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.

 

Advertisements

New Board Members Reflect Foundation’s Reach Beyond Traditional Media

New Board Members Reflect Foundation’s Reach Beyond Traditional Media
Foundation launches Diversity Partners for media-related companies

In an effort to increase opportunities for young minority professionals to build their careers in the media industry, the T. Howard Foundation (THF) is in the process of expanding its reach beyond traditional media to media-related companies.

Following a new development strategy, the THF Board of Directors continues to make a concerted effort to engage additional individuals to serve on the board who represent the public relations and advertising industry. Meeting this objective will also allow THF to serve as a resource to these companies seeking to meet their diversity goals.

The T. Howard Foundation recently welcomed to its Board of Directors Christopher Carroll, Senior Vice President, Controller and Chief Accounting Officer, Interpublic Group (IPG). IPG is one of the world’s leading organizations of advertising agencies and marketing services companies.

The T. Howard Foundation has a long-standing relationship with sports media companies, and has elected John Malkin, Vice President, Affiliate Distribution, NFL Network as a board member. The NFL has hosted THF interns in its competitive Junior Rotational Program and has supported the Foundation’s mission for several years at its annual Diversity Awards Dinner.

Additional new board members from existing THF partners continue to enhance the Foundation’s mission, reach and direction. Christina Spade, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Showtime Networks, replaces Tom Hayden, President, Smithsonian Networks. Ben Pyne, President, Global Distribution for Disney Media Networks replaces Sean Bratches, Executive Vice President, Sales & Marketing, ESPN.

Earlier this year, THF welcomed Richard Warren, Executive Vice President, Content Negotiations and Strategy, Turner Network Sales, Inc. to the board. View a full list of the T. Howard Foundation Board of Directors.

Additionally, THF recently launched its Diversity Partners initiative for media-related companies that embrace diversity to support the Foundation’s programs and services. THF’s first registered Diversity Partner is Grey Group, a worldwide advertising and marketing organization.

In addition to hosting THF summer interns, advertising and public relations companies have opportunities to hire from THF’s Internship Program alumni pool. Diversity Partners can also participate in THF professional webinars and interview sessions.

For more information about Diversity Partners, please contact Jo Pamphile, THF President & CEO.

Alumni Spotlight: Preston Chin Makes Rounds at NBA

Headshot-3As the NBA Finals come to a close, Preston Chin (THF ’12, ’13) is living out his childhood dream of working for the league and in the media industry.

While growing up in Atlanta, Preston was always drawn to media, especially sports. “I have always been interested in sports media, particularly ESPN. I watched NBA TV all the time and I loved to broadcast games for fun.” However, he wasn’t sure what career path he would pursue in the industry.

Preston’s lifelong interest in media influenced his decision to major in communications and minor in economics at Stanford University. At Stanford, he went from pretending to broadcast games to actually being a play-by-play announcer for women’s basketball, as well as the men’s and women’s volleyball games for four years. As a sophomore, Preston interned at an English language newspaper while studying abroad in Chile. During his junior year, he interned at the Federal Communications Commission in Washington, DC, focusing on broadband distribution policy.

Being Proactive Led to NBA Projects and Internship
Preston credits the varied experience he gained across the media landscape, including his two T. Howard Foundation internships, with preparing him for his current position at the NBA. In fact, networking during his 2012 THF internship in the sales department at Turner Broadcasting is how he connected with the league: “That internship got me to where I am today with the NBA.”

The NBA had a group of employees based at Turner, located a floor below where Preston was interning. One day he decided to go downstairs and introduce himself. He made a great impression on members of the marketing team and began to work on projects for the NBA while still interning at Turner. These “side projects” helped him confirm his interest in sports media. In 2013, he went on to complete a second internship through the Foundation in ESPN’s digital marketing division.

“I loved it… merging my interest in business, marketing and sports together. It really helped me realize my interest in the intersection between sports and business.”

2014 NBA Associate Class - NBA Cares Day of Service

2014 NBA Associate Class

Contacts Recommend NBA Associate Program
As a result of establishing contacts at the NBA, Preston learned about the NBA Associate Program. He applied during his final quarter at Stanford and was one of eight applicants accepted. A few months after graduating in 2014, he began working for the organization he’s loved since childhood.

NBA Associates spend one year working for the league, rotating through the business’ different departments every three months. By actively being a sports broadcaster, having an international reporting internship and working on the business side of the media industry, Preston says this all helps him to make the transitions required in the NBA Associate Program.

Leadership Skill-Building Across the World

At the NBA Global Games press conference table in Beijing.

At the NBA Global Games press conference table in Beijing.

