Soon Kwon, THF ’05, Showtime Networks, was recognized as a “rising star” at this year’s Diversity Awards Dinner, held March 25 at Cipriani Wall Street in New York.
The T. Howard Foundation team chose Soon as this year’s “Rising Star” because she has shown great promise as a young professional and has remained connected and committed to the Foundation.
View Soon’s “Alumni Spotlight” video and read the inspiring remarks she delivered at the Diversity Awards Dinner below.
In 1985, my parents left their home in South Korea to pursue the American Dream. Growing up with immigrant parents, the media played a huge role in shaping my understanding of Western culture. My love of TV and movies as a kid turned into a passion for creating elaborate videos for class projects in high school. By then, it was pretty clear I wasn’t going to be pursuing a career in medicine or law.
During my junior year at Penn State, my telecommunications professor told me about an opportunity with the T. Howard Foundation. After an intense application process and an interview with [THF Board member and Penn State alumnus] Tom Hayden, I landed my first internship with Showtime Networks in the summer of 2005.
I was assigned to the Creative Services department. For the next ten weeks, I made dubs, delivered tapes and even worked on a few projects for the television show Dexter. I learned a lot about the promotional world of premium cable and met some great people, including Darrin Carter.
Darrin was a Production Assistant and also a former T. Howard intern. This created an instant bond between us and he ultimately became a friend and mentor. My favorite thing about Darrin was that he would wear a suit to work everyday, which was unusual for a PA. “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have,” he would say.
Looking back, I could have never imagined how that internship experience would change my life. But it did. Because the following year, I returned to Showtime and have been there ever since.
If there’s one lesson I’d like to share, it’s the value of saying “yes” to opportunities in life, no matter how scary it may seem at first. Just like my parents said “yes” to the opportunity of moving to this country for a chance at a better life, I found myself saying “yes” to opportunities for the chance at a better career.
During my nine years at Showtime, I’ve been a Production Assistant, Graphics Coordinator, Design Studio Manager and Marketing Producer. I’ve had the chance to visit new cities and work with stars like Claire Danes, Don Cheadle and Jon Voight. Last year, I joined the on-air promotions team as a Writer/Producer to work on shows like Homeland, The Affair, Ray Donovan and Shameless. Each experience has been challenging, but completely worth it.
I’m grateful to the T. Howard Foundation for giving me the opportunity to pursue a career that I’m passionate about and proud of. Their commitment to promote diversity and develop young talent is vital to shaping the future of our industry.
I encourage you to say “yes” to opportunities that come your way, so that you don’t just become the person you want you be, but the industry leaders you were MEANT to be. “If you get the chance, take it. If it changes your life, let it.”