Alumni Spotlight: Soon Kwon, THF 2015 Rising Star

T Howard Foundation 22nd Annual Diversity Awards Dinner

Soon Kwon and TV One’s Roland Martin, emcee, at the 2015 THF Diversity Awards Dinner.

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.”

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2015 Diversity Awards Dinner Program

The 2015 Diversity Awards Dinner, held at New York’s Cipriani Wall Street on Wednesday, March 25, was attended by more than 720 media industry professionals.

The Diversity Awards Dinner is the primary source of funding for the T. Howard Foundation’s programs and services, and is also a premier industry networking event.

Record Number of Media Professionals Celebrate Diversity at Annual Dinner

Tribute to ESPN’s Stuart Scott is emotional evening highlight

On Wednesday, March 25, a record-setting 720 people representing all business functions of the media industry came together to celebrate diversity at the T. Howard Foundation’s (THF) 22nd Annual Diversity Awards Dinner, held at New York’s Cipriani Wall Street. THF recognized major media corporations and executives for their consistent support of the annual dinner and outstanding leadership in the area of diversity.

ESPN's Sean Bratches and Susan Scott, sister of the late ESPN anchor Stuart Scott
ESPN’s Sean Bratches and Susan Scott, sister of late ESPN anchor Stuart Scott

A highlight of the evening was a tribute to the late ESPN sports anchor Stuart Scott and an announcement of the establishment of the Stuart Scott-T. Howard Foundation Internship at ESPN. Scott was a long-time THF friend, supporter and three-time Diversity Awards Dinner emcee.

Rosalyn Durant (THF ’97, ’98), T. Howard Foundation Board member and VP, College Sports Programming, ESPN, introduced a tribute video to Stuart Scott. His sister, Susan Scott, accepted a commemorative plaque presented by Sean Bratches, EVP, Sales & Marketing, ESPN, and reflected on the impact her brother made on all whose lives he touched.

Roland Martin, Host and Managing Editor, NewsOne Now, TV One, emceed the Diversity Awards Dinner program for the second time.

THF also saluted the internship class of 2014, the students’ host company partners and acknowledged new hires.

The following media industry leaders were honored at this year’s Diversity Awards Dinner:

Michael Schwimmer, CEO, Fuse Media, right, after Charlie Ergen, left, presents the Executive Leadership Award.Michael Schwimmer, CEO, Fuse Media, right, after Charlie Ergen, left, presents the Executive Leadership Award.

Executive Leadership Award
Michael Schwimmer, CEO, Fuse Media

As CEO of Fuse Media, Michael Schwimmer oversees cable television networks NUVOtv (formerly SíTV), the premier English-language destination for Latino entertainment, and national music network Fuse.

Charlie Ergen, Chairman and Co-Founder, DISH Network, served as a Diversity Awards Dinner Chair and presented the Executive Leadership Award to Michael Schwimmer.

 

Ozzie_TylerOzzie Areu, right, accepts the Champion Award for Tyler Perry.

Champion Award
Tyler Perry, Filmmaker, Actor and Philanthropist
Accepted by Ozzie Areu, President, Tyler Perry Studios

Tyler Perry is an established American actor, director, screenwriter, producer, playwright and author. In 2012, he teamed up with Oprah Winfrey in an exclusive deal to bring scripted programming to the OWN network.

Diversity Partners Awards
The Foundation presented its first Diversity Partners Awards to non-board member companies that have supported the Diversity Awards Dinner for more than four consecutive years.

The Foundation presented its first Diversity Partners Awards to non-board member companies that have supported the Diversity Awards Dinner for more than four consecutive years.

T Howard Foundation 22nd Annual Diversity Awards Dinner
Dane Snowden, right, accepts the Diversity Partners Award for NCTA

National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA)
Accepted by Dane Snowden, Chief of Staff

NCTA is the principal trade association for the U.S. cable industry and has supported the Diversity Awards Dinner for nine consecutive years.

T Howard Foundation 22nd Annual Diversity Awards Dinner
Dan Rather, right, accepts the Diversity Partners Award for AXS TV


AXS TV

Accepted by Dan Rather, Anchor and Managing Editor, Dan Rather Reports

AXS TV is the cable industry’s leading general entertainment network for live event programming and is a premier destination for some of the nation’s biggest music festivals. AXS TV has supported the Diversity Awards Dinner for five consecutive years.

