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. 

Alumni Spotlight: Alicia Biggs–Intern to Award-Winning Producer

Alicia BiggsAlicia Biggs arrived at Morgan State University with a passion for television and an internship already under her belt, having worked with Howard County Government Television in Columbia, Md. while in high school. She chose to major in communications with a concentration in television production at Morgan State, and continued to intern throughout her college career (Maryland Public Television and TLC), including an internship through the T. Howard Foundation.

Alicia she learned about T. Howard through her professors and postings on campus. She believed that it was an opportunity to take seriously because it was a paid internship and the application required a written statement, as well as recommendations. The diligence in which she prepared her application paid off and she was awarded an internship with the Independent Film Channel (IFC) for the summer of 2003.

In New York, Alicia gained experience throughout various departments at IFC. “I spent two weeks in each department, including affiliate marketing, public relations, finance and development,” recalls Alicia. The rotating schedule exposed her to the various functions within the company and allowed her to become immersed in different areas. Her range of responsilibilties were varied from “monitoring budgets for finance to writing press releases for PR, to screening pitch videos in development and putting together PowerPoint presentations for affiliate marketing.”

After the T. Howard/IFC internship, Alicia returned to Morgan State to complete her senior year and secured another internship on her own with FitTV, a Discovery Communications channel. The internship turned into a full time job, as Alicia was hired as a Production Assistant with the channel after college graduation in 2004.

Since securing her first full-time position in the media industry, Alicia’s career has continually progressed. “I worked at FitTV for a year, and then I moved on to TV One and spent three years there, was promoted to Associate Producer and from there I jumped over to the National Geographic Channel as a Writer/Producer and spent four and half years there, was promoted, and then moved to Discovery again as a Senior Producer/Senior Writer.”

Alicia BiggsAlicia’s second stint at Discovery ended when she was hired as a Senior Producer at Wee Beastie, a New York creative agency, in January of this year. In this role she writes, shoots video and produces branded entertainment for television networks. One of the agency’s clients is her former employer, National Geographic, and Alicia’s work has garnered multiple Telly and Promax Awards. Last month, she received the 2014 Promax Award for the Discovery Channel/Miller 64 “Shark Week” integration. The Promax is the most coveted award for promo producers.

Of her THF experience and its impact, Alicia says, “The T. Howard experience had a huge impact on my career. The Foundation really gave me a unique experience of working in four different departments in our industry; not a lot of people have the opportunity to get a bird’s eye view into these different departments. From that experience, I learned that I actually really loved public relations and development, which surprised me.” She points out that it is important for students to learn about the range of opportunities in order to gain a better understanding of the media industry, and of which aspect they want to pursue for a career.

Alicia maintains ties with the Foundation by having served as an internship orientation panelist several times and mentoring THF interns over the years. She is also personally committed to the Foundation’s mission of increasing diversity within the media industry. “Having worked in this industry for 10 years, there are actually a lot of women in marketing, but there are very few people of color who are at the executive levels. I feel passionate about getting as many people of color and as many women into this industry as possible. Therefore, I am a huge supporter of the T. Howard Foundation.”