Berkeleyside this month welcomes two new employees to the team, bringing our total number of staffers to eight.

Colleen Leary joins us as director, client partnerships, following the retirement of longstanding Berkeleyside partner Wendy Cohen. While Berkeleyside’s journalism has been essential to its success to date, so has support from our advertisers, most of which are local businesses. Berkeleyside had the good fortune that Wendy joined the team soon after the news site’s launch, and her expertise built the foundation of Berkeleyside as a business.

Colleen picks up the mantle, working with our partners in the community to bring relevant advertising to the Berkeleyside audience. Colleen has over 15 years of digital media experience, including at Rodale Publishing, Fox Sports and Fandom. She lives in Rockridge and, in her free time, enjoys checking out local restaurants, theaters, pubs, parks and shops.

Zoë Schiffer joins as membership marketing manager, a newly created position at Berkeleyside that will allow us to devote more time and resources to our readers. Specifically, Zoë will be working on building reader support through a revamped membership program, as well helping us better engage with, and serve, our community. Before she joined Berkeleyside, Zoë worked as a writer at Uber and as an intern for Rep. Nancy Pelosi. She is also a contributing author at The Huffington Post and publishes a quarterly poetry zine. Zoë is an alumna of UC Berkeley and a soon-to-be graduate student in Stanford’s journalism program.

The new membership position was made possible by Berkeleyside’s successful direct public offering which closed earlier this month having raised $1 million from our community. The capital is already being put to work to improve Berkeleyside’s offerings and ensure our long-term sustainability. At a time when many local newsrooms around the country are being slashed or shut down entirely, the Berkeleyside team is grateful to be receiving such support — both financial and in myriad other ways — from its community.

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Berkeleyside is Berkeley, California’s independently-owned local news site. Learn more about the Berkeleyside team. Questions? Email