Disney Hosts THF Alumni Mixer

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THF staff and alumni pose at The Walt Disney Studios lot in Burbank.

On August 4, THF staff members LaShika Howard, Senior Manager, Career and Alumni Services, and Brynton Lett, Associate Manager, Internship Program, joined more than 20 current THF interns and alumni at The Walt Disney Studios lot in Burbank, Calif. The group enjoyed a welcome reception at the lot’s Legends Plaza, followed by a brief history presentation, and a tour of the sets of hit television shows Code Black and black-ish.

After the tour, Ben Pyne, THF board member and President, Global Distribution, Disney Media Networks, greeted the group. Members of the talent acquisition and diversity teams were also present and engaged with the interns and alumni during a networking reception.

“It was wonderful connecting with fellow THF LA interns and alumni, and getting to visit the Disney lot was an extraordinarily special experience,” said Victor Li (THF ’16, Paramount Pictures)

A special thank you to Ben Pyne and the rest of The Walt Disney Company team for a great event.

 

 

 

Jasmine Shockness: From THF Intern to Rising Star

Jasmine Shockness was a 2011 T. Howard Foundation intern for NBCUniversal’s content distribution department. She currently works as Manager, Sales and Business Development for Viacom Media Networks in New York. Jasmine was honored at the 2016 T. Howard Foundation Diversity Awards Dinner as this year’s “Rising Star.”

Jasmine’s thoughts on working in the media industry and how THF helped get her there, in her own words:

Current Job Responsibilities
My responsibilities as Manager, Sales and Business Development at Viacom are to build and maintain relationships with clients, including affiliates, as well as Comcast, Time Warner and Verizon. I also work to find new business opportunities for the company.

Homework Doesn’t End When School’s Over
One of the executives I worked with stressed the importance of doing “homework”—being prepared for every meeting you’re in and every introduction you’re going to make. I always “google” people before I meet them, and I’ve found that it has allowed me to be successful with my clients. Just knowing a little bit about them before meeting has really made a difference, even knowing what client representatives look like.

Your Work Colleagues are Your Network
The most rewarding aspect of my job is working with amazing people. I have been extremely fortunate to work with a group of people who encourage me and teach me new things. I think it’s great to have a network of people who want me to be better because it makes the company better.

THF Offers Unique Resources
One of the greatest things THF has is an abundance of resources for their interns and alumni. Sometimes people forget what a great resource THF is, and they fail to utilize it. If you use the strategies you learned as a THF intern, make yourself known to the THF staff and your intern class, you’ll never know where you and your peers will end up professionally.

 

T. Howard Foundation 2016 Summer Intern Orientation (VIDEO)

Nearly 80 minority college students from top institutions across the country joined together for the T. Howard Foundation’s Summer Intern Orientation (June 6-8, 2016) in Silver Spring, Md.

Billed as a “Media Industry Boot Camp” (#THFSQUAD), the students selected for THF’s highly competitive internship program participated in interactive sessions to fully prepare for their summer media industry internships and future careers.

Following orientation, the students traveled to their internship cities to begin their career journeys in the media industry—well prepared and motivated.

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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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.

When Doors Shut, T. Howard Foundation Opens Windows

Miles Armstrong (THF' 15), a senior at Morehouse College, interned at Turner Network Sales.

Miles Armstrong (THF’ 15), a  Morehouse College senior, interned at Turner Network Sales.

If you’re a minority college student 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.

The summer of 2015 was an introspective one for me. Pressured by my parents to understand that “Your junior year is the one where you need to have an internship,” I found myself scrambling to secure valuable work experience for the summer. I had attended numerous careers fairs, workshops, on-campus interviews and mixers. You name it—I was there.

My scramble for employment for summer 2015 landed me two interviews with two different companies, both of which sent me emails stating that they were “pursuing other applicants.” Just great. Thankfully, along the way, I met with an alumnus of the T. Howard Foundation at the Atlanta University Center Consortium Career Fair, and he encouraged me to apply to the Internship Program.

