Amy Burton

October, 2022

Blog, Membership

Member Spotlight: Zena Burns, Futuri

In the October 2022 issue of “A Minute with Membership,” AWM’s members-only newsletter, we heard from member Zena Burns, SVP, Content and Special Projects for Futuri.

Why are organizations like the Alliance for Women in Media important today?

Real talk: I wish organizations like the Alliance for Women in Media weren’t necessary. I wish women at all levels of media organizations stood on equal footing with men. But while we’ve made incredible strides over the years, we’re not there yet, so organizations like the Alliance for Women in Media are crucial for helping to level the playing field. As you say, the Alliance for Women in Media connects, recognizes, and inspires women across the media industry, and I love that AWM has so many different ways for women to learn, grow, and support one another. Because if we don’t support one another, we’re never going to get to that place of equal footing. 

What inspired you to become a member?

As I was progressing in my career in media and getting to a place where I had some juice, I felt that I had a responsibility to other talented women to help them move forward as well. I’d benefitted from that support from other women as I was moving up the ladder, and I wanted to pay it forward.

Also, I’d been unbelievably lucky to develop a strong network of personal and professional friends in the industry where we could have candid conversations about our experiences and help each other strategize on how to overcome gender-related obstacles in the workplace. This is not something that everyone has. When I learned more about the Alliance for Women in Media, I saw that it was a way for me to grow and learn from a broader community, and also give back by sharing my own experiences and helping others avoid some of the many, many mistakes I’ve made over the years!

What is your greatest advice, to women or men, no matter where they are in their career?

This is something I learned from Martha Nelson, the former Editor-in-Chief of Time Inc, when I was Music Editor at Teen People Magazine back in the day: “Long life, long career.” There are so many different ways to use that advice. On one hand, it’s a way to put setbacks in perspective. I use it primarily to remind myself that just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should do something. Professionally, if you have an opportunity to advance by stabbing someone in the back, or by being less than truthful when trying to get a deal done, it’s going to come back to you in a negative fashion one way or another. Like Warren Buffett says, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and 5 minutes to destroy it.” So with me, what you see is what you get, like it or not, and I sleep well at night. Have I missed a few opportunities to advance because of that? Sure. But beyond the fact that it’s just not who I am, the stress and pressure associated with acting like that just isn’t worth it. It goes back to a cheeky but useful phrase my dad started using with me as early as I can remember: “You don’t have a good enough memory to be a liar.” I don’t want to have to remember what story I told what person!

On the advice front, I just launched a new podcast on this topic — My 23-Year-Old Self: True Stories From the Come-Up. It features conversations with successful women in media, entertainment, and technology (and some good male allies) about the advice they’d give their younger selves as they were growing their careers. It’s designed for young women in those industries, and really anyone who’s interested in hearing great stories and advice from accomplished and amazing women. You can follow or subscribe on Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts. I’d love to hear feedback on the teaser and ideas for women you think should be featured on the show!

Zena’s Bio

Zena Burns has spent more than two decades at the forefront of developing iconic brands in the media, entertainment, and technology spaces. As SVP, Content & Special Projects at Futuri, Burns runs content creation efforts tied to its innovation initiatives; known for its groundbreaking software solutions rooted in AI, Futuri helps its thousands of broadcast and digital publishing partners worldwide grow audience and revenue through wise use of technology.

Before Futuri, Burns was SVP, Programming Partnerships, in iHeartMedia’s NPG team, having started at then-Clear Channel NYC in 2006 as the radio industry’s first Digital Program Director. She’s also a proud alumnus of TEEN PEOPLE Magazine, where, as Entertainment Director and Music Editor, she played a key role in driving pop culture and giving early looks to countless numbers of today’s superstars. 

Knowledge Areas

Radio, audio, television, video, digital, content creation, programming, journalism, strategy, communications, writing, marketing.

