Get to know Jeneé Osterheldt, 2022 Academy of Women Achievers Awardee


On June 15, 2022 we will join together and celebrate the achievements of five unstoppable women who demonstrate YW Boston’s mission of eliminating racism and empowering women at our 27th Academy of Women Achievers Luncheon.

Since 1995, as part of our mission to promote and celebrate the achievements of women, YW Boston has held the Academy of Women Achievers luncheon. Through this event, we recognize and honor some of Boston’s brightest, boldest, bravest, and most influential women. Leading up to the event, we are sitting down with each of the 2022 awardees for interviews and releasing one each month.

YW Boston cannot wait to induct Jeneé Osterheldt into the Academy of Women Achievers. She is a culture columnist who covers identity and social justice through the lens of culture and the arts. You have probably seen her Boston Globe multimedia series A Beautiful Resistance, which centers Black voices and celebrates Black Joy. To learn about Jeneé, read our interview with her:


We are thrilled to honor you at our 27th Academy of Women Achievers on June 15th. Can you please tell us what about YW Boston’s work resonates with you?

The YW Boston mission is the mission of justice work. When we center equity and justice, when we understand racism is something that hurts everybody and there is no freedom in a racist, sexist, oppressive system and we fight to change it, this is the work we all want to be doing to create freedom rather than live with the façade of freedom.

Give us the highlights about your career in journalism. What drew you to writing, and writing about Black culture in particular?

I’ve always loved reading. Writing was a natural expansion of that. Journalists like dream hampton and Danyel Smith who were leading Black women in hip-hop journalism when I was coming up inspired me. Books by James Baldwin and Assata moved me. Photojournalism by Gordon Parks changed me. The ability to write gave me a sense of freedom and as I evolved as a writer and a person I understood more and more what that power meant for the culture. The goal is to keep growing. To keep holding space for Black folk and other marginalized peoples. I have never been a voice for the voiceless. I am a voice understanding there are many voices that need to be heard. Journalism is a way to share the mic. That is the ultimate highlight. 

For those that are unfamiliar, tell us about A Beautiful Resistance and why you felt it was important to begin this series.

When I created A Beautiful Resistance, the first goal was to wrap my arms around Black folk during a time of isolation and extreme sorrow. A Beautiful Resistance centers Black Joy, Black lives, and the stories of other folk of color, too. Black journalists have always done this kind of work. What I sought to do was also create space. There is a website within The Boston Globe website: There is Instagram. When we are in season, each week, you get a short video telling the story of Black Joy. You get a Q&A highlighting someone in the culture. You get a longform story featuring many voices on a specific topic. There are playlists. There are many points of access for folks to engage in the ways that speak to them. Historically, mainstream media has often told stories of Blackness through the lens of suffering and brutality. But that is not how we measure a people. Our truth is far more nuanced than to only be seen as pain and dead bodies or painted in stereotypes. Yes, I write about injustice and oppression. But I also write about the rest of our lived experience. We live. We have joy. We love. We dream. Those stories matter, too. Those stories are part of how we claim our narrative and celebrate the lives we live and fight for.

''Our truth is far more nuanced than to only be seen as pain and dead bodies or painted in stereotypes...We live. We have joy. We love. We dream. Those stories matter, too. ' -Jeneé Osterheldt, 2022 Academy of Women Achievers Awardee Share on X
What role do you see journalism playing in ensuring our city and state work toward racial and gender equity?

Journalism, at its finest, centers the truth and understands nuance. At our best, we hold systems accountable, we prioritize people. When we also hold ourselves accountable we are able to better report, to see the city and the world outside of ourselves. We do not always get it right. I do not always get it right. Humans are going to human. But if we continue to follow the truth, to tell the stories  of our city inclusively, complexly, in ways that are hard-hitting and investigative and in ways that are tender and warm, in ways that are straight news and in ways that are personal, we help create equity, period. Racial, gender, disability, LGBTQ+, age, class, and so on – I am talking equity across identities period.               

Is there anything you are currently working on that you are excited to share?

I have so many ideas, including a third season of A Beautiful Resistance. Right now I’m trying to restore my spirit so that I can continue to write stories that speak truth to power and amplify voices of the community.

What advice do you have for women striving for equity in their workplaces and throughout Greater Boston?

Take care of yourself. So often, we put the work, our love of the people, of our mission –– we put it all above our own wellness. This does not serve justice and equity work. The movement has to start with us and how we treat ourselves. I am learning this the hard way and I hope women and femmes and them –– all folk ––  start to prioritize their mental health and overall wellness, including joy and rest, as part of the work. We are part of the garden we aim to grow.

''The movement has to start with us and how we treat ourselves...We are part of the garden we aim to grow. ' -Jeneé Osterheldt, 2022 Academy of Women Achievers Awardee Share on X


Learn more from Jeneé Osterheldt at our 27th Annual Academy of Women Achievers Luncheon on Wednesday, June 15, 2022.

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2022 Academy of Women Achievers Awardees
Evelyn Barahona, Director, Latino Equity Fund
Saskia Epstein, Vice President, Client and Community Relations, PNC Bank
Allison Feaster, Vice President of Player Development & Organizational Growth, The Boston Celtics
Jeneé Osterheldt, Culture Columnist, The Boston Globe
Michelle Tat, Senior Data Analyst, Reify Health, Sylvia Ferrell-Jones Award Recipient