Tony Deifell



Tony Deifell
Tony Deifell is managing director of Q Media Labs, which explores questions of how media, technology and business shape society. Q Media Labs provides strategy consulting, leadership training and new project development for clients such as The Democracy Alliance, The Media Consortium, Google, UCLA and the Echoing Green Foundation, among others. Its recent work includes The Big Thaw: Charting a New Course for Journalism and case studies about Mother Jones, AlterNet, Sierra Club and Brightcove’s online media business models.

Tony has spent two decades as an entrepreneur, organizational strategist and media-maker. He founded and led for eight years the Institute for Public Media Arts, a company that promoted “user-generated content” before there was a label for it. His work received recognition by the White House as a national model in diversity education. Tony was a fellow in the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s National Leadership Program and has served on national boards including Active Voice, Kellogg Fellows Leadership Alliance and Social Enterprise Alliance where he co-chaired its public policy initiative. Tony was a founding board member of KaBOOM!, the national market leader for community-built playgrounds. Tony created the successful participatory-art project wdydwyd?, which challenges people to answer the question, “why do you do what you do?” In 2007, he published Seeing Beyond Sight (Chronicle Books), an award-winning book of photography by blind teenagers that was in the New York Times Book Review and the Los Angeles Times and featured on KQED’s The Forum with Michael Krasny. As unusual as “blind photography” may sound, Tony draws broadly applicable lessons from it to talk about leadership and innovation and challenges people to consider what they see and don’t see.

Tony studied anthropology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and earned an MBA from Harvard Business School where he started a national conference about leadership and values. In 2008, the UNC-Chapel Hill acknowledged Tony’s work by selecting him for its Distinguished Young Alumnus Award—a distinction he holds in common with former FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, Congressman Jim Cooper and sports star Michael Jordan.

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