The evening’s program featured a balance of media industry newcomers and veterans, including:

T Howard Foundation 22nd Annual Diversity Awards Dinner
THF’s Rising Star, Soon Kwon, right, poses with emcee Roland Martin

THF’s 2015 “Rising Star”: Soon Kwon, THF ’09 (Showtime Networks), Writer/Producer, On-Air Promotion and Digital Content, Showtime Networks.

Award and tribute presenters:

  • T Howard Foundation 22nd Annual Diversity Awards Dinner
    Jordan Stewart, right, presents the Champion Award to Ozzie Areu for Tyler Perry

    Jordan Stewart, THF ’13 (Smithsonian Channel), and former intern, Tyler Perry Studios

  • Ismabel Cueto, THF ’12 (nuvoTV), Human Resources Coordinator, Amplify
  • Priscilla Aviles, THF ’10, ’12 (Univision, Discovery Communications), Ad Sales Planner, DISH Network

The Diversity Awards Dinner also included a silent auction featuring more than 30 national media-related items and experiences, with all proceeds benefitting the Foundation’s programs and services.

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Alumni Spotlight: Kamilah Gray: Industry Contacts Matter–Part 2

Read Part 1 of Kamilah Gray’s journey from T. Howard intern to global media marketing professional at Bloomberg.

Inspired by her THF internship experiences, Kamilah Gray returned to The University of Georgia and formed an organization to connect students to entertainment and sports organizations, including THF. 10517676_10153353427999616_880649289622566954_n

Opened Doors for Classmates Upon returning to UGA for my junior year, I created the Professional Entertainment & Sports Association (PESA) at UGA’S Terry College of Business. The purpose of PESA is to provide a network for highly motivated and passionate students who are committed to the pursuit of business careers in the television, film, music, theatre and sporting industries.

Due to PESA’s presence on campus, students have interned and landed jobs in the media industry through THF and companies that never previously visited UGA, such as Creative Artists Agency.

After graduating from UGA in 2012, another THF alumnus and UGA student, Michael Asmelash, took over as PESA’s president.

All Contacts Count
After my internships, I stayed in touch with the T. Howard Foundation team and attended THF’s annual Diversity Awards Dinner, where I was able to touch base with former interns and network with media industry professionals.

I joined Bloomberg Media in November 2012, after numerous interviews with other media companies. I actually found out about my position through Twitter; a friend tweeted the position to me, I clicked on it and sent in my application.

It just so happened that the person who interviewed me at Bloomberg had previously worked for AMC Networks and had close friends at Time Warner Cable.

Little did I know, my T. Howard connections were falling into place.

A few days later, my interviewer invited me back for a second-round interview. He told me that he called his friend who works at Time Warner Cable (my former boss’s boss) and that person spoke to him about my work at TWC, securing my references for the position.

After two interviews, I was offered the position at Bloomberg, having never provided them with references.

We don’t use titles at Bloomberg, but I do global media marketing for Bloomberg Media. I report to the Global Head of Marketing and Sales Operations and am charged with executing marketing initiatives to generate leads and increase sales across our media properties (video, live TV, news, data and photos) worldwide.

I manage the editorial content and promotional activities across all of our social media channels, execute email campaigns to drive leads, develop marketing collateral for the global sales team and coordinate our global events.

T. Howard Creates Opportunities
The T. Howard Foundation gave me my passion for the media industry; it ignited the flame that allowed me to set a lofty (and aggressive) vision for my career path. Through THF, I have met and been inspired by so many women who not only look like me, but have risen to C-suite and senior executive positions and set a course for young professional women to follow suit.

These role models have inspired me to achieve the grand visions I set for myself–and I look forward to doing so.

Alumni Spotlight: Steven DeShields–Rising Star

Steven DeShields speaks at the 2014 Diversity Awards Dinner

Steven DeShields speaks at the 2014 Diversity Awards Dinner

“My degree in broadcast journalism and marketing from Delaware State University says that I am teachable, but the 10-week journey at Viacom is where I learned how to survive and be successful in this industry; and this is all because of the incredible internship opportunity I had provided by the T. Howard Foundation.”

Steven DeShields, THF ’05, was recognized as a “rising star” at this year’s Diversity Awards Dinner, held March 26 at Cipriani Wall Street in New York.

T. Howard Foundation staff chose Steven as this year’s “Rising Star” because he has shown great promise as a young professional and has remained connected and committed to the Foundation.

We recently spoke with Steven about his journey from being a T. Howard intern to working full-time in the media industry. Here are his thoughts, in his own words.

