Vanessa Ruiz, director of diversity initiatives at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, was named one of Phoenix Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” honorees for 2020.
The annual awards recognize the top business and civic leaders in the Phoenix area for their career success, community involvement, leadership ability and influence.
More than 400 nominations were reviewed and narrowed down to 40 honorees by a panel of judges that included previous winners and sponsors. Ruiz will be featured in a “40 Under 40” special section to be published in the Aug. 7 issue of the Business Journal and at a virtual awards celebration Aug. 5.
“I am grateful and humbled by this recognition. I consider it a privilege to work with our student journalists, our excellent faculty and staff. I am inspired by them every day and I hope to continue serving our community as a voice championing the importance and value of inclusion and equity for all,” Ruiz said. “This is challenging, but necessary work. I made a commitment after leaving 12 News that I would dedicate the next chapter of my life’s work to being a reason those I encounter feel welcomed, seen, heard, valued, loved and supported. Higher education is perfect place to do just that.”
Ruiz is also the Emmy Award-winning director and professor of practice of the Southwest Borderlands Initiative reporting team at Cronkite News, the news division of Arizona PBS. She also serves as news anchor and host for Arizona PBS and is a fill-in anchor for PBS NewsHour West.
Before coming to the Cronkite School, Ruiz was the main evening news anchor at KPNX-TV, the NBC affiliate in Phoenix. She’s also worked as an anchor and reporter in Los Angeles and Miami. In 2016 and 2017, Ruiz was part of a team that won the Rocky Mountain Emmy for Best Evening Newscast. She’s also been recognized by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for special coverage of Sept. 11, received the David Burke Distinguished Journalism Award for exceptional integrity, bravery and originality in reporting, and was recognized as one of Florida’s leading Latinos in journalism.
“Vanessa is passionate about education, journalism, youth mentoring, female equity and advocating for the importance of diversity and inclusion both in journalism and our communities,” Cronkite Interim Dean Kristin Gilger said. “We feel very lucky to have her at the Cronkite School.”