Bio: James Ackerman, president/CEO of Prison Fellowship

A seasoned executive with over 20 years of experience worldwide in leading advanced media companies, today James Ackerman leads Prison Fellowship in its mission to restore those affected by crime and incarceration.

While Ackerman formally joined Prison Fellowship in 2016, his desire to serve prisoners and their families began much earlier. Since his first visit to a prison—a 2004 tour of a Prison Fellowship faith-based—he has been a faithful prison ministry volunteer. Ackerman’s volunteer service in prison includes as a counselor to a man on death row in California’s San Quentin State Prison and as a pre-release instructor in Tennessee’s Riverbend Maximum Security Prison, through which he developed an ongoing mentoring relationship in and outside of prison with a man convicted of murder. He and his wife, Martha, have also coordinated Prison Fellowship’s Angel Tree program at their church, creating pathways for incarcerated parents to restore and strengthen relationships with their children and families.

Ackerman has garnered a reputation as a highly effective executive, helping media companies like Documentary Channel, British Interactive Broadcasting, Broadway Systems, and Open TV navigate periods of transition and growth. In 2005 he founded Spinnaker Media to develop innovative entertainment and digital media companies. He also previously held roles at British Sky Broadcasting, A&E Television Networks, Hearst Entertainment, International Family Entertainment, and Grey Entertainment & Media.

Ackerman is a member of the second graduating class of the Colson Center’s Centurions program, now called the Colson Fellows program, and was personally mentored by Charles Colson, the founder of Prison Fellowship. He serves as chairman of the board for Accedo, a Stockholm-based global pioneer in video applications, and is a member of the board of directors of the International Documentary Association. He is a veteran of the U.S. Coast Guard. He and Martha reside in Washington, D.C. They have two adult children, Holden and Lily.