Steven DeShields and Taylor Adams, VP Affiliate Sales, Showtime Networks at the 2014 Diversity Awards Dinner

Steven DeShields and Taylor Adams, VP Affiliate Sales, Showtime Networks at the 2014 Diversity Awards Dinner

How did you first learn about the T. Howard Foundation?
In 2005, I attended the Howard University job fair. The T. Howard Foundation was at the job fair, so I grabbed information and applications and filled it out over my spring break while I was home in Philadelphia.

What attracted you to the Foundation and the internship program?
Immediately, that it was paid (laughs). But I knew the importance of getting an internship in the industry. My professors and advisors at Delaware State told me that it was crucial to get an internship in the industry; practical experience is a necessity for success. I was also attracted to the Foundation because it is geared toward internships, and ultimately careers, for minorities. Diversity in all industries—especially the media business, is important to me.

What were your career goals before learning about the T. Howard Foundation?
My dream was to work in broadcast journalism—primarily in sports. I continue to hone on that craft and I’m a student of the sports world. I’m a big fan of ESPN and other sports networks— that’s what I entered school for. I decided, however, to pick up another bag of tricks in the industry—and not put all my eggs in one basket.

Where did you intern through T. Howard?
I interned for Viacom, back when it was coined MTV Networks, and I worked specifically for nick@nite and TVLand’s on-air creative group.

I was an intern production assistant. My college advisor told me to act like I worked there because then I’d get the most out of the internship. You won’t learn anything getting coffee, and the Foundation really set the bar. During my 10 weeks as a Viacom intern, I worked with producers an associate producers.

I worked on a package, or a “stunt” for nick@nite, sponsored by Head & Shoulders shampoo to find the “sexiest hair on nick@nite.” I sat through hours of “Full House” episodes trying to find video of John Stamos playing with his hair. I then had to consolidate 40 episodes into 30 seconds.

What was your career journey after your internship?
I made it a point to stay in touch with folks from the Foundation and people I met at my class’s Diversity Awards Dinner.

After my college graduation, I moved to Atlanta and worked in radio promotions and sales for about a year and a half. I then found my way back to Viacom using relationships I had formed during my internship.

I spent 5 years at Viacom in ad sales for Nickelodeon, and then in a group that trained ad sales employees for the entire company. That was from 2008 until December 2012. I continued to work my relationships and caught the eye of people at Showtime to help train and develop for them.

What’s your current position at Showtime Networks?
I’m a manager, point of sale for Showtime Networks. I have one client, Verizon, and my job is to hit the road and visit to Verizon call center environments where people proactively call about their Verizon service, and I make sure call center employees are involved in selling Showtime programming.

How do you currently interact with the Foundation?
I’ve participated in a couple of internship orientations and sat on an alumni panel. Every opportunity I can get to do my part, I do. I do want to see many more male alumni to come back and work with the Foundation. I want to pay it forward.

What was the most memorable aspect of this year’s Diversity Awards Dinner for you?
The interns—hands-down. The Diversity Awards Dinner is about them and you really get the opportunity to see how great the Foundation is in cultivating the interns.

The former interns weren’t just there for the dinner, to look nice and hear their names, but they made it a point to be aggressive and deliberate.

What continues to impress me about T. Howard interns is how they truly want to work in the industry; they are so eager. That’s something that’s always the biggest takeaway from the dinner.

2014 Diversity Awards Dinner Brings Together Media Executives, Interns and Supporters

On Wednesday, March 26, T. Howard Foundation (THF) board and staff welcomed more than 635 media industry representatives for the Foundation’s 21st annual Diversity Awards Dinner, held at Cipriani Wall Street in New York.

THF recognized media corporations and executives for outstanding leadership in the area of diversity, and saluted the Foundation’s internship class of 2013 and acknowledged the students’ host company partners.

“The T. Howard Foundation is thankful for the support and partnership with so many media companies that enables the organization to provide the priceless gift of opportunity to young people of color,” said Jo Pamphile, THF President & CEO. “I’m proud that in 2013, 103 THF talent pool students gained professional work experiences with our media host company partners. In addition, last year 32 T. Howard alumni were hired for full-time positions in the industry.”

The following media industry leaders were honored at this year’s Diversity Awards Dinner:

thoward-5278Corporate Excellence Award
Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., accepted by John K. Martin, CEO

Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. has been a THF media partner since 1994 and has increased financial and internship program support over the years. Turner has demonstrated its commitment to presenting quality programming and content that reflects and respects the diversity of its global audience.

