T. Howard Foundation Elects New Board Leadership

Executive committee to focus on program and resource development 

The T. Howard Foundation Board of Directors recently elected officers to lead the Foundation’s mission of diversifying the media and entertainment industry.
The executive committee’s overall responsibilities include setting policies and overseeing the expansion of the Foundation’s programs and services.
The following THF board members have been elected to officer positions for a term of two years: 
Rob Doodian (Chairman), Executive Vice President, Human Resources, AMC Networks

Bernadette Aulestia (First Vice Chair)
, Executive Vice President, Global Distribution Operations, HBO

Jacqueline Hernández (Vice Chair)
, Chief Marketing Officer, Hispanic Enterprises and Content, NBCUniversal Telemundo

Andy Topping (Vice Chair)
, Senior Vice President, Human Resources, Comcast Cable Communications

Christina Spade (Treasurer)
, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Showtime Networks

Sandy Ashendorf (Secretary)
, Executive Vice President, Content Distribution, EPIX
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Scott Weiss (Founder & Chairman Emeritus), CEO & Owner, Speakeasy. Weiss is a permanent member of the executive committee.
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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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THF Continues Investment in Alumni Career Pursuits with Scott Weiss Scholarship

The T. Howard Foundation (THF) is excited to announce the recipients of the 2015 Scott Weiss Scholarship, an annual merit-based award granted to eligible alumni of THF’s Internship Program.

Now in its 17th year, the 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.

This year, THF awarded $15,000 in scholarships, and individual scholarships can range up to $3,000.

The scholarship is named in honor of Scott Weiss, THF founder and Chairman Emeritus. He is currently CEO and Owner of Speakeasy, a THF partner company.

2015 Scott Weiss Scholarship Award Recipients are (including current institution, expected undergraduate graduation year, THF internship program year and internship host company):

  • Eric Chavous (University of Pittsburgh, MBA and Law student), THF ’15, Paramount Pictures
  • Nicole Dei (University of Maryland, College Park, Broadcast Journalism, ’16), THF ’15, NBCUniversal
  • Paul DiNapoli (University of Pennsylvania, Economics/Political Science,’17), THF ’15, Comcast Corporation
  • Robyn Green (University of Michigan, Communications, ’16), THF ’15, AMC Networks
  • Ying Ting Hu (SUNY Binghamton University, Economics/Psychology, ’16), THF ’15, AMC Networks
  • Nazifa Nasim (Fordham University, Business Administration, ’17), THF ’15, Discovery Communications
  • Dorisa Rodney (Pennsylvania State University, Advertising, ’16), THF ’15, NBCUniversal
  • Isabelle Thenor-Louis (Brown University, Anthropology, ’16), THF ’15, Viacom (BET)
  • Lyn Tran (Brown University, Economics, ’17), THF ’15, Univision

 

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THF Reputation and Support Give Students an Upper Hand

If you’re 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.

Robyn Green

Robyn Green (THF ’15), a senior communications major at University of Michigan, interned with AMC Networks.

I figured if I was going to uproot my life and move for a job, it’d be nice to know at least a few people there. So for me, the T. Howard Foundation (THF) did more than just the surface of what you’d expect. There was never a time when I felt isolated in New York City or alone because of the support system of my peers.

When you’re a THF intern, your reputation precedes you. My boss immediately knew that I could return high quality work and that confidence in my ability only drove me to do more every day.

Summer Intern Orientation Teaches Key Career Components
Last summer, I interned with AMC Networks. I’d finally landed my first corporate internship and was determined to make it great. What I didn’t realize was the tremendous amount of work it would take to excel at my summer job. Thankfully, THF’s annual Summer Intern Orientation filled in some knowledge I was missing about networking, my cover letter and how to ace any interview. Even more so, much of this information is available online once you enter the THF’s talent pool.

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Several THF interns pose at the 2015 Summer Intern Orientation

In those three days at orientation, I met so many fantastic, brilliant and kind people. We have a strong network and still keep in touch. This is one of the best parts about THF—I spent a lot of time with the New York interns over the summer, but still kept in touch with the friends I made living in Atlanta, DC and Los Angeles.

T. Howard Foundation Widely Known Throughout Media Industry
The media and entertainment companies that hire THF interns are plentiful. They know each student is qualified, driven, eager to learn and excited to be there. Entry into the program can feel rigorous, but once in, your managers know that they can expect high quality work from you.

