Emerging Thought Leaders program

As Canada’s engaged university, SFU is committed to becoming a world leader in knowledge mobilization, renowned for its capacity to disseminate knowledge and to harness new ideas and innovations for the benefit of society.

Nationally, women’s voices are underrepresented. A SFU Discourse Processing Lab Gender Gap study (published February 2021) found that men outnumber women quoted in Canadian news media by approximately three to one.

The university is working hard to change these statistics by assisting scholars in under-represented groups (individuals who identify as women, transgender, and gender non-conforming, Black, Indigenous and people of colour) to add their voices to public discourse. In partnership with Informed Opinions, SFU’s Emerging Thought Leaders program has helped to increase media commentary from under-represented groups.

Past participants have said:

  • "The program was outstanding. I wasn't sure what to expect, but it sure didn't disappoint. I came out of the workshop with my first op-ed written, and I have published four more since. I have given multiple interviews both for radio and TV and I feel much more confident in my interactions with the media."
  • "This course was game changing for me. It even made my general presentations to others in my field better."

The Program

Over the course of one month (eight one-hour workshops), participants will receive training and support about how to add their voices to public discourse. The 2022 program is accepting up to 10 current SFU faculty/research members.

By the end of the program, participants will have learned how to:

  • Translate knowledge into written media commentary
  • Promote themselves and their research
  • Position their research and knowledge as informed opinions to share with media
  • Write a pitch note and op-ed for print media
  • Do media interviews

2022 program dates

May 2, 4, 9, 11, 16, 18, 24, 26  
Please note: applicants must be able to attend all 8 workshops.

Each one-hour session runs from 12:00 P.M. to 1:00 P.M.

Application criteria

  • Must be current SFU faculty/researcher  
  • Have not participated in a previous ETL program
  • Have a desire to share expertise through the media as an expert/scholar on a subject and/or research 
  • Willing to be listed in SFU Media Issues and Experts directory
  • Must be available to attend the entire series of workshops

Apply Today

To apply, please send the following details to mediarelations@sfu.ca by April 2, 2022.

  1. Name
  2. Contact information including cell phone
  3. SFU title
  4. Faculty and department
  5. Areas of expertise
  6. Recent published research papers
  7. Past experience working with media, if any 
  8. Public social media accounts, if any
  9. Primary reason for applying to take Emerging Thought Leaders program
  10. Preference will be given to individuals in under-represented groups to elevate diversity of experts in the media, please let us know if you are in an underrepresented group or if there are other factors that we should consider

Thank you to everyone who applied. Successful applicants will be contacted by email.

APPLICATIONS NOW CLOSED

Applications are no longer being accepted for the 2022 program. Thank you to everyone who has applied and expressed interest. Please check back in early 2023 for more information on the next cohort.

Presenting with authenticity and impact

Delivered by Shari Graydon, Informed Opinions
These highly interactive and applied workshop modules build leadership capacity and enhance credibility and influence. The program provides participants with practical tools and increased confidence in their capacity to contribute their expertise to public discourse through relevant, accessible and engaging media commentary. Units address both the context for and framing of written opinion and analysis pieces for publication in print and online news hubs, and the skills needed to turn media interview requests into education or advocacy opportunities, becoming more effective at crafting and delivering their key messages. The sessions equip participants to:

  • Own and articulate their authority as experts;
  • Understand the essential elements and format of opinion commentary, including how to build a concise, persuasive and accessible argument that is likely to engage a lay audience;
  • Increase their publication prospects by linking their expertise to the news;
  • Submit their work to online and print editors.
  • Understand how reporters, columnists and talk show hosts operate;
  • Prepare for interviews (print/broadcast, friendly/hostile, long/short, live/taped);
  • Craft concise and quotable messages;
  • Bridge from asked questions to important issues and more nuanced context;
  • Translate abstract issues into compelling stories and accessible analogies.

Each participant will receive individual feedback on one 700-word draft commentary and a customized mock interview.

About Shari Graydon

Shari Graydon has spent more than 25 years shamelessly exploiting media to draw attention to issues she knows and cares about. Now she motivates and trains others to do the same, delivering highly-rated conference keynotes and practical workshops across the country. The founder and catalyst of Informed Opinions, she’s an award-winning author and women’s advocate. Since 2010, she has helped amplify the voices of more than 2,000 women across Canada, supporting them in sharing their insights and analysis with a broader public.