Read THF’s Fall 2017 Newsletter

Read our Fall 2017 newsletter to learn about who will be honored at the 2018 Diversity Awards Dinner, new Diversity Partners and how to become a mentor to a THF intern. We  also recap exclusive intern and alumni events, announce new board members and introduce our newest staff member!

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Recent Grad Lands Job With THF’s Assistance

Brandon Tyler, a May 2016 graduate of William Paterson University, is currently working in A+E Networks’ Media Associates Program in New York. Though he is not a THF Internship Program alumnus, the THF team recommended him for the A+E two-year rotational program as a member of the Foundation’s talent pool.

“I knew when I was young that I wanted to work in television. I have aspirations to be on camera, and I also want to produce my own show. Working for a top media company was ideal for me after college so that I can learn more about the media and communications industries. That will give me an upper hand in what I want to do.”

Brandon first discovered the T. Howard Foundation in 2015 at the beginning of his senior year. He recalled seeing a THF flier, and it stated that the Foundation would be present at an upcoming campus internship/career fair. From the moment he saw the flier, which listed several media companies with which THF partners, he was interested in obtaining an internship through the Foundation. In addition, Brandon learned that the THF team is supportive throughout the application, interview, internship submission process and throughout career changes. He and a friend immediately went to the career fair to obtain more information, and applied for admission into the program. After submitting his application and interviewing with the THF team, Brandon became a member of the Foundation’s talent pool.

Admission into THF’s talent pool provides diverse college students with exclusive career preparation tools, as well as submissions to specific internships with THF partner companies. During his time in the talent pool, Brandon looked out for emails about internships and was a prospect for several summer opportunities. Because internship placement is not guaranteed to talent pool members, Brandon ultimately did not secure a THF-sponsored 2016 summer internship, but that didn’t by any means spell the end of his relationship with the Foundation.

One of the many benefits of being admitted into THF’s talent pool is that college students and young, diverse professionals can learn about careers in the media, entertainment and tech industries. This includes working with THF’s career & alumni manager, who makes recommendations and submits applicants to partner companies who are actively seeking diverse candidates for entry- to mid-level positions.

“I didn’t secure an internship over the summer through THF, but I received an email from the Foundation referring to the entry-level Media Associate Program at A+E. As soon as I saw it, I sent in my application and was chosen for a phone interview. After the interview, A+E requested that I submit a pitch video, explaining why I would be a perfect fit for the program. I sent in my video and I was chosen for the rotational associate program.” Brandon began is two-year rotational program in A+E’s New York headquarters this past July.

Brandon currently works in A+E’s newly formed talent department, and serves as a liaison between the network’s stars and the legal and ad sales departments. He also assists with messaging for A+E’s corporate social media accounts and is an administrator for the employee intranet. “I’m being trained in several different aspects of the company, which is giving me a great understanding of the media field.”

While Brandon’s training and work in the talent department is comprehensive, his favorite part of his new position is conducting research on the networks’ shows and talent, and keeping up- to-date on what they are doing on social media and in the real world. His favorite show of the moment is The Rap Game, starring Jermaine Dupri on Lifetime.

“The position at A+E is giving me hands-on experience into how television works and I am able to network with people in the industry every day. I’m learning everyday, and that helps me with my own show on YouTube.”

Carlos Morcillo: THF Experience Opened Door at Telemundo

carlos-morcillo-telemundoCarlos Morcillo began his career in the media industry in 2012 when he was a T. Howard Foundation intern at Speakeasy. Today, Carlos serves as Manager, Affiliate Marketing at NBCUniversal/Telemundo. He was hired in 2013, shortly after graduating with a degree in advertising and marketing communications from Baruch College in December 2012.

Learn how the T. Howard Foundation introduced Carlos to careers in the competitive media industry, in his own words.

I was first introduced to the T. Howard Foundation (THF) via a career fair at Baruch College, but also through my wife, who was my girlfriend at the time. She forced me to go to the career fair during a time when I was not focused on my career goals and professional development. That is where I met Karla Morrison, Senior Program Manager, Internship Program.

After the rigorous application and interview process, I was lucky enough to intern with Speakeasy in the business development department. Scott Weiss, THF’s founder, is Speakeasy’s CEO. I secured my internship by demonstrating my ability to think outside of the box and ask smart questions.

During my internship, I worked closely with account managers to find business opportunities and also helped with the maintenance of the company’s CRM system.