In October 2014, Preston traveled to Shanghai and Beijing, China for NBA Global Games between the Brooklyn Nets and the Sacramento Kings. The league sponsors tours for family members and friends of basketball team members. Preston was responsible for accompanying guests of the Brooklyn Nets organization. “We explored many of the famous sites in China and ensured that no one was separated from the group. We also led these guests to their VIP seats and to exclusive team-related events held in hotels and in arenas.”

Preston says the two-week assignment was an excellent opportunity to network with team owners and players’ agents. It also provided him with the unique vantage point of seeing how a large-scale event is executed from the NBA’s perspective.

Find Your Niche with an Open Mind
Having a broad resume within the media industry and taking initiative led Preston to the company of his dreams. His advice to students interested in entering the media industry is to keep an open mind and have a “big picture perspective” when working on a project, even if it is something to which you may not have naturally gravitated. Taking a leadership role on such projects can also generate greater opportunities.

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.

Rosalyn Durant: From Intern to Board of Directors

Rosalyn DurantRosalyn Durant arrived as a freshman at the University of South Carolina in 1995 determined to make her dreams of becoming a television news anchor a reality. She declared broadcast journalism as her major and during her first year of college she began seeking opportunities to gain experience in a newsroom.

As a first year student, Rosalyn was ineligible to earn academic credit for an internship, however she seized the opportunity to shadow staff members at WOLO-TV, Columbia, S.C.’s ABC affiliate. While observing the day-to-day operations at the station, she gained valuable hands-on experience. “I had a chance to go out on stories with reporters, run the teleprompter for the six o’clock news and rewrite AP stories [Associated Press] for broadcast.”

Her strong desire to gain as much experience as possible while in college propelled her into another shadowing opportunity at WYNN-FM, a Florence, S.C. radio station. The station did not have a formal internship program or any open positions, so Rosalyn negotiated an opportunity to shadow the staff, which led to her becoming a trainee and eventually an on-air personality.

During her sophomore year in college, Rosalyn attended the Howard University School of Communications Job and Internships Fair where she met a representative from the T. Howard Foundation. Rosalyn followed through on the opportunity to intern via THF and landed her first official and paid internship at Turner Broadcasting in Atlanta, working for Turner Network Sales during the summer of 1997.

At Turner, her supervisors “invested the time to help me understand the industry by giving me access to different meetings, information and people to help me make sense of all I was being exposed to, ” recalls Rosalyn.

The exposure to the sales division and the business side of the media industry was transformative for Rosalyn. “I knew I loved media, and broadcast is what I knew of [the industry]. One of the best things about the internship at Turner was that it introduced me to the business side; the side that I knew very little of before the internship. It’s hard to want what you don’t know exists, but once I experienced it, I wanted it.”

When Rosalyn returned to school that fall, she added marketing as a minor and economics classes to her schedule to increase her business acumen.

Now focused on the corporate side of the media industry, Rosalyn decided to return to Howard’s job fair the following year and seek out additional internship opportunities, hoping to secure an experience with ESPN. The network was present at the job fair, and so were T. Howard recruiters. Rosalyn shared her résumé with an HR representative from ESPN and again applied for a T. Howard Foundation-sponsored internship expressing her strong interest in working at ESPN. Through THF, Rosalyn received the opportunity to interview with the sports network.

In the summer of 1998, she began her second T. Howard Foundation internship and her second internship at a national network, working in ESPN’s affiliate sales and marketing department.

Rosalyn recounts her ESPN placement as “everything I could have wanted from an internship. I just felt that everyone took an interest in ensuring that my summer was productive and made themselves available to help me get the most out of my time there. That team spirit is what led me to want to return to ESPN.”

Rosalyn maintained contact with the team she worked with at ESPN once she returned to USC for her final year of college. One month before graduating, she received a full-time job offer from ESPN, and began working there as a marketing coordinator in June 1999. Rosalyn has remained with the network for 15 years. During her tenure, she has worked in sales and programming, and was a key figure in the launch of ESPNU and the renewal of the NBA’s agreement with the network. She has risen through the ranks, and in early 2014, Rosalyn became the Vice President of College Sports Programming at ESPN.

Rosalyn has also remained connected to the T. Howard Foundation by mentoring students and says the Foundation has supported her throughout her career. In 2010, she became the first internship program alumnus to become a member of THF’s Board of Directors and was elected to serve as the board’s secretary in 2013.

Rosalyn credits the Foundation with changing the course of her professional life. “The T. Howard Foundation absolutely redirected my career interest for the better. I am extremely indebted to the organization.”  

Through her success and commitment to THF, Rosalyn Durant truly represents the principles of the organization. “I am a product of the Foundation’s mission at work.”

 

Alumni Spotlight: Anthony Gallegos, Mr. Reinvention–Part 2

Read Part 1 of Anthony Gallegos’s path through the media industry.