For more information about “A Minute with Membership,” AWM membership, or with suggestions for future member spotlights, please contact

Amy Burton

September, 2022

Blog, Membership

Member Spotlight: AWM Connects Alum Alex Razo and Lindsay Guentzel

In the September 2022 issue of “A Minute with Membership,” AWM’s members-only newsletter, we hear from two of the 2021 AWM Connects mentees about their experience with the inaugural mentorship program, what they are doing now, and the advice they would give to future AWM connects participants.

AWM Connects is a virtual mentoring program that will connect young/new professionals with senior level executives throughout television, radio, and digital media. The inaugural event was held in December 2021 and we are excited to announce that it will be back on December 14, 2022! If you would like to receive an alert when the 2022 AWM Connects information goes live, please email

How did the 2021 AWM Connects program have an impact on your career and/or your outlook on your career path?

ALEX RAZO: While it was a wonderful experience getting to meet and learn from the mentors, what made the program extra special was also connecting to the fellow mentees. Meeting women who are currently going through similar experiences was cathartic and helped reignite my love of broadcasting at a time when I really needed the boost.

LINDSAY GUENTZEL: Prior to applying for the 2021 AWM Connects program, I felt kind of lost. The pandemic combined with a new ADHD diagnosis — add in an intense couple of years in Minnesota where I live and work in news – I wasn’t sure what I even wanted anymore. Even just applying felt like a shot in the dark. So, when I found out I was accepted into the program, I was elated. It felt like someone had looked at all the work I’ve done, most of which I had either forgotten about or had been too hesitant to promote, and thought I was good enough. 

And then to meet my mentor and have her ask questions about my career and to have her be genuinely engaged. It was so energizing. It was such an awesome reminder of the power we have to inspire people by simply being present. And it was the reminder I needed to keep pushing myself, to keep going after my own goals and aspirations. As cliche as it might sound, it made me feel like I belong, that my talents and my skills belong. 

What new endeavors have you undertaken since the AWM Connects program in December 2021?

RAZO: While I’ve continued to maintain the high standards and ratings for both of my shows, I will also be given the opportunity to join one of our reporters as he begins production on the latest installment in his documentary series for the station and iHeartMedia.

GUENTZEL: In May of 2022, I launched Refocused with Lindsay Guentzel, a podcast collaboration with ADHD Online, a telemedicine healthcare company based in Grand Rapids, Michigan that provides ADHD assessments, medication management and teletherapy. My own ADHD diagnosis was truly life-changing, the answer to a question I had been looking for my entire life but didn’t even know. So, to be able to combine my love of storytelling in a way that’s helping people, it’s overwhelming in the best way. I do still have career goals that aren’t tied to my ADHD, but it feels like every role I’ve had over the last 15 years was meant to prepare me for this. That this is what I’m meant to do. 

Why are organizations like the Alliance for Women in Media important today?

RAZO: I think organizations like the Alliance for Women in Media are important because it’s wonderful to have a sense of community. Every person I’ve met and interacted with in and through the organization has been kind, forthcoming and very willing to help.

GUENTZEL: We’re finally seeing results after years and years of talking about the importance of representation. Organizations like Alliance for Women in Media, along with this mentorship program, help speed up those timelines for change. They also work to increase accountability and transparency and they instill a sense of community and support for people working in jobs that have been under fire for the last six or seven years. 

What advice would you give someone who is interested in participating in the next AWM Connects mentorship program?

RAZO: Don’t be afraid to ask questions…it may feel intimidating to speak with the mentors, but they WANT to talk to you! Also, connect to your fellow mentees…it’s just as rewarding connecting with them as it is with the mentors.

GUENTZEL: Know what you are looking for before you head in. And by that, I mean, be able to give your mentor a list of actual things you need help with. Need your demo looked at? Have the file in a Dropbox folder so you can forward it immediately. Have a specific organization you want to work for but don’t have a foot in the door? Tell them. Don’t hold anything back. Outside of asking for $1 million dollars and expecting to get it, go in thinking the sky’s the limit. Because for your mentor, that truly might be the case. And you do not get enough time in the mentorship – or in life – to be demure. Get after it. 


