Montez Flenoury: THF 2017 Rising Star

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Montez Flenoury at THF’s 2012 Summer Intern Orientation

Montez Flenoury first discovered the T. Howard Foundation’s Internship Program as a freshman at University of Georgia. Find out how THF was instrumental during his college years, and how he landed a full-time position as Associate Booking Producer for NBC’s The Today Show, and chosen as THF’s 2017 Rising Star.

We sat down with Montez at last month’s annual Diversity Awards Dinner, prior to his Rising Star speech.

I was a freshman, pre-journalism major at UGA and joined the National Association of Black Journalists on campus. I knew I had a serious interest in media, and a THF staff member visited campus to present to our group. I thought THF was something I’d be interested in, so I spoke with my career advisor and I applied. I went through the interview process and was selected for an internship. I was initially concerned because I didn’t have experience, but after the semester ended, I was selected for an internship in the sales operations department with Turner Network Sales in Atlanta.

At Turner Network Sales, my responsibilities included working on organization charts. I attended meetings and I met quite a few THF alumni who had become full-time employees. I worked on marketing projects and also attended a number of events.

Two THF Internships Provided Career Clarity

As a rising senior in 2012, I secured another internship with Cartoon Network. I had decided to major in public relations, and sought an internship where I could obtain PR experience, still in the media industry. Since Cartoon Network is part of the Turner family, I spoke with the THF team to see if my internship could be converted to a THF internship. Fusing Cartoon Network and THF, I was able to have a great second internship experience, coupled with the valuable information I received at Summer Intern Orientation.

In my Cartoon Network internship, I worked on a major project from original conception to completion as a true member of the team.

THF Interns are Their Own Network
The word “network” doesn’t always get the recognition it deserves. As a THF intern, there are numerous opportunities to meet, connect and build relationships with a lot of different people. We tend, however, to underestimate the network we have with our THF class interns, in addition to meeting executives. The new THF interns are working in the media industry as well, and can be great resources now and in the future.

With THF, the resources are incredible, and I received a Scott Weiss Scholarship that helped me study abroad. The staff was always there to help me and connect me with others. The staff has so many partners in different business functions within the industry.

THF Alumni Status Opens Doors
Just before graduation from UGA, I attended the 2013 THF Diversity Awards Dinner in New York. I was in the process of interviewing for NBC’s page program at the time, and I spoke with an NBC executive at the dinner. I asked him for suggestions on how to get farther along in the interview process. I think this contact and others helped me to be selected for the page program. That was extremely instrumental to beginning my journey with NBCUniversal.

After working as an NBC page for a year, I became a production assistant for The Today Show. I later worked for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, and now I’m back at The Today Show as an Associate Booking Producer. In my current role, I book guests that a team of producers wants to have on the show. These guests range from news guests to people from the world of politics and entertainment.

2017 Diversity Awards Dinner photo album

The 24th Annual T. Howard Foundation Diversity Awards Dinner was held March 29 at Cipriani Wall Street in New York.

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2017 Honorees:

AT&T – Corporate Excellence Award
Accepted by John Stankey, CEO, AT&T Entertainment Group

FX Networks – Corporate Leadership Award
Accepted by John Landgraf, CEO, FX Networks and FX Productions

TV One – Family of Champions Award
Accepted by Cathy Hughes, Founder and Chairperson, Radio One
and Alfred C. Liggins, III, CEO, Radio One and Chairman and CEO, TV One

Major League Baseball – Diversity Partner Award
Accepted by Renee E. Tirado, VP of Talent Acquisition and Diversity & Inclusion

Pac-12 Networks – Diversity Partner Award
Accepted by Lydia Murphy-Stephans, President

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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