Susan Leath directs the Center for Innovation and Sustainability in Local Media. She’s responsible for the strategic, financial and operational success of the Center. The Center supports existing and start-up news organizations through its dissemination of applied research and the development of digital tools and solutions and the economic and business research of UNC’s Knight Chair in Journalism and Digital Media Economics and the Knight Chair in Digital Advertising and Marketing. In addition, it supports professors and students associated with the Reese News Lab, which designs, tests and adapts digital tools for use in small and mid-sized newsrooms.

Leath is the former regional president of the USA Today Networks media groups in Delaware and Maryland where she directed the strategic, financial and operational success of the network and its associated products, successfully repositioning the brand as multimedia platform in the minds of consumers and business leaders. Leath led and developed a 400-person team, built strategic partnerships that improved marketplace positioning and established sustainable value propositions managing/optimizing core and new growth revenue streams.

She started a management consulting firm, Leath Consultant Group, LLC, to help organizations operate more effectively, identify and develop new revenue streams, establish and activate a strong communication strategy, and build relationships with internal and external stakeholders.

Leath is an accomplished leader recognized for excellent strategic and operational skills with a passion for connecting people and strengthening communities. Her career spans over two decades in the media industry.

Leath is a lecturer at the UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media in Chapel Hill, N.C. She is a former lecturer at the School of Mass Communications at NC Central University in Durham, N.C., specializing in media ethics.

She is a Maynard 200 Executive Coach and Mentor. She serves on the Board of Directors of Carolina Public Press and Public Media NC (UNC-TV) Black Issues Forum Advisory Council. Her prior roles include almost five years as the president and publisher of the Centre Daily Times in State College, Pennsylvania. She climbed through the advertising ranks at newspapers owned by The New York Times in Florida and Alabama, including Florida’s largest newspaper, the Tampa Bay Times.

Susan is a graduate of the University of Alabama with a bachelor's in advertising with a concentration in marketing.


  • B.A., University of Alabama