RAZO: Alex has over 5 years of radio and broadcasting experience. After graduating from Cal State Northridge in 2017, she began working for KFI AM 640 in Los Angeles as a producer. KFI is one of the most listened to news-talk radio stations in the country and serves all of Southern California. Alex started her career there as an intern for the morning show while as a student, and after being hired part-time was promoted to being the full-time producer of both morning shows (Wake Up Call and the Bill Handel Show) only a few months later.

GUENTZEL: My name is Lindsay Guentzel and I’m the host and producer of Refocused with Lindsay Guentzel, a podcast collaboration with ADHD Online that explores the often-misunderstood world of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. I really like to work and I’m incredibly ambitious so a lot of time, there’s no distinct line showing where work ends and my life begins. But when I do take a break, I enjoy running, eating delicious food (preferably cooked for me, although I do love having the time to try new recipes at home), attending sporting events outdoors in nice weather, and anything crafty and creative. 

Knowledge Areas

RAZO: Radio, television, communications, video and audio editing, news writing and editing, research, media relations, programming, field producing, digital and social media management.

GUENTZEL: Radio, television, content creation, audio, producing, journalism, on-air talent, writing, and media relations.

For more information about “A Minute with Membership,” AWM membership, or with suggestions for future member spotlights, please contact

Guest Author

August, 2022

Blog, Membership

Member Spotlight: Michelle Duke, National Association of Broadcasters

In the August 2022 issue of “A Minute with Membership,” AWM’s members-only newsletter, we heard from member Michelle Duke, President of the NAB Leadership Foundation and Chief Diversity Officer at NAB.

Why are organizations like the Alliance for Women in Media important today?

While women are making great strides in our industry, we still aren’t at parity with the number of men in leadership positions and certainly not in ownership. Organizations like the Alliance for Women in Media offer women the opportunity to be recognized for their contributions to the industry and network with other women who are making a difference. AWM and AWM Foundation are also a source of information and industry connections for women who are building toward leadership positions in media. 

What inspired you to become a member?

I have been a member of AWM since it was the American Women in Radio and Television (AWRT). I joined because of the opportunity to network with and be mentored by women who were making significant strides in the fields of television and radio. As the organization has expanded its reach to include all women in media, I have had the opportunity to learn from women who work in every facet of the media space. As a result, I’ve developed life-long friendships, fruitful partnerships, and a broader knowledge of the industry. I was honored to serve on the board of AWM for many years. It was a privilege to help shape the direction of the organization. Now, I strongly encourage individuals who want to be connected, build opportunities for others, and contribute to the advancement of women in our business to get involved at the committee or board level. 

What is your greatest advice, to women or men, no matter where they are in their career?

Make it a point to ask yourself with some degree of frequency if you are happy and having fun. Then, be brave enough to change the situation if you aren’t. That doesn’t always mean leaving a job or industry. It could, but it might also mean restructuring your current role, reinventing yourself, returning to school, giving back to others, or finding a side hustle that brings you joy. For me, happiness has been a significant key to success.

Michelle’s Bio

Michelle Duke has over 30 years of experience in the media industry working as a journalist, and a nonprofit and trade association executive. She is currently the President of the National Association of Broadcasters Leadership Foundation (NABLF) and the Chief Diversity Officer of the National Association of Broadcasters.

Before joining the NAB Leadership Foundation in January 2005, she was the Director of Leadership Programs for the Newspaper Association of America. She started her media career as a reporter for the now defunct, afternoon daily The Nashville Banner, which was based in Nashville, TN. Duke received her Bachelor of Science in journalism from Middle Tennessee State University.

Knowledge Areas

Radio, television, diversity, strategy, leadership development, recruitment and retention, writing

For more information about “A Minute with Membership,” AWM membership, or with suggestions for future member spotlights, please contact