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2024 Leaders of Tomorrow

2024 Leaders of Tomorrow

An immersive experience for emerging leaders and young professionals

Wednesday, May 8, 2024 at 5:00 PM (EDT) to Friday, May 10, 2024 at 11:00 AM (EDT)

Event Details

The Leaders of Tomorrow: RTDNA’s Young Professional Retreat gathers some of the brightest young minds in broadcast and digital journalism who one day will lead this industry to new heights. This mountain retreat will bring together talented journalists, teach and train them to develop and grow leadership skills and challenge them to think critically about the future of the profession and how they can help move it forward.

Leaders of Tomorrow is designed to be an immersive, and shared, experience. From the moment you walk in until the moment you leave, the group will dine together, discover together, work together and learn together. Be prepared for moving conversations and challenging exercises that will help you think critically about your leadership skills, journalism and your place in it. When you leave, you will have a better understanding about how you can leave your mark on the journalism world — and a new team of peers who will help you for the rest of your career.

Leaders of Tomorrow is designed for young professionals or people relatively new to management roles. 


group of people working


What Participants Had to Say About Their Experience

“RTDNA's Leaders of Tomorrow retreat was an honestly transformational experience. Before I attended, I just plain didn't know what I didn't know -- about effective leadership, being honest with yourself, how to communicate with different types of people in a healthy and productive way, the vital importance that building and maintaining strong relationships plays in building a successful team. It was eye opening, and I can't recommend the experience and the team at RTDNA that made the retreat happen enough.” Tom Rickert, Assistant Brand Manager, KYW Newsradio, Philadelphia

“This is not your typical stuffy conference room seminar. This retreat is an opportunity to go in-depth on important topics facing the industry while getting to know fellow journalists in a fun, idyllic setting.” - Mary Davies, News Producer, NBC New York

"As someone who has served as a newsroom leader already for about five years, I was skeptical going into the retreat -- 'How much will I really learn here?' I got my answer early: A LOT. RTDNA developed a fantastic program that offered time for growth, introspection, and a whole lot of fun. Leaders of Tomorrow also connected me with more than a dozen people who were fascinating, funny, and quickly became friends. My only complaint is I wish it lasted longer!" - Lane Kimble


Participant Expectations

Leaders of Tomorrow brings together emerging leaders and young professionals colleagues to work together to find their leadership potential and future in journalism. You will be challenged. You will challenge others. If you are looking for lectures and panel discussions, you're in the wrong place. 

Important Things to Know
  • We'll be at a mountain resort and food options will be limited at some points during the event, so we might not be able to accommodate all dietary restrictions.
  • The inn is historic, so it might not have some modern luxuries that might exist at urban hotels. The hotel rooms and our meeting spaces are spread among four floors and there is no elevator. We'll also be walking about 100 yards to the restaurant next door for our meals.
  • Only one individual from each organization may attend except in special circumstances.
  • Attire should be comfortable. We aren't trying to impress each other and there will be time for wandering the property and relaxing.
Expectations & Commitment
  • Arriving into Asheville Regional Airport no later than 3:00 p.m. Wednesday and departing no earlier than 2:00 p.m. Friday.
  • Leaving the rest of the world behind and being fully present from the time you land in Asheville until you depart.
  • Completing all the thought leadership and engagement pre-work.
  • Coming as yourself, actively participating in all activities, and being fully immersed in the experience. This may mean being comfortable getting uncomfortable.
  • Being mindful that any discussions, ideas, and/or information shared at any point during the weekend may not be used for personal or individual organizational gain.

For More Information:

Christen DeBard
Christen DeBard
Director of Events and Education Radio Television Digital News Association (202)221-4279



Cost includes tuition, lodging (2 nights) and meals.

Participants are responsible for their own travel to North Carolina, though ground transportation between the resort and Asheville Regional Airport can be arranged for an additional $50.


Sponsored By



February 29, 2024: Applications Due

March 12, 2024: Participant Notifications

May 8, 2024: Arrival at Highland Lakes by 4 p.m.

May 10, 2024: Departure from Highland Lake at 11 a.m.



Program Components

Starting With You: A Sensory Introduction

In lieu of a traditional opening icebreaker/reception, we will each share who we are by using one of our senses (sight, taste, hearing - your choice!) — whether that is a song, a taste, a sip, a piece of art — anything that gives your peers a sliver of who you are in a way that others can experience.

Leadership Fundamentals: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

We’ll come together for some brainstorming around leadership fundamentals: what makes the best leaders (and the worst!), how to grow as a leader and everything in between. We’ll also talk through some personal areas of struggle and select topics from our pre-work to focus on over the weekend.

Discovering You as a Leader

This morning will be a deep-dive into learning more about yourself (and others) as a leader. We’ll explore some uncomfortable things about ourselves, learn how to better connect with others and find key areas where we need support from our teams.

Bring It: Working the Issues

As a group, we’ll tackle our selected pre-work topics and have meaningful conversation around the greatest areas of need.

Mastermind Hot Seat

What if you had a group of really smart newsroom peers as a sounding board to help you talk out an opportunity, obstacle, or career vision you are experiencing? Tonight you will!

Bringing It Back

A final session, focused on reflections from the prior day and goal-setting as individuals to prioritize, focus and tackle growth once you get back in the newsroom.