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THF AMC Networks interns with Rob Doodian (center), EVP of Human Resources and THF Board of Directors Chairman

A notable part of my summer experience was when the THF interns at AMC had lunch with an AMC executive and his team. Rob Doodian, Executive Vice President of Human Resources (and chairman of the THF Board of Directors) sat down with the five THF interns to ask how our internship was going, what we liked about the experience thus far, and if there was anything he could help us with. That lunch meant a great deal to me because it showed that people were looking out for us around the company and had our best interest in mind.

Ultimately with most things, the experience is what you make of it. I know how hard the THF staff works to make sure each student is happy, has the proper resources to succeed and a support network if they need it.

My summer experience was vastly improved by being a part of the T. Howard Foundation, and I encourage minority college students of any major to apply.

Robyn Green is a senior communications major with a minor in entrepreneurship at University of Michigan. She is helping to recruit the next class of THF interns as a campus ambassador.

 

 

Alumni Spotlight Video: Jennifer Zabasajja

Jennifer Zabasajja (THF ’11) was a T. Howard Foundation intern with AMC Networks’ Sundance Channel while an undergraduate student at New York University. She’s now a Digital Associate Video Producer at CBS Interactive.

Jennifer credits the Foundation with helping her hone her interview and networking skills, and introducing her to people who helped launch her career.

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: Kamilah Gray’s Two THF Internships Open Bloomberg Doors–Part 1

KAMILAHGRAYKamilah Gray, global media marketing professional at Bloomberg Media, interned in the media industry in 2009 and 2010 through the T. Howard Foundation. This is Part 1 of her T. Howard experience, in her own words.

UGA Made THF Introduction
As a freshman at The University of Georgia, I was very active in the school’s career center, and my career consultant advised me to apply to the T. Howard Foundation’s Internship Program because of my interest in obtaining a summer internship. I knew that getting into the program would be a long shot (freshmen were permitted to apply at that time), because of my lack of experience at the time, but I applied anyway. At that time, my career aspirations revolved around marketing for a fashion magazine–but I was open to any experience I could get through T. Howard. After the application and interview process, I was admitted to the Final Talent Pool, which doesn’t guarantee an actual internship for the upcoming summer.

AMC Networks Call Trumps Retail
I was a rising sophomore, and had not secured an internship, so I started a retail job during the summer. A week into that job, I received a call that Rainbow Media (now AMC Networks) was interested in interviewing me for a summer position. Little did I know what Rainbow Media or AMC was, but I prepped for the interview, reading every trade article and quarterly earnings report I could find on the company. And it worked. A week after the interview, I was offered an internship with AMC Networks’ affiliate marketing department. I immediately quit my retail job and went to New York.

Summer Intern Orientation Provided Networking, Industry Summary
Just before my internship began, I participated in T. Howard’s Summer Intern Orientation. I networked with peers and industry professionals, and was given a fantastic overview of the industry, which was essential foundational knowledge for my internship at AMC, and my career moving forward in the media industry. At AMC Networks, I got to work across the entire portfolio of brands, creating marketing collateral for AMC, WEtv, Sundance Channel and IFC. I was also able to network within the company and pitched six TV show concepts to WEtv’s Manager of Development. Even though none of my show concepts were picked up, I learned the process of pitching a TV show to a network–something that was not in my marketing internship job description. My summer experience with THF and AMC Networks ignited my passion for media and I decided (without a doubt) that I wanted to intern again through T. Howard. I reapplied and was offered an internship with Time Warner Cable’s marketing department in 2010.

Time Warner Cable: Marketing Bootcamp
While I thoroughly enjoyed my work and intern colleagues the previous summer at AMC Networks, my Time Warner Cable internship was vastly different; it was more like a job than an internship. I was the only intern in the marketing department of my division at Time Warner Cable, and the division was understaffed, so my colleagues utilized my knowledge and experience as if I were a full-time marketing coordinator. My position with Time Warner Cable was in a sense, marketing bootcamp. I managed a creative agency to develop a direct mail piece and email blast that targeted 10,000+ end users in the New York City region. I also developed and presented a business marketing plan to Time Warner Cable employees and senior executives on how to optimize their product offering to specialized market segmentations. And that was just small sampling of my tasks. It was a busy, busy summer to say the least–but one that gave me more insight into traditional marketing than any marketing course I took in college.

Next in Part 2: Kamilah Gray returns to UGA more inspired than ever, and THF connections help her advance to a full-time position with Bloomberg Media.