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.

THF Hosts 4th Annual HR Diversity Roundtable in NYC

On Wednesday, September 21, the T. Howard Foundation held its 4th Annual HR Diversity Roundtable at PwC in New York City.  The event  was hosted by THF board member, Ken Sharkey, Partner, Entertainment Media & Communications, PwC.

More than 16 leading media, entertainment, advertising and marketing companies were represented, including A+E Networks, Bloomberg, Grey, HBO, NBCUniversal, Publicis Media, Scripps Networks Interactive and Viacom.

THF’s HR Diversity Roundtable provides a platform for human resources, talent acquisition and diversity & inclusion professionals to discuss best practices, challenges and the value of recruiting and retaining diverse talent. It also provides THF with valuable insight to enhance our programs, assist our partners with identifying qualified, diverse talent and promote the achievement of their diversity goals.

We are grateful to our partners for their ongoing support and for helping to make the HR Diversity Roundtable a staple among Diversity Week events!

 

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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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.

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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