THF Supports Interns Every Step of the Way
Interning for a communications consulting company gave me the opportunity to develop skills from a professional perspective. I also learned to focus on building my personal brand and improve my communication skills in a corporate environment. Those concepts were stressed from day one at THF’s Summer Intern Orientation. I still use what I learned there on a daily basis.

The support you get from the THF team and the connections you are able to build are priceless. Being a T. Howard Foundation intern and alumnus is something that will be a part of you throughout your entire professional career. The Foundation works tirelessly to expand its partnerships with top companies, and this only helps ensure that its name and reputation grows throughout the years.

Previous Media Experience Opened Full-Time Doors at NBCUniversal
As Manager, Affiliate Marketing, I am the main point of contact for more than 50 Telemundo broadcast affiliate stations in the U.S. for all marketing-related issues.

I work with multiple departments to supply our local stations with promotional strategies and materials for Telemundo’s novelas, specials and live sporting events, including El Señor de los Cielos, Señora Acero, Latin Billboard Awards, FIFA World Cup tournaments and the Summer Olympic Games. I must ensure that deliverables are being developed on schedule for activation, and sometimes that includes creating and delivering promos within hours.

Despite the fast turnaround time, there is no better feeling than seeing your work live and available for the entire world to experience.

THF Offers Professional Growth for Alumni
Over the past two years, I have been able to grow as a mentor, which allows me to serve as a support system and resource to my mentees, friends and colleagues. Being a THF mentor means behaving and thinking differently because my guidance can impact someone’s decisions and their professional development.

Advice for College Students Interested in Media
Television is a fast-paced environment and anything can change when you least expect it. You have to be prepared to adapt to change and maintain a clear mind to ensure a solution is identified immediately. Additionally, being able to anticipate problems and understand how the business works from all perspectives is crucial to ensure everything is working smoothly.

The T. Howard Foundation opens doors for diverse college students seeking careers in the competitive media and entertainment industry. Kick-start your career with a T. Howard Foundation-sponsored internship.

The application for 2017 internships is now open. The early deadline for submission is Monday, October 31. The final deadline is Thursday, December 1.

THF Alumna Jordan Budget Scores Diverse Experiences at NBA

Jordan Budget was a 2014 T. Howard Foundation intern at Showtime Networks. She is currently part of the rotational NBA Associate Program in New York. Jordan received her Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Global Studies in 2015 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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Jordan Budget (right) attends the 2016 THF MEN event hosted by at NBA headquarters. Also pictured: Preston Chin (THF  ’12, ’13), Partnership Solutions, NBA, and LaShika Howard, THF Senior Manager, Career & Alumni Services

NBA Associates Experience Four Departments
As an NBA Associate, I rotate through four different departments with four different responsibilities. My third rotation was in the partnerships department, and my responsibilities included identifying new partners with which the NBA could to do deals, what would be included in the contracts and establishing why the new relationships are important.

THF Internship at Showtime Created Networking Opportunities
I interned at Showtime Networks, and the best part was connecting with other THF interns and alumni to learn their experiences. I was also excited to have been assigned a mentor through THF’s Internship Program.

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Jordan participates in a networking exercise as a THF intern at the 2014 Summer Intern Orientation.

THF taught me about the importance of networking and getting to know people in the media and entertainment industry. The networking skills I learned from THF Summer Intern Orientation have benefited me in the long run, and has helped open doors for me at the NBA.

Be Willing to Learn in New Positions
The most important thing for someone new to the industry is to be honest. At the entry level, it’s important to enter a company with a willingness to learn. Be upfront with yourself and with other people about your experience (what you know and what you don’t know); managers will appreciate that and provide opportunities for you to learn and grow.

One of the most rewarding aspects of my job is telling people that I work for the NBA. I find that my family is proud of me, not just for the professional position I’m in, but the fact that I’m a woman in a male-dominated company. I’m proud that I can sit at the table and be respected.

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Jordan (second from right) connects with other THF alumni and media industry decision makers at THF’s 2015 Diversity Awards Dinner.

Career Goals Often Change
When speaking with younger people, I often find that they have a dream job in mind. In my internship at Showtime, and now working at the NBA, I find that no one came out of college with a complete, clear career path and went straight there. Many of them worked their way around to gain different experiences before setting long-term goals.

Jasmine Shockness: From THF Intern to Rising Star

Jasmine Shockness was a 2011 T. Howard Foundation intern for NBCUniversal’s content distribution department. She currently works as Manager, Sales and Business Development for Viacom Media Networks in New York. Jasmine was honored at the 2016 T. Howard Foundation Diversity Awards Dinner as this year’s “Rising Star.”