 

 

thoward-5117Innovative Program Award
Comcast|NBCUniversal, for Internet Essentials, accepted by David L. Cohen, Executive Vice President, Comcast Corporation

Internet Essentials is the nation’s most comprehensive broadband adoption program. It provides families with children eligible to receive a free or reduced school lunch the opportunity to purchase low-cost Internet service, a low-cost computer and to participate in digital literacy training either in person, in print or online.

thoward-5241

Champion Award
Salaam Coleman Smith, President, Strategic Initiatives, Cable Entertainment Group, NBCUniversal

Ms. Coleman Smith, as past president, led the Style Network, growing it into a prominent cable destination for young, diverse, female audiences.

The evening’s program featured a balance of media industry newcomers and veterans, including:

  • THF’s 2013 “Rising Star”: Steven DeShields, THF’ 05 (Viacom), Manager, Point of Sales, Showtime Networks, Inc.
  • Award and tribute presenters:

o   Jacqueline Hernandez, COO, Telemundo Media

o   Nadya Mason, THF ’13 (Comcast Corporation) and University of Pennsylvania student

o   Carlos Morcillo, THF ’12 (Speakeasy), Marketing Analyst, Telemundo Media

o   Camly Nguyen, THF ’13 (Turner Network Sales), Sales Operation Coordinator, Turner Network Sales

o   Cristina Recino, THF ‘13 (Viacom) and Penn State University student

  • Michaela Pereira, CNN News Anchor for “New Day” and Co-Anchor of “@This Hour, emceed the Diversity Awards program.

The T. Howard Foundation’s Diversity Awards Dinner also included a silent auction featuring more than 40 national media-related items and experiences, with all proceeds benefitting the Foundation’s summer internship program.

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T. Howard Foundation Showcases Media Leaders at Diversity Awards

Members of THF’s internship class of 2012 attended last year’s Diversity Awards Dinner.

For the 21st year, the T. Howard Foundation (THF) will bring together top media industry leaders at the Foundation’s Diversity Awards.

At the Foundation’s annual dinner, taking place on Wed., March 26, 2014 at 6 p.m. at Cipriani Wall Street in New York, THF will recognize media corporations and executives for outstanding leadership in the area of diversity. Additionally, the T. Howard Foundation will salute its most recent internship program class and acknowledge their host company partners.

The following media industry leaders will be honored at this year’s Diversity Awards Dinner:

Corporate Excellence Award
Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.
Accepted by John K. Martin, CEO

Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. has been a THF media partner since 1994 and has increased financial and internship program support over the years. Turner has demonstrated its commitment to presenting quality programming and content that reflects and respects the diversity of its global audience.

Innovative Program Award
Comcast|NBCUniversal, for Internet Essentials
Accepted by David L. Cohen, Executive Vice President, Comcast Corporation

Internet Essentials is the nation’s most comprehensive broadband adoption program. It provides families with children eligible to receive a free or reduced school lunch the opportunity to purchase low-cost Internet service, a low-cost computer and to participate in digital literacy training either in person, in print or online.

Champion Award
Salaam Coleman Smith, President, Strategic Initiatives, Cable Entertainment Group, NBCUniversal

Ms. Coleman Smith, as past president, led the Style Network, growing it into a prominent cable destination for young, diverse, female audiences.

“The T. Howard Foundation is extremely proud to recognize Turner Broadcasting System, Comcast|NBCUniversal and Salaam Coleman Smith for demonstrating their commitment to diversity in the media industry and the community at large,” said Jo Pamphile, THF President & CEO. “We are also delighted that so many of our internship program alumni are now working full-time in the industry, and we will continue to work with our industry partners to ensure that those numbers continue to increase.”

Chairs for THF’s Diversity Awards Dinner include the following media industry executives: Coleman Breland, President, Turner Network Sales; Jacqueline Hernandez, COO, Telemundo Media; Ray Hopkins, President, Television Networks Distribution, CBS Corporation; and Charisse R. Lillie, Vice President, Community Investment, Comcast Corporation and President, Comcast Foundation.

The evening will begin at 6 p.m. with a reception and silent auction. Following the 7:30 p.m. dinner and program is a dessert reception.

Individual tickets and corporate tables are available for purchase. To reserve a seat or a table, contact Maria Ducheine at 212.997.0100, ext. 214 or mducheine@projectsplusinc.com.