At first, I was pretty skeptical. It sounded almost too good to be true. But I researched the organization and I liked everything I read. THF takes their selection process seriously and only chooses those students who prove that they are the most motivated and bright, and have potential to be hired in the media industry. Everything lined up with what the alumnus from the career fair told me. An organization whose mission is to increase minority presence in the media and entertainment industry was just what I needed!

L to R: THF '15 alumni and Morehouse College students Jillan Anderson, Miles Armstrong and Terrance Daye met up at a THF recruitment event.

L to R: THF ’15 alumni and Morehouse College students Jillan Anderson, Miles Armstrong and Terrance Daye met up at a THF recruitment event.

Fast forward a semester—I had applied and was selected to THF’s talent pool. A couple months later, I received a call from a THF staff member and was told that Turner Network Sales had an internship position, and my previous experiences fit the description. The position sounded a little more formal than I would have liked, but I decided to have an open mind and have my resume sent over.

After I interviewed with Turner Network Sales, I felt good and thought that I might actually be offered the internship. The next day, I received another call from a THF staff member saying that Turner Network Sales had offered me a position as a summer intern in the marketing activation department. I was very happy and so were my parents. Everything was looking up.

The connections and partnerships that THF has forged in the media and entertainment industry are immense. At times, there is a disconnect between the companies where students are eager to intern and the actual applicants. Sending in a resume is always possible, but it can be easy for your resume to get lost among the 10,000 other resumes a company receives.

THF bridges that gap and gives students a chance to succeed while interning at major media companies. Because of THF, I gained media industry experience, formed relationships with industry executives and got an in-depth grasp of how the industry operates—all in one summer.

Miles Armstrong is a senior Business Administration major at Morehouse College. 

Two THF Media Internships Provided Career Clarity

If you’re a minority college student 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.

Cameron Gamble

Cameron Gamble (THF ’14, ’15)

Entering my sophomore year as a double English and Political Science major at Georgetown University, I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do as a career. I changed my major and I felt as if my life goals and plans had suddenly taken a turn. That was until my friend and T. Howard Foundation (THF) Internship Program alumna Danyel Semple (THF ’13, ’14) told me about THF and how it helped to shape and mold her career goals.

THF Submits Prepared and Motivated Students for Internship Interviews
I immediately researched the Internship Program and instantly knew THF was something I wanted to be apart of. I went through the application process and the phone interview, and I was selected for THF’s talent pool. I was both anxious and nervous, because I knew admission into the talent pool did not guarantee a summer internship. As I finished my last final of sophomore year, I received a phone call from Turner Network Sales’ contract administration department offering me an internship for summer 2014 in Atlanta, my hometown. I was ecstatic, but even more, I was thankful for the T. Howard Foundation for submitting me for this opportunity.

Experience Expanded Beyond One Department
Working in Turner Network Sales’ contract administration department was both challenging and analytical. Twice weekly, my team met with the legal department to discuss contracts that were coming to a close and whether Turner was going to renew them. Sitting at the table with corporate lawyers and updating the contract database for the department was a hands-on opportunity that many interns do not receive.

I was ultimately responsible for the management of 50 contracts, which required close textual reading and multitasking. I conducted research and created a national sub-distribution spreadsheet, which reflected large cable companies and their relationships with small receivers. This project became a direct key for both the corporate lawyers and the contract administration department.

When I left Turner Network Sales at the end of the summer, I realized that I developed so many transferrable skills such as communicating in the work environment, dressing professionally, solving problems as a team, and most importantly, networking. I could not have asked for a better experience or a better program in the T. Howard Foundation to provide me with such an amazing internship.

CameronGambleTHF Alumni Eligible to Reapply for Second Internship
Following my 2014 THF internship at Turner Network Sales, I immediately knew I wanted to complete another internship in the media and entertainment industry. But this time I had my eyes set on the working in New York. Because THF works with major media companies based in the city, I reapplied to the Internship Program.