Jasmine’s thoughts on working in the media industry and how THF helped get her there, in her own words:

Current Job Responsibilities
My responsibilities as Manager, Sales and Business Development at Viacom are to build and maintain relationships with clients, including affiliates, as well as Comcast, Time Warner and Verizon. I also work to find new business opportunities for the company.

Homework Doesn’t End When School’s Over
One of the executives I worked with stressed the importance of doing “homework”—being prepared for every meeting you’re in and every introduction you’re going to make. I always “google” people before I meet them, and I’ve found that it has allowed me to be successful with my clients. Just knowing a little bit about them before meeting has really made a difference, even knowing what client representatives look like.

Your Work Colleagues are Your Network
The most rewarding aspect of my job is working with amazing people. I have been extremely fortunate to work with a group of people who encourage me and teach me new things. I think it’s great to have a network of people who want me to be better because it makes the company better.

THF Offers Unique Resources
One of the greatest things THF has is an abundance of resources for their interns and alumni. Sometimes people forget what a great resource THF is, and they fail to utilize it. If you use the strategies you learned as a THF intern, make yourself known to the THF staff and your intern class, you’ll never know where you and your peers will end up professionally.

 

800 Media Professionals Celebrate Industry Diversity Strides at THF’s Annual Awards Dinner and Fundraiser

Russell Simmons, John Ridley among awards presenters

For the 23rd year, the T. Howard Foundation (THF) brought together top media industry leaders at its annual Diversity Awards Dinner—but this year was different. Nearly 800—a record—media and entertainment professionals attended and supported THF and its programs for minority college students and young professionals seeking careers in media.

At the Diversity Awards Dinner, which took place on Wednesday, March 23 at New York City’s Cipriani Wall Street, THF recognized HBO and ABC for outstanding leadership in the area of diversity. Additionally, THF saluted its most recent internship program class and new hires, and acknowledged the internship host companies and employers.

“In 2015, THF placed 106 students in paid internships in the industry. The same year, 43 THF Internship Program alumni were hired into the industry, with an additional hired outside of media by such respected companies as Accenture, KPMG and Deloitte,” said Jo Pamphile, THF President & CEO.

Jasmine Shockness (THF ’11), Manager of Sales and Business Development at Viacom, spoke to attendees about her journey from THF intern at NBCUniversal to a full-time employee in the media industry. Shockness was acknowledged as THF’s 2016 Rising Star.

Russell Simmons, entrepreneur, author, activist and philanthropist, presented THF’s Corporate Excellence Award to his friend and colleague, Richard Plepler, Chairman & CEO of HBO. Simmons recounted his long-standing friendship with Plepler and professional relationship with HBO.

Accepting the Corporate Champion Award on behalf of Channing Dungey, President of ABC Entertainment, was Academy Award winner John Ridley. Dungey is the first African American to head a major network, and Ridley is the creator and executive producer of ABC’s “American Crime,” for which he has received an Emmy.

Additionally, THF presented two Diversity Partner Awards to Crown Media Family Networks and Microsoft Corporation. Bill Abbott, Crown Media’s President & CEO and Martin Sacchi, General Manager, Business Development, Media & Entertainment Group at Microsoft Corporation accepted the awards. Both companies have supported the Diversity Awards Dinner for more than four consecutive years.

During the evening, THF presented a silent auction with more than 30 items and exciting experiences donated by companies supporting the dinner, including tickets to a seven-day Disney Cruise, 2017 Super Bowl, season finale of “Project Runway,” and tapings of “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” and “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.”

Diversity Awards Dinner emcee, Juju Chang, Co-Anchor of ABC News’s “Nightline” led a live auction during dinner, featuring tickets to the 2017 college football championship game and a private 10-person dinner at the Food Network Kitchen and Studios.

A spontaneous live auction surprise happened when Mark Kang, Senior Vice President, Worldwide Distribution at INSP, took to the stage and auctioned off tickets to a Rihanna concert at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. The generous winner gave the four tickets to THF interns.

Earlier in the day, THF hosted its 2nd annual Diversity Meet & Greet for New York-based Internship Program alumni who are actively seeking full-time positions in the media industry. Human resources representatives and recruiters from AMC Networks, Disney and ESPN Media Networks, Grey Group, HBO, Reuters and Viacom gave presentations and networked with more than 30 THF alumni.

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Many THF Alumni Launch On-Air and Production Careers

T. Howard Foundation interns represent most business functions of the media and entertainment industry. Take a look at a few Internship Program alumni who have reached careers in media on-air and in production at major media companies.

