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Jurors

2022 ZEKE Award for Systemic Change

 
Michele Abercrombie
Michele Abercrombie is a visuals editor and art director at NPR. In her editing she is passionate about assisting photographers reach new audiences. Her personal work uses archival photographs and illustration to tell social justice stories in an accessible way. Michele is a member of the 2020 Carnegie-Knight News21 newsroom that won a Robert F. Kennedy award for its coverage of juvenile incarceration in America. In 2020 she received an award of excellence in the Alexia Foundation student grant. That year she also received the NPPF Mary Lou Foy Still and Multimedia grant. Originally from Boston, she graduated from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a B.A. in English Literature and from Syracuse University with a M.S. in Multimedia, Photography and Design.
 
Barbara Ayotte
Barbara Ayotte is Communications Director for Social Documentary Network and Editor of ZEKE Magazine. She is also a communications strategist, writer and editor for leading nonprofit organizations. Barbara is the Senior Director of Strategic Communications at GBH, America’s preeminent public media organization and the largest producer of PBS content for television and the web and a major supplier of content for public radio and digital audio services. Barbara was the Senior Director of Strategic Communications for Management Sciences for Health, an international non-profit development organization working on global health issues in over 30 countries. Prior to that, she was Director of Communications for Physicians for Human Rights, a co-recipient of the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize. 
 
John Heffernan
John Heffernan has over three decades of experience in non-profit leadership roles on five continents. He is currently the president of the Foundation for Systemic Change. Previously he served as: Executive Director for Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights’ Speak Truth To Power (STTP), the Director of the Genocide Prevention Initiative at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum where he established the Genocide Prevention Task Force, Senior Investigator with Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) where he led three investigations to Darfur, Sudan and Afghanistan where he discovered a mass grave, and was the Chief of Party for the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs in Guyana, South America. He was the founding Executive Director of the DC-based Coalition for International Justice and served as Country Representative for the former Yugoslavia for the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and managed IRC’s refugee resettlement program in Khartoum, Sudan. John also served as the Vice President of the Business Council for the United Nations in New York City. He was a Coro fellow in San Francisco and has a Master’s from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and BA from UCSB. He is the board chair for Disability Rights International and is on the boards of the Dodd Center for Human Rights and the Educator’s Institute for Human Rights.
 
Gail Fletcher
Gail Fletcher is a Photo Editor at The Guardian where she develops and produces visual stories. Several of the projects she produced alongside editors and photographers received recognition from organizations including Pictures of the Year, ASME, and World Press Photo. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in History and Government from Cornell University and is originally from South Florida.

 
 
Michael Snyder
Michael O. Snyder is a photojournalist and filmmaker who uses his combined knowledge of visual storytelling and conservation to create narratives that drive social change. He is a Climate Journalism Fellow at the Bertha Foundation, a Portrait of Humanity Award winner, a Decade of Change Award winner, a Blue Earth Alliance Photographer, a Society of Environmental Journalists Member, and a National Geographic Contributor. He holds an MSc in Environmental Sustainability from the University of Edinburgh, Scotland and a BSc from Dickinson College. Through his production company, Interdependent Pictures, he has directed films in the Arctic, the Amazon, the Himalaya, and East Africa. His journalism work has been featured by outlets such as National Geographic, The Guardian, The Washington Post, VOX, BBC, PBS News Hour, Roads & Kingdoms, High Country News, Condé Nast, Orion, and NPR. Snyder’s projects are often built through partnerships with nonprofit organizations and harness the power of positive storytelling in order to shift the narrative about what it means to live well on this planet without destroying it. Originally from a small town in Appalachia, Snyder has lived around the world including long-term stints in Scotland, Japan, Hawaii, and New Zealand. He currently resides in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia with his wife and two children.