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. 

IMG_0823

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.

Advertisements

Mentor Finds Inspiration from T. Howard Interns

Andrea Houston

Media industry veteran Andrea Houston has volunteered her time and expertise as a T. Howard Foundation Internship Program mentor since 2012. As Vice President/Senior Integrated Investment Manager at Universal McCann (commonly known as UM), Houston is responsible for marketing clients through buying commercial time during television and radio broadcasts.

Having witnessed the evolution of media during her 30-year career, Houston believes she can be a resource to newcomers eager to learn the ins and outs of the ever-changing industry.

Last summer, Houston was paired with Pearly Hidron, a then-rising senior at Baruch College and ad sales analytics intern at NBCUniversal. Because they work in similar functions of the industry and their offices were physically close to each other, Houston and Hidron initially met for lunch. “I shared with her some of the things that would help her move along in her career, including reading trade publications to get a sense of how fast the industry moves.”

After their initial meeting, they communicated by phone and email over the course of the summer and still keep in touch. Houston recalls that “she was interested and very attentive, and ‘leaned in’ to the conversations and was appreciative of the time.”

Andrea Houston (right) and her mentee, Pearly Hidron, THF '14 (center), with Jannath Ahmed, THF '14 (left)

Andrea Houston (right) and her mentee, Pearly Hidron, THF ’14 (center), with Jannath Ahmed, THF ’14 (left)

Also of Pearly Hidron, Houston remarked, “She was very refreshing and inspiring to me; she shared an excitement of being in the business.” As a mentor, Houston wanted to ensure that Hidron wasn’t intimidated by the industry and encouraged her to reach out with any questions and share updates.

Before becoming a T. Howard Foundation mentor, Houston had mentored young professionals informally—mainly friends of her children and young people at church. She finds the organized mentorship program ideal.

“It is evident that the T. Howard Foundation is highly selective and has a structure in place to choose individuals for internships and carefully match them with mentors,” said Houston. “I participated in a breakfast with other T. Howard interns last year, and it was inspiring to interact with such high-quality students.”

If you have at least two years of professional experience in the media industry, please consider serving as a T. Howard Foundation mentor. Complete the mentor registration form.

Alumni Spotlight: Edgar Corona, Marketing Coordinator, National Football League

Image

Edgar_CoronaTwo key elements for Edgar Corona launching a successful career in the media industry are networking and mentorship. Growing up in Los Angeles, Edgar moved to the East Coast to attend Georgetown University in Washington. DC. At Georgetown, Edgar majored in marketing and international business. In his marketing classes and during an internship experience after his freshman year of college, Edgar says that the roles media promotions and advertising play in marketing grabbed his attention, “I was working with a political marketing team and was able to really see the face-to-face marketing and distribution. That is where my interest in media really began.”

At that time, Edgar shared his interest in media with one of his mentors and she suggested that he pursue an internship with the T. Howard Foundation (THF). Edgar, ever persistent, researched the Foundation and requested an informational interview with Sharise Kent, Senior Project Manager. His meeting with Sharise increased his interest and he applied for the summer internship program during his junior year. After being selected for THF’s Final Talent Pool for summer 2011 opportunities, Edgar then landed an internship with ESPN, in the sports network’s sales and marketing division, located in New York City. During the Foundation’s 2011 Summer Internship Orientation, Edgar continued to network and cultivate mentors. “It was fascinating for me to see and learn how individuals really communicated and contributed to different parts of the media sector.”

The T. Howard Foundation pairs all its interns with a mentor. Bryce Adams, an active THF alumnus who now works for the New York Yankees, was assigned to mentor Edgar. He often turned to his mentor for guidance. “Bryce was experienced in the field, and I was able to talk to him about the experiences I had in my role and how a project would develop, and he gave me pointers and advice on how best to handle a situation.”

After Edgar concluded his internship with ESPN, he returned to Georgetown for his senior year and maintained the relationships he established during the summer and also spread the word about the T. Howard Foundation Internship Program at campus events.

EdgarCorona_at_NFL_draft

Edgar Corona at the NFL Draft

After graduation, Edgar secured a position in the NFL’s highly competitive Junior Rotational Program. In July 2012 he began an assignment as a Marketing Coordinator in the NFL’s sponsorship department focusing on entertainment marketing.

“One of the reasons I really like this industry is because it is always changing and it is constantly evolving where you always have the opportunity to learn,” Edgar stated last week. “I have been working with partners, players and agents to understand how players and teams cooperate