Meaningful Mentor Relationships Help Build Professional Networks

January is #NationalMentoringMonth. An important benefit that all T. Howard Foundation interns experience is being paired with a mentor. Most THF mentors currently work in the media and entertainment industry, and volunteer their time to assist a new generation of diverse professionals in acclimating to work in the competitive industry.

If you’re an experienced media and entertainment professional and wish to become a mentor to a T. Howard Foundation intern, please contact Shakira Smiler, Assistant Manager, Internship Program. 

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Patrick Mosley (THF ’15) interned at Turner Content Distribution, part of Turner Broadcasting System.

I discovered the T. Howard Foundation (THF) through a professional development event organized by North Carolina A&T State University. I have always been captivated by the media industry, so I selected the breakout session that included a presentation by a THF staff member.

I applied to the THF Internship Program because interns are afforded paid work experiences; the primary internship cities were attractive to me; and the Foundation provides its talent pool of minority students with a concentrated approach to encounter decision makers at the country’s top media companies.

I was offered a summer 2015 THF internship with Turner Content Distribution of Turner Broadcasting System. In my internship role as a financial analyst, I examined cable subscriber trends and conducted forensic industry research. I also created various revenue and subscriber models to predict future outcomes.

IMG_0640Although I enjoyed my work and was surprised at the level of creative license analysts are given, one of the most rewarding parts my internship was developing a relationship with my assigned mentor. Each year, all THF interns are paired with a mentor at the beginning of their internship, and I couldn’t have asked for a better-suited mentor than Kenneth Sharkey, THF board member and Partner, Entertainment Media & Communications at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Mr. Sharkey took an active role in my professional growth from the moment we first spoke. I feel comfortable asking for his advice regarding personal and professional decisions, and he has always responded with wisdom. Not only has my THF mentor taken an active role in being a member of my network, he has made effective efforts to grow it.

It feels good when you meet someone who, today, is where you dream to be someday. After completing my summer THF internship, Mr. Sharkey helped me prepare for a competitive core assurance internship with PricewaterhouseCoopers. His mentorship has helped me reach clarity in my career pursuits, and learning more about his professional journey has also given me confidence in my own abilities. I’m truly grateful that we were paired.

THF creates opportunities for this type of special connection through the quality of their partnerships and the care they extend to each selected intern. I continue to stay in contact with THF simply because it is a quality organization that provides an invaluable opportunity to students who might not ordinarily get the chance to showcase their talents at major, competitive corporations. I have no doubt that every intern granted an internship assignment via THF has experienced professional growth—which is the main reason I decided to apply to the Internship Program initially.

Due to THF’s backing, today, I can enter the workforce prepared, and with direct access to a supportive, successful and influential network.

Patrick Mosley earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from North Carolina A&T State University. He is currently an MBA candidate at North Carolina Central University.

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.

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.

 

 

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.

Alumni Spotlight Video: Averi Harper

T. Howard Foundation alumna Averi Harper interned at CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 in 2012. She earned her Master’s degree in journalism from Columbia University, and her Bachelor’s degree from UNC-Chapel Hill. A former general assignment reporter at WCTI-TV in Greenville, N.C., Averi is currently moving to San Francisco. In this video, Averi reflects on how her THF experience helped develop her media career.