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Former ESPN executive joins YJI board

AUBURN, Maine, USA – A longtime ESPN executive, Mike Soltys, joined the Board of Directors of Youth Journalism International this month.

Soltys, an adviser to YJI for decades, worked for 43 years in ESPN’s corporate communication department before his departure from the company in June.

Active in a number of Connecticut nonprofits over the years, Soltys brings deep experience with strategic planning, issue management and public relations to YJI.

“We’re incredibly lucky to have such a well-liked, well-known expert join us,” said Steve Collins, YJI’s board president.

Soltys joins a seven-member board overseeing the Maine-based nonprofit that has mentored and published young journalists around the globe since 1994.

Also appointed to the board this month was Regina López, a YJI student from Mexico City who began writing for YJI in 2020 and took part in “No one is safe,” its 2021 global project on sexual assault.

Regina López poses with a Mexican flag during YJI’s 2023 Global Conference in Prague.

YJI’s board also includes three women who wrote for YJI during their student years: Shaina Zurlin of California, Cassie Lloyd Perrin of London and Arooj Khalid of Pakistan.

YJI board members at the 2023 Global Conference in Prague. From left: Cassie Lloyd Perrin, Steve Collins, Shaina Zurlin, Jackie Majerus and Arooj Khalid.

The two founders of YJI, Jackie Majerus and Steve Collins, also hold board seats. Majerus is the charity’s executive director and master teaching editor as well.

Soltys, who worked as an intern at ESPN during its first year on the air rose in the ranks until he became a vice president responsible for strategic planning for publicity and issue management for ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN on ABC, ESPN’s college networks, ESPNEWS, ESPN Radio and its news and social operations.

Soltys served on ESPN’s Editorial Board for 20 years, longer than anyone.

He was also instrumental in building ESPNPR’s content creation including its social media fees, corporate blog ESPNFrontRow and media website ESPNPressRoom.

For more information about Soltys or any member of YJI’s Board, see the Board section under the About Us tab on YJI’s website or contact Jackie Majerus, executive director, at +1 (860) 655-8188 or

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