The T Howard Foundation 2013 Intern Orientation at the Silver Spring Civic Center in Silver Spring, MD June 4, 2013.I quit the job and moved back to Philadelphia. I knew, for me, (working for the credit card company) was not why I paid good money to go to college,” recalls Anthony Gallegos, referring to his decision to move back home after losing most of his contacts in the media industry.

Once back on his feet, Anthony landed his first industry job, working as a Production Assistant at ESPN. That position introduced him to life as a full-time employee in the industry, but Anthony didn’t feel that production was his niche.

After almost a year, he left ESPN for an opportunity with Mitchell & Ness Nostalgia Company where he could learn marketing and branding techniques. The company is known for its vintage athletic jerseys and had relationships with several music industry stars. In this position, Anthony was able to merge his many interests, including music. He also drew on his advertising experience from his internship at Pegasus Communications.

Mitchell & Ness had a strong celebrity following, and the rapper Jay Z had been a fan of the company. However, Anthony recalls, when Jay Z released his song “What More Can I Say?” on The Black Album, where he states that he doesn’t wear sports jerseys anymore, the company’s outlook changed almost immediately. “With that song and that album, Jay Z changed the dynamics of urban America and the fashion industry. Our jersey sales plummeted by 40 percent, which resulted in a large staff reduction, and once again, I was looking for a job.”

Anthony moved back home to New Jersey to regroup and decided to start graduate school. While in grad school, he landed an internship with IMG. Within two months, he was hired to work on a project in IMG’s media sales division.

After completing the project and approaching the end of grad school in 2008, Anthony’s luck had changed: He had two job opportunities—one at Nike and another with Viacom (MTV Networks). He accepted the offer from Viacom to become a Sales Coordinator. In two years he was promoted to National Sales Coordinator, which was followed by another promotion to National Sales Manager.

In 2009, Anthony sought to reconnect with the T. Howard Foundation. As he built his career, he discovered that his network consisted of other T. Howard alumni and board members. He valued the professional experience and exposure that his THF internship provided for him and wanted to contribute to the organization.

Viacom is one of the Foundation’s internship host companies, and Anthony became a mentor to students assigned to his division.

The T Howard Foundation 2013 Intern Orientation at the Silver Spring Civic Center in Silver Spring, MD June 4, 2013At THF’s 2013 internship orientation, Anthony served as a keynote speaker and recounted his career path and challenges, advising students to understand that “their paths are their own;” and that each individual must focus on his/her career rather than comparing it to others’ careers. He continues to advise students to “think outside the box on how they can grow; be willing to deviate from their plans and be open to moving to other cities and try new things. “

Anthony Gallegos has never feared transition or taking advantage of opportunities to advance his career. This past November, he left Viacom after five years to join NBCUniversal as Manager of Content Distribution. In his new position, his duties include sales, business development and increasing distribution for NBC, NBC Sports, Bravo, Telemundo, Sprout, Esquire and USA networks. True to form, Anthony learned about the opportunity through his now full network of industry contacts. 

First Person Alumni Spotlight: Taylor Henriquez

It was the summer after my freshman year at the University of Georgia (UGA), and like many students home for the summer, I had a part-time job: a glamorous one at the local mall. That same summer, a friend was interning in New York at a major media company through the T. Howard Foundation (THF). My career aspiration was to work in fashion journalism, and while working in the media/entertainment industry was not a career path I had ever entertained, I applied based on my friend’s involvement with T. ImageHoward and gained internship experience.

I was also adamant on never using a t-shirt folding board ever again.

The following fall, I was accepted into the THF Final Talent Pool for the summer of 2010, and after a round of interviews, I was offered an internship with A+E Networks’ distribution marketing department in New York. The responsibilities centered on TV everywhere initiatives, which included creating competitive analysis reports and tracking performance metrics. The work was challenging, but my supervisor also served as my mentor who helped me gain confidence when working with analytics.

I applied for a second internship through THF for the summer of 2011, and was offered a position in the corporate communications department at ESPN in Bristol, Conn. The department was a great match that aligned with my public relations and journalism backgrounds. At ESPN, I was an editorial contributor for their corporate blog Front Row, and creator of the column, “Intern Chronicles.” I loved interviewing story subjects and writing about their experiences working at ESPN.

In May 2012, I graduated from UGA with a Bachelors of Arts in Journalism and kept in touch with my managers from both of my internships. Three months later, I accepted a position at A+E Networks as the Public Relations Coordinator for the international and corporate communications departments. My roles range from managing corporate’s social media presence on Facebook and Twitter, to creating digital newsletters for international channel partners and program sales clients on priority programs, ratings and marketing campaigns.

It’s an exciting time to work in media and entertainment, and I am glad to have been given a nudge from T. Howard to go forth and continue in that direction.