In December we announced a slate of new hires would be joining our staff in the new year, including our new editor-in-chief, Julia B. Chan. Now we’re thrilled to add three more hires to that mix, marking growth in our development, finance and editorial work in the coming year. Fatima Hessabi will join our staff as our next chief financial officer; Jessica Kutz will help us carve out our environment coverage as our first gender, climate, and sustainability reporter; and Janelle Sanchez will be our first development and revenue associate.

Hessabi joins our team from Sacramento, California, and has over 17 years of experience in finance and accounting. Over the past decade she’s owned a consultancy firm, providing finance, accounting and IT system implementation services to nonprofits and small businesses. Prior to that, she led the finance and accounting team at the California Institute for Behavioral Health Solutions. She holds an MBA from the UC Davis Graduate School of Management and received her undergraduate degree in managerial economics and sociology-organizational studies, also from UC Davis. In her downtime, she enjoys stand-up paddle boarding, traveling, spending time with her new nephew and cooking. Hessabi joins our team this month, and will work with our founding CFO, Jeff Dean, while he transitions out of the organization in the coming months.

Kutz joins us from Tucson as our first Arizona-based staff member. She got her start in journalism as a reporter at the Telluride Daily Planet, where her coverage won her three awards from the Colorado Press Association. Later she moved to Paonia, a small town in rural Colorado, to intern at the regional nonprofit magazine High Country News. There she learned the ins and outs of magazine writing and eventually became an assistant editor on the magazine’s south desk. Since then her reporting has come to focus on communities in the West that are underrepresented in the media landscape, particularly with regards to issues of environmental movements, public lands, climate and environmental justice. She’s also worked in collaboration with Arizona Public Media on a three-part radio and print series about border wall construction. She has a degree in international affairs and an international media certificate from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Her work has been republished in outlets including Slate, The Atlantic, Ms. Magazine, YES! Magazine, Grist, Mother Jones and The Guardian. Follow her on twitter @jkutzie.

Sanchez joins us at our Austin headquarters. Since 1999 she has built a career around nonprofit development and fundraising, primarily in higher education, and specializes in all areas of advancement services and donor relations, with a focus on gift accounting, financial reporting and endowment creation. Over the years she’s worked at the University of Arizona, Connecticut College, the University of Texas at Austin, the Boys & Girls Clubs and The Contemporary Austin Museum, and has been involved with successful billion-dollar fundraising campaigns. She has also been part of two teams nationally recognized by CASE (the Council for Advancement and Support of Education) for innovation and excellence in institutional advancement best practices. In this work, she has enjoyed speaking with donors and hearing their stories: what drives their philanthropy, and how their passions connect to programs and causes they care about.


With eight new staff members starting early this month, we’re ramping up for yet another year of mission building and critical journalism. If you missed it, here’s a peek at what our reporting will look like in the year ahead. Until then, please join us in welcoming these three new members to The 19th!