Meet the LION Publishers Team

LION Staff

(In alphabetical order)

Anika Anand photo

Anika Anand

Deputy Director
[email protected]
Anika Anand oversees LION’s day to day operations, including programming, communications and membership. Since joining LION in 2019, she launched the Startups Boot Camp, Skills Series, Expert Network, LION Lessons, and has shepherded the Oasis database, GNI Startups Playbook, and the Tiny News Collective. Previously she was the cofounder of The Evergrey, and the storytelling and product director of WhereBy.Us, parent company of The Evergrey. She’s also worked in product and engagement roles for The Seattle Times Education Lab and Chalkbeat. Anika is based in Seattle, Washington.

Cassandra Balfour photo

Cassandra Balfour

Membership Programming Manager
[email protected]
Cassandra (Cassie) Balfour is the primary liaison between LION and its existing and prospective members. She was most recently a program director with the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ), and prior to that worked with the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict. She spent her college years reporting and editing for the Michigan Daily and working on local organizing projects. With half of her roots in Michigan and half in Puerto Rico, she lives between the two in Washington, D.C.

Ben DeJarnette photo

Ben DeJarnette

Communications Manager
[email protected]
Ben DeJarnette is the lead editor of our GNI Startups Playbook, producer of our News Guest podcast,  and co-author of the book Reimagining Journalism in a Post-Truth World: How Late-Night Comedians, Internet Trolls, and Savvy Reporters are Transforming News. Ben has previously worked at WhereBy.Us, GroundSource, the University of Oregon's Agora Journalism Center and MediaShift. Ben is based in Portland, Oregon.

Lisa Heyamoto photo

Lisa Heyamoto

Director of Teaching and Learning
[email protected]
Lisa Heyamoto oversees our GNI Startups Lab, which helps news businesses work toward sustainability. She was previously a reporter at The Seattle Times and The Sacramento Bee, and has been a longtime journalism educator at the University of Oregon. She also co-founded The 32 Percent Project, which explores what drives and disrupts trust in the news media. Lisa is based in Eugene, Oregon.

Penda Howell photo

Penda Howell

News Revenue Coach
[email protected]
Penda Howell is a coach in our News Revenue Fellowship program, which helps train people in news revenue roles. He was previously the chief revenue officer and head of advertising, sales and partnerships at the New York Amsterdam News. He has served as a board member for the National Newspaper Publishers Association, recently took part in the Local Media Association’s Branded Content Project and is a fellow in the 2021 Media Transformation (MTC) Program. He is based in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania.

Lisa Hunter photo

Lisa Hunter

Director of Finance and Operations
[email protected]
Lisa oversees LION’s financial management, financial planning, and organizational operations. Earlier in her career, Lisa led learning and evaluation teams at youth service organizations, and consulted to nonprofits on performance management and data systems. She then earned her MBA and pivoted to finance roles, most recently serving as Finance Director at the Renaissance Entrepreneurship Center. Lisa is based in San Francisco.

Chloe Kizer photo

Chloe Kizer

Data and Product Manager
[email protected]
Chloe applies her background in startup operations to strengthen LION’s offerings by managing relevant membership and industry data, the systems and technology we and our members use, and internal processes to help LION’s team execute on their work. Most recently she lead the development of the Project Oasis database and research report for UNC-Chapel Hill. Chloe is based in Durham, North Carolina.

Chris Krewson photo

Chris Krewson

Executive Director
[email protected]
Chris Krewson was named Executive Director in May 2019 and hired LION’s first Director-level staff. He works with the Board of Directors to implement LION’s strategy, and works closely with LION’s funders: The Knight Foundation, the Democracy Fund, the Google News Initiative and the Facebook Journalism Project, as well as with other digital journalism industry leaders. He’s a former VP of strategy for Spirited Media, former top editor at Philadelphia’s Billy Penn, and the former top digital editor for Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Morning Call of Allentown, Pa. He is based in Havertown, just outside Philadelphia.

Andrew Rockway

Andrew Rockway

Program Manager
[email protected]
Andrew Rockway manages the implementation of LION programming. He previously led the Trusted Elections Network and Local News Ideas-to-Action cohorts at the American Press Institute. He also served as Program Director at the Center for New Democratic Processes, where he helped create Your Voice Ohio, a local media collaborative focused on advancing community engagement in reporting. Andrew is based in rural western Wisconsin.

Stephanie Snyder photo

Stephanie Snyder

Director of Membership
[email protected]
Stephanie Snyder oversees LION's membership strategy to ensure LION is consistently meeting its members' needs and providing the highest value possible to its community of practice. She most recently led consulting work at Hearken to help organizations better listen to, engage with and be in service of their stakeholders. She previously worked in audience development and community engagement for Denverite and Chalkbeat, as well as a reporter in California. Stephanie is based in Denver, Colorado. 

LION Staff Disclosures

The LION Publishers staff is committed to providing our members, our board of directors, and the public with transparent disclosures on the companies and businesses we’ve worked, or currently work with, in the course of our careers. Here are our staff disclosure statements.

Interested in working with us? We post open roles here, and are always interested in hearing from prospective consultants or contractors with experience supporting independent news entrepreneurs.