Montez Flenoury: THF 2017 Rising Star


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

Univision Communications’ Margaret Lazo Elected to THF Board of Directors

The T. Howard Foundation Board of Directors recently elected Univision Communications Inc.’s Margaret Lazo, Executive Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer, to membership on its board.

Lazo is an accomplished human resources professional. She joined Univision from GE Capital where she most recently served as Human Resources Leader for the North American Commercial Lending and Leasing businesses. From 2012 to 2013, she led Global Human Resources for GE Commercial Real Estate.

Prior to GE Capital, Lazo served in a number of human resources leadership roles at NBC Universal, including Executive Vice President of Human Resources for the cable & broadcast entertainment and digital properties, as well as Senior Vice President of Human Resources for Telemundo Communications Group and Vice President of Human Resources for NBC’s owned television stations division. During her tenure, Lazo played a critical role during a period marked by high growth in cable networks, digital investment and transformation, the company’s strategic entry into the Spanish language market, and significant change for the broadcast businesses.

Lazo holds a degree in communications from St. John’s University. In addition to the T. Howard Foundation, she currently serves on the board of the Hispanic Federation.

Charter Communications’ Jonathan Hargis Elected to THF Board of Directors

Jon Hargis Charter Communications.jpgThe T. Howard Foundation Board of Directors recently elected Jonathan Hargis, Charter Communications’ Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, to membership on its board.

In his role at Charter Communications, Hargis oversees the company’s full range of sales and marketing activities across the nation.

Prior to joining Charter in April 2012, Hargis served as Executive Vice President of Marketing at Cablevision, where he played a key role in developing the company’s marketing approach and competitive positioning. Before Cablevision, he held a number of leadership roles at AT&T.

In addition to serving on the board of the T. Howard Foundation, Hargis is board member for the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing, where he previously served as board chairperson.


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 Invests in Students with 2014 Scott Weiss Scholarship

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The T. Howard Foundation is happy to announce the recipients of the 2014 Scott Weiss Scholarship, an annual merit-based award granted to eligible alumni of THF’s Internship Program.

Now in its 16th year, the THF 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.

“Awarding the Scott Weiss Scholarship is another way that the T. Howard Foundation demonstrates its commitment and support of our alumni,” said Jo Pamphile, THF President & CEO. “We are proud to invest in our students’ future success in the media industry.”

This year, THF awarded $15,000 in scholarships, and individual scholarships can range up to $2,500.

2014 Scott Weiss Scholarship Award Recipients (including current institution, expected undergraduate graduation year, THF internship program year and internship host company):

  • Jillian Baker (University of Southern California ’16), THF ’14, Viacom (BET Networks)
  • Ramone Farrier (San Jose State University ’16), THF ’14, HBO
  • Alexandria Fontanez (SUNY New Paltz ’14), THF ’13 and ’14, A+E Networks
  • Alexandra Givan (University of Maryland, College Park ’16), THF ’14, National Cable & Telecommunications Association
  • Claytia Gonsalves (Georgetown University ’15), THF ’14, Scripps Networks
  • Pearly Hidron (Baruch College ’15), THF ’14, NBCUniversal
  • Gabrielle LeGendre (Penn State University ’15), THF ’14, Viacom
  • Odalis Lopez (University of Maryland, College Park), THF ’13 and ’14, HBO
  • Asia Nelson (Brown University ’15), THF ’14, BBC Worldwide America
  • Danyel Semple (Georgetown University ’15), THF ’13 and ’14, BBC Worldwide America and HBO

Alumni Spotlight: Laura Ortiz–Diligence in Networking Pays Off

image-2“If you are looking to work in the media industry, it is about hard work and networking. If you do all the hard work but nobody truly knows of your capabilities, then sometimes your hard work may go unnoticed, and you may not learn about new opportunities.”

Laura Ortiz realized the importance of networking as a college student and leveraged her contacts including leads from the T. Howard Foundation into a burgeoning career in the media industry.

The Queens, N.Y. native and transplanted southerner grew up as an entertainment industry enthusiast while acting, singing and dancing in high school productions. By her second year as business management major at the University of Georgia, Laura knew that she wanted to pursue a career in the industry that she loved.

She turned to others for ideas. One friend, Shandrea Evans, had been a T. Howard intern, and she shared her internship highlights with Laura and encouraged her to apply to the program when THF visited campus in Fall 2010, which she did.

After going through the application and interview process, Laura was selected for THF’s competitive final talent pool, and received the opportunity to interview for an internship with Univision in Miami.

Laura was pleased with her interview, but suffered a setback when she learned that Univision decided to move the internship to New York, and hired a student who was already in the city. Although she did not intern with Univision through THF that year, Laura was undeterred. “I wasn’t really discouraged because I knew that it was a good start for me. I was just so honored that I reached that level in the internship process and I kept in touch with everyone from the Foundation.”

Through another fellow UGA student Laura learned of internship opportunities at La Mega 97.9 FM, a Spanish language radio station in New York. Although it was not her first choice, she “thought of it as another door opening, another opportunity to add things to my portfolio and hopefully to be more competitive in the next round of placements for T. Howard internships.”

Her summer internship experience at the radio station solidified her interest in a media career, and when Laura returned to school for her final year in 2012, she was determined to secure another internship and still had her sights set on the T. Howard Foundation.

LauraOrtiz1On her own, she was offered an internship with Telemundo in Atlanta, but she recognized the value of working there as a T. Howard intern. Laura contacted THF and asked if her Telemundo internship could be a part of the program, as she had been previously accepted to the final talent pool.

In spring 2012, Laura was finally a T. Howard Foundation intern. “Having the official title of T. Howard intern was very important to me because the Foundation’s brand brings so much power and people know that if you are a T. Howard intern you are diligent.”

Laura gained valuable production experience at Telemundo, and that prepared her for her next THF internship. Through the Foundation, she obtained an internship with A&E Networks Distribution in New York for the summer of 2012. During her A&E internship one of her major assignments was to create marketing strategies to expand the distribution of History en Español. Her experience in two Spanish language media environments led to her obtaining the assignment.

Laura graduated from UGA in December 2012, and contacted LaShika Howard, THF career & alumni manager, about employment opportunities in the media industry. Laura learned about a position in the distribution department at through an email communication that LaShika distributed. Laura became aware of a position in the distribution department at NBCUniversal in New York. After LaShika passed Laura’s resume on to a recruiter at NBCU, Laura went through a series of interviews and accepted an offer as a full time Marketing Coordinator.

In the same way that Laura never lost sight of becoming a T. Howard intern, she remained interested in working for Univision. Laura stayed in contact with the person she interviewed with for the internship position in 2011. Through her work at NBCU she attended many of the same events and conferences as staffers from Univision. By continuing to network, she learned about an opportunity with the Univision, and in February 2014, Laura became a Manager, Distribution Marketing Services and relocated to Miami. After only one year in the industry, she has garnered a major promotion.

Laura calls her ongoing relationship with the T. Howard Foundation a “family” and thanks it for being a champion in the media industry for its interns. She takes pride in the fact that she has had the opportunity to give back to the organization by mentoring students.

The upward trajectory of Laura’s career is proof that her philosophy on networking and relationship building and being optimistic works. “In this industry it is essential that you network and be able to start conversations with people and tell them what your goals, dreams and aspirations are. If you don’t get one opportunity don’t take it as a negative and dwell on that for too long because there are always other opportunities that can put you in the right direction.”