Susan Leath, consultant
  • Angilee Shah, CEO and Editor-in-Chief, Charlottesville Tomorrow

Developing Your Strengths as a Manager + A Crash Course On Personal Bias

Presenter: Martin G. Reynolds

Management of staff takes a different set of skills than you have used before. How do you think about applying leadership skills? Which are most important to concentrate on early?

Additionally, when considering your team, how can you check personal biases and ensure everyone can fully participate and bring their full range of experiences to the table?

We’ll explore these questions, leading toward one of the most critical aspects of management: setting team culture. Fostering a culture of feedback, openness and respect will set your team up for success. Experienced facilitators will discuss how to approach this in various team settings.

Managing Up, Down and Being Seen as a Leader By Your Peers

Presenter: P. Kim Bui

One of the most common issues senior leaders note when they promote someone to a first-time manager role is that they often don’t wield their influence with higher-level staff effectively.

And one of the most common issues first-time managers note is that they struggle with getting colleagues, sometimes even those they supervise, to recognize their new role.

P. Kim Bui will tackle both of these issues, helping participants map power structures and consider where they wield power and have influence. The results are often surprising.

Nurturing a Culture of Belonging

Presenter: Martin G. Reynolds

Managing a team requires thinking about recruitment, retention, staff development and fostering an innovative culture that allows for sharing ideas and respectful disagreement. Building on the previous discussion about strengths and biases, and channel that into a deeper conversation about how you can foster a healthy culture.

Your Budget Tells Your Story: A Uniquely Non-Boring Workshop on Resource Allocation

Presenters: Trevor Knoblich, Susan Leath, Angilee Shah

One of the biggest responsibilities managers face is when and where to allocate staff time and, depending on your organization, budget. But one thing first-time managers often don’t realize is how much the organizational budget shapes everything they do, from the projects they work on to professional development they’re able to offer their team, to DEI initiatives within the organization.

We’ll do a survey in advance to assess participants’ background and tailor this session to specific needs. In general, we plan to do an overview of how budgets come together, when and where you may have influence, and how resources get allocated beyond that process.

Workshop registration (RSVP required)

The First-time Managers Training is available to all ONA23 attendees as an optional add-on to the ONA23 conference pass, for an additional $50 fee. For an optimal learning experience, this workshop has limited capacity and requires an RSVP.

The workshop fee helps to cover:

  • $30 gift card to nearby Reading Terminal Market, an open market with dozens of lunch options suitable for most diets
  • Presenter honorariums
  • Workshop materials

If you already completed ONA23 registration, you can make changes any time to add RSVPs by clicking on the personalized link in your confirmation email and choosing sessions under “Select Courses and Events.” Browse the ONA23 schedule for other Wednesday opportunities that require or encourage an RSVP.

Learn more about the ONA23 program   Register for ONA23

Note: We updated this post on June 21 with information about accessing RSVPs to the workshop registration and the Getting Closer deadline for ONA23 registration. We added programming information on Aug. 1.