This video first aired at the T. Howard Foundation 2016 Diversity Awards Dinner, in front of an audience of 800 media and entertainment industry executives.

THF Continues Investment in Alumni Career Pursuits with Scott Weiss Scholarship

The T. Howard Foundation (THF) is excited to announce the recipients of the 2015 Scott Weiss Scholarship, an annual merit-based award granted to eligible alumni of THF’s Internship Program.

Now in its 17th year, the alumni scholarship provides eligible former interns with financial assistance for their academic and career pursuits, including college tuition, textbooks and/or expenses related to professional development, such as conferences and workshops that help prepare recipients for a career in the media industry.

This year, THF awarded $15,000 in scholarships, and individual scholarships can range up to $3,000.

The scholarship is named in honor of Scott Weiss, THF founder and Chairman Emeritus. He is currently CEO and Owner of Speakeasy, a THF partner company.

2015 Scott Weiss Scholarship Award Recipients are (including current institution, expected undergraduate graduation year, THF internship program year and internship host company):

  • Eric Chavous (University of Pittsburgh, MBA and Law student), THF ’15, Paramount Pictures
  • Nicole Dei (University of Maryland, College Park, Broadcast Journalism, ’16), THF ’15, NBCUniversal
  • Paul DiNapoli (University of Pennsylvania, Economics/Political Science,’17), THF ’15, Comcast Corporation
  • Robyn Green (University of Michigan, Communications, ’16), THF ’15, AMC Networks
  • Ying Ting Hu (SUNY Binghamton University, Economics/Psychology, ’16), THF ’15, AMC Networks
  • Nazifa Nasim (Fordham University, Business Administration, ’17), THF ’15, Discovery Communications
  • Dorisa Rodney (Pennsylvania State University, Advertising, ’16), THF ’15, NBCUniversal
  • Isabelle Thenor-Louis (Brown University, Anthropology, ’16), THF ’15, Viacom (BET)
  • Lyn Tran (Brown University, Economics, ’17), THF ’15, Univision

 

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Meaningful Mentor Relationships Help Build Professional Networks

January is #NationalMentoringMonth. An important benefit that all T. Howard Foundation interns experience is being paired with a mentor. Most THF mentors currently work in the media and entertainment industry, and volunteer their time to assist a new generation of diverse professionals in acclimating to work in the competitive industry.

If you’re an experienced media and entertainment professional and wish to become a mentor to a T. Howard Foundation intern, please contact Shakira Smiler, Assistant Manager, Internship Program. 

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Patrick Mosley (THF ’15) interned at Turner Content Distribution, part of Turner Broadcasting System.

I discovered the T. Howard Foundation (THF) through a professional development event organized by North Carolina A&T State University. I have always been captivated by the media industry, so I selected the breakout session that included a presentation by a THF staff member.

I applied to the THF Internship Program because interns are afforded paid work experiences; the primary internship cities were attractive to me; and the Foundation provides its talent pool of minority students with a concentrated approach to encounter decision makers at the country’s top media companies.

I was offered a summer 2015 THF internship with Turner Content Distribution of Turner Broadcasting System. In my internship role as a financial analyst, I examined cable subscriber trends and conducted forensic industry research. I also created various revenue and subscriber models to predict future outcomes.

IMG_0640Although I enjoyed my work and was surprised at the level of creative license analysts are given, one of the most rewarding parts my internship was developing a relationship with my assigned mentor. Each year, all THF interns are paired with a mentor at the beginning of their internship, and I couldn’t have asked for a better-suited mentor than Kenneth Sharkey, THF board member and Partner, Entertainment Media & Communications at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Mr. Sharkey took an active role in my professional growth from the moment we first spoke. I feel comfortable asking for his advice regarding personal and professional decisions, and he has always responded with wisdom. Not only has my THF mentor taken an active role in being a member of my network, he has made effective efforts to grow it.

It feels good when you meet someone who, today, is where you dream to be someday. After completing my summer THF internship, Mr. Sharkey helped me prepare for a competitive core assurance internship with PricewaterhouseCoopers. His mentorship has helped me reach clarity in my career pursuits, and learning more about his professional journey has also given me confidence in my own abilities. I’m truly grateful that we were paired.

THF creates opportunities for this type of special connection through the quality of their partnerships and the care they extend to each selected intern. I continue to stay in contact with THF simply because it is a quality organization that provides an invaluable opportunity to students who might not ordinarily get the chance to showcase their talents at major, competitive corporations. I have no doubt that every intern granted an internship assignment via THF has experienced professional growth—which is the main reason I decided to apply to the Internship Program initially.

