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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Two THF Media Internships Provided Career Clarity

If you’re a minority college student interested in launching a career in any business function of the media industry, apply to the T. Howard Foundation Internship Program. The final deadline is December 1.

Cameron Gamble

Cameron Gamble (THF ’14, ’15)

Entering my sophomore year as a double English and Political Science major at Georgetown University, I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do as a career. I changed my major and I felt as if my life goals and plans had suddenly taken a turn. That was until my friend and T. Howard Foundation (THF) Internship Program alumna Danyel Semple (THF ’13, ’14) told me about THF and how it helped to shape and mold her career goals.

THF Submits Prepared and Motivated Students for Internship Interviews
I immediately researched the Internship Program and instantly knew THF was something I wanted to be apart of. I went through the application process and the phone interview, and I was selected for THF’s talent pool. I was both anxious and nervous, because I knew admission into the talent pool did not guarantee a summer internship. As I finished my last final of sophomore year, I received a phone call from Turner Network Sales’ contract administration department offering me an internship for summer 2014 in Atlanta, my hometown. I was ecstatic, but even more, I was thankful for the T. Howard Foundation for submitting me for this opportunity.

Experience Expanded Beyond One Department
Working in Turner Network Sales’ contract administration department was both challenging and analytical. Twice weekly, my team met with the legal department to discuss contracts that were coming to a close and whether Turner was going to renew them. Sitting at the table with corporate lawyers and updating the contract database for the department was a hands-on opportunity that many interns do not receive.

I was ultimately responsible for the management of 50 contracts, which required close textual reading and multitasking. I conducted research and created a national sub-distribution spreadsheet, which reflected large cable companies and their relationships with small receivers. This project became a direct key for both the corporate lawyers and the contract administration department.

When I left Turner Network Sales at the end of the summer, I realized that I developed so many transferrable skills such as communicating in the work environment, dressing professionally, solving problems as a team, and most importantly, networking. I could not have asked for a better experience or a better program in the T. Howard Foundation to provide me with such an amazing internship.

CameronGambleTHF Alumni Eligible to Reapply for Second Internship
Following my 2014 THF internship at Turner Network Sales, I immediately knew I wanted to complete another internship in the media and entertainment industry. But this time I had my eyes set on the working in New York. Because THF works with major media companies based in the city, I reapplied to the Internship Program.

Once again I waited and opportunity knocked; I was offered a 2015 summer internship at iHeartMedia. A THF Internship Program alumnus worked for iHeartMedia, and arranged for the company to be a new THF partner.

At iHeartMedia, I assisted the event and venue partnerships department with national event ideation and execution, as well as aided in sponsorship sales for the iHeartRadio Music Festival, which is the company’s largest national tentpole event.

The T. Howard Foundation granted me the vision and opportunity to achieve professional workplace experience in an industry that is both challenging and competitive.

I am thankful to THF for providing me with mentors who guided me along the way when things got tough, and provided me with insight with each step. Despite what I receive in the classroom at Georgetown, the T. Howard Foundation has provided me with two years of expansive knowledge that pertains to networking, how to present myself in the workplace and more importantly how to be a #THFBOSS (Building Outstanding Skills for Success).

Cameron Gamble is a senior double major in English and Political Science at Georgetown University.

Tamara Hall’s Persistent Networking Leads to HBO

Tamara Hall, Comm 465 and 481, Spring 2014The importance of smart networking is an aspect of career building that is expertly conveyed to minority students participating in the T. Howard Foundation Internship Program. Tamara Hall, a 2013 summer intern at Comcast, leveraged her contacts into her first job in the media industry.

While studying broadcast journalism at Penn State University, Tamara attended a THF information session in Fall 2012. Excited about the prospect of receiving hands-on experience in the media industry, she applied and was accepted into the Internship Program’s competitive talent pool. In March 2013, Tamara received an interview request from Comcast, and was offered a summer internship in the deployment support department at the company’s headquarters in Philadelphia.

Opportunities Knock in Every Department
Based on her college major and career interests, Tamara was hoping to be placed in the production department at Comcast. But instead of being disappointed that she had been assigned to deployment support, Tamara viewed this as an opportunity to learn about the business operations of a media company.

As Comcast was introducing new internal software during Tamara’s internship, one of her major responsibilities was to assess call center employees’ response to the new program. Her team traveled to one of the company’s call centers in Utah to evaluate the use of the system. Tamara seized an opportunity to expand her role by asking her manager if she could video record the call center interviews. This would provide video evidence of the project, to which could be referred in the future. Her manager agreed and she recorded some of the interviews during the weeklong stay in Utah.

After her summer internship ended, Tamara returned to Penn State to complete her final year of college and began making plans for a career the media industry. “I was traveling back and forth to New York on my little paychecks just to meet with people, to have lunch and learn about their jobs,” said Tamara about her focus on networking.

a6-2THF Provided Guidance and Networking Opportunities After Internship
Through her internship and by attending T. Howard Foundation events, Tamara built a network of media professionals. At the Foundation’s 2014 Diversity Awards Dinner, Tamara met Sharita Petersen, a writer and producer for BET Networks. Through this interaction, Tamara landed an internship in BET’s creative services department right after she graduated. The awards dinner is also where she began networking with HBO staff members, including Carla Moore, Vice President of Talent Acquisition.

All T. Howard Foundation interns receive a complimentary yearlong membership to the National Association for Multi-ethnicity in Communications (NAMIC). Through her membership, Tamara volunteered at the 2014 NAMIC convention, where she again spoke with Carla Moore. Moore introduced her to two human resources representatives from HBO, and later contacted one of the recruiters about an open position. “She sent my information to the position’s hiring manager, and now that manager is my boss.”

Networking and Follow-Up Leads to Full-Time HBO Position

Tamara Hall with Andre Holland (from Cinemax's (and HBO company) "The Knick"

Tamara Hall with Andre Holland from Cinemax’s (an HBO company) “The Knick”

In December 2014, Tamara became an executive assistant in creative services at HBO. The position requires that she support the production and marketing units. It combines her interest and background in production as well as skills honed at Comcast. She feels that the position will allow her to transition to other areas, and her manager has encouraged her to enhance her editing skills through training funded by the company.

Although she has landed a job that she enjoys, Tamara continues to network. “I gave myself a goal to meet with at least two people from a different department at HBO every month.” Working in a large department, Tamara says, can be challenging, but she knows firsthand the value of building relationships.

2015 Summer Intern Orientation #THFMADE

The T. Howard Foundation welcomed 90 minority college students to the media and entertainment industry at Summer Intern Orientation, held June 1-3 in Silver Spring, Md. Representing 48 colleges and universities throughout the United States, the juniors, seniors and graduate students have been placed in internship positions at 34 media companies in New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Washington, DC, Atlanta and Charlotte. The theme for this year’s Summer Intern Orientation was MADE: Motivated, Aware & Determined to Excel, and media industry professionals facilitated interactive personal and professional development sessions, including:

Sessions were also presented on the current state of the media industry; leveraging your best self for a successful summer internship; human resources; business communication; creating your own career path; and effective networking techniques. THF alumni (and current industry employees) also offered tips for students to maximize their internships and prepare for careers in the industry. Special thanks for Grey Group for sponsoring this year’s Summer Intern Orientation as a Diversity Partner! View a slideshow below from the 2015 Summer Intern Orientation.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.