Once again I waited and opportunity knocked; I was offered a 2015 summer internship at iHeartMedia. A THF Internship Program alumnus worked for iHeartMedia, and arranged for the company to be a new THF partner.

At iHeartMedia, I assisted the event and venue partnerships department with national event ideation and execution, as well as aided in sponsorship sales for the iHeartRadio Music Festival, which is the company’s largest national tentpole event.

The T. Howard Foundation granted me the vision and opportunity to achieve professional workplace experience in an industry that is both challenging and competitive.

I am thankful to THF for providing me with mentors who guided me along the way when things got tough, and provided me with insight with each step. Despite what I receive in the classroom at Georgetown, the T. Howard Foundation has provided me with two years of expansive knowledge that pertains to networking, how to present myself in the workplace and more importantly how to be a #THFBOSS (Building Outstanding Skills for Success).

Cameron Gamble is a senior double major in English and Political Science at Georgetown University.

Get Noticed in Media Industry with T. Howard Foundation Internship

Shayla Cole (Scripps Networks)

Shayla Cole (THF ’14, ’15), a senior at University of Pennsylvania, interned at Scripps Networks and VH1.

If you’re a minority college sophomore, junior, senior or graduate student, apply to the T. Howard Foundation Internship Program. Applications are due no later than December 1, 2015.

If I had to use one word to describe what the process is like for securing an internship in the media and entertainment industry, it would be: HARD. With so many people applying to internships via the online application portals of major media companies, it can feel like your resume can easily become lost in a black hole with thousands of other applications. Well, at least that’s how I felt. Luckily, being admitted into the T. Howard Foundation talent pool changed everything for me.

It was as if the T. Howard Foundation (THF) reached into that black hole of applications, pulled mine out, and placed it on the desks of hiring managers at dozens of prestigious media companies. In other words, THF acted as the liaison to make sure my application was actually seen. As a result, I secured multiple interviews at a number of top media companies, and ultimately received an offer for my first media internship in the Content Distribution & Marketing department at Scripps Networks Interactive in New York. Sure, anyone can apply to these internships on his or her own, but having THF advocate on your behalf makes a world of difference.

But T. Howard Foundation benefits don’t stop at securing internships in the media Shayla Cole_1industry. Once I was chosen as an intern at Scripps Network, my experience as a THF intern versus the experience of a “regular” intern proved to be quite different. Starting with THF’s Summer Intern Orientation, the Foundation provided me with a network of fellow interns, a mentor working in the media industry and numerous other networking opportunities.

I suddenly found myself in a situation where my network of intern friends extended beyond the walls of Scripps Network, to a variety of top media companies throughout New York City and other major cities across the country. There was even a T. Howard Foundation New York Intern GroupMe where we planned social gatherings, shared our daily internship experiences and posted interesting opportunities.

As a THF intern in 2014, I was able to rejoin the talent pool in 2015 and was offered another internship at Viacom, working in the consumer marketing department for VH1.

The T. Howard Foundation opens doors for minority college students to be noticed in all aspects of the media industry. This type of opportunity creates job prospects for after graduation, leading to a fulfilling career in media.

Shayla Cole (THF ’14, ’15) is a senior marketing and operations management major at University of Pennsylvania. She is a fall intern at NBCUniversal in the ad sales department in New York, commuting from Philadelphia to the internship twice a week. Shayla is also a co-chair for THF’s Campus Ambassador Program, recruiting other students to apply to the Internship Program.

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.

THF Internship Program Turns 20: Alumni Spotlight–Shandra McDonald

In 1995, when Shandra McDonald was accepted into the T. Howard Foundation Internship Program‘s inaugural class, she was a graduate student studying film at Howard University. One of just 14 THF interns that year, Shandra went on to have a successful production career, on her own terms.