Due to THF’s backing, today, I can enter the workforce prepared, and with direct access to a supportive, successful and influential network.

Patrick Mosley earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from North Carolina A&T State University. He is currently an MBA candidate at North Carolina Central University.

THF Internship Program Turns 20: Alumni Spotlight–Shandra McDonald

In 1995, when Shandra McDonald was accepted into the T. Howard Foundation Internship Program‘s inaugural class, she was a graduate student studying film at Howard University. One of just 14 THF interns that year, Shandra went on to have a successful production career, on her own terms.

This is Shandra’s first person account of her journey from intern to production company CEO.

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I learned about the T. Howard Foundation through Howard University. Howard was always aggressive in encouraging its students to gain real world experience through internships. I had several internships throughout college, and Howard professors and career counselors knew me as someone who was always looking for opportunities to learn, so I always had my eyes on the career and internship board.

During my second semester of my three-year MFA degree program, I was hired as an intern at the Discovery Channel in nearby Silver Spring, Maryland through the T. Howard Foundation. I worked in the CD-ROM division, and at that time, Discovery was beginning to expand, so they were doing a lot of cataloging.

As a film student and a filmmaker, I wasn’t initially thrilled with the idea of working in the CD-ROM department, but I ended up loving it. I worked hard and met many individuals, and my manager was impressed with the work I completed.

Elevator Pitch Helps Land Freelance Job
I’m an ambitious person, and I pay attention to everything that is happening around me. While I was a CD-ROM intern, I learned that the Discovery Channel had a stock footage library, and I knew that there were different opportunities for work in that division. I met the division head in the elevator, and introduced myself and asked if I could set up a meeting with him.

As a film student at Howard University, I was learning about traditional narrative-based film editing and directing. But during my internship and freelance work at Discovery, I had learned and experienced first-hand about offline, non-linear editing, which made me more versatile. As a direct result of that internship, I was offered and accepted a freelance editing position in Discovery’s newly launched international division. This work offered me an additional education that I was being paid to receive—although I had to balance activities and my graduate school thesis. At the time, I was also producing projects at Howard, and I was gaining valuable experience that I could translate into a full-time job.

Timing is Everything
As a freelancer in the international division, my manager knew I was preparing to graduate with an MFA. He was seeking a full-time producer, and the timing couldn’t have been better. Because I had worked for Discovery as an intern through the T. Howard Foundation, I was hired as a freelancer, which ultimately led me to a full-time producer position, a job for which I didn’t even need to apply because I was already vetted and in the Discovery system.

I produced programming with the Discovery Channel Foundation for underdeveloped areas in Africa. I directed full segments overseas and edited existing programs to be later aired on the Discovery Channel.

Prestigious Award is Catalyst for Move to L.A.
In 1998, after learning that my Howard University short film thesis won the Directors Guild of America Student Film Award, I was invited to move to Los Angeles to work in post-production for several BET movies that were based on romantic novels. I worked on that project for close to a year before I freelance wrote and produced for reality television production companies.

I moved to Atlanta in 2002 and worked for Paramount Pictures on The Fighting Temptations. As Atlanta was growing as a production city, I began field producing and story editing for Turner and a number of Atlanta-based production companies.

Reach High—But Don’t Go Overboard
In 2005, I formed Kiss the Limit Productions, where we tell stories that transform peoples’ lives. I realized early on in my career that I wanted to present empowering stories, and those that are compelling and artistically based. Kiss the Limit is a reflection of my motto that you have to reach for the greatest heights in this industry, but not go too far. My company produces short and long form content for a variety of clients in television and film.

Through Kiss the Limit, I’ve produced such feature films as The Last Adam, which is now in Redbox, and A Cross to Bear, which aired on ASPiRE, formerly the Gospel Movie Channel. I’ve also directed and produced award-winning documentary projects that have screened in festivals around the world, including the FESPACO Film Festival in Burkina Faso and the Cannes Film Festival in France. My company is currently producing a documentary on an early intervention model for girls who are at risk for prostitution called Voices. Kiss the Limit secured money from investors and a local bank for this project.

Starting this fall, I’m going to be a professor in Clayton State University’s film production department. I’m excited to share my experience in the field with future filmmakers.

This media business requires a great deal hard work, dedication, innovation and strategy. I knew where I wanted to be in a year. I knew which department I wanted to move to. You have to be able to think ahead and to strategize for evolution through a company and career.