This is Shandra’s first person account of her journey from intern to production company CEO.

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I learned about the T. Howard Foundation through Howard University. Howard was always aggressive in encouraging its students to gain real world experience through internships. I had several internships throughout college, and Howard professors and career counselors knew me as someone who was always looking for opportunities to learn, so I always had my eyes on the career and internship board.

During my second semester of my three-year MFA degree program, I was hired as an intern at the Discovery Channel in nearby Silver Spring, Maryland through the T. Howard Foundation. I worked in the CD-ROM division, and at that time, Discovery was beginning to expand, so they were doing a lot of cataloging.

As a film student and a filmmaker, I wasn’t initially thrilled with the idea of working in the CD-ROM department, but I ended up loving it. I worked hard and met many individuals, and my manager was impressed with the work I completed.

Elevator Pitch Helps Land Freelance Job
I’m an ambitious person, and I pay attention to everything that is happening around me. While I was a CD-ROM intern, I learned that the Discovery Channel had a stock footage library, and I knew that there were different opportunities for work in that division. I met the division head in the elevator, and introduced myself and asked if I could set up a meeting with him.

As a film student at Howard University, I was learning about traditional narrative-based film editing and directing. But during my internship and freelance work at Discovery, I had learned and experienced first-hand about offline, non-linear editing, which made me more versatile. As a direct result of that internship, I was offered and accepted a freelance editing position in Discovery’s newly launched international division. This work offered me an additional education that I was being paid to receive—although I had to balance activities and my graduate school thesis. At the time, I was also producing projects at Howard, and I was gaining valuable experience that I could translate into a full-time job.

Timing is Everything
As a freelancer in the international division, my manager knew I was preparing to graduate with an MFA. He was seeking a full-time producer, and the timing couldn’t have been better. Because I had worked for Discovery as an intern through the T. Howard Foundation, I was hired as a freelancer, which ultimately led me to a full-time producer position, a job for which I didn’t even need to apply because I was already vetted and in the Discovery system.

I produced programming with the Discovery Channel Foundation for underdeveloped areas in Africa. I directed full segments overseas and edited existing programs to be later aired on the Discovery Channel.

Prestigious Award is Catalyst for Move to L.A.
In 1998, after learning that my Howard University short film thesis won the Directors Guild of America Student Film Award, I was invited to move to Los Angeles to work in post-production for several BET movies that were based on romantic novels. I worked on that project for close to a year before I freelance wrote and produced for reality television production companies.

I moved to Atlanta in 2002 and worked for Paramount Pictures on The Fighting Temptations. As Atlanta was growing as a production city, I began field producing and story editing for Turner and a number of Atlanta-based production companies.

Reach High—But Don’t Go Overboard
In 2005, I formed Kiss the Limit Productions, where we tell stories that transform peoples’ lives. I realized early on in my career that I wanted to present empowering stories, and those that are compelling and artistically based. Kiss the Limit is a reflection of my motto that you have to reach for the greatest heights in this industry, but not go too far. My company produces short and long form content for a variety of clients in television and film.

Through Kiss the Limit, I’ve produced such feature films as The Last Adam, which is now in Redbox, and A Cross to Bear, which aired on ASPiRE, formerly the Gospel Movie Channel. I’ve also directed and produced award-winning documentary projects that have screened in festivals around the world, including the FESPACO Film Festival in Burkina Faso and the Cannes Film Festival in France. My company is currently producing a documentary on an early intervention model for girls who are at risk for prostitution called Voices. Kiss the Limit secured money from investors and a local bank for this project.

Starting this fall, I’m going to be a professor in Clayton State University’s film production department. I’m excited to share my experience in the field with future filmmakers.

This media business requires a great deal hard work, dedication, innovation and strategy. I knew where I wanted to be in a year. I knew which department I wanted to move to. You have to be able to think ahead and to strategize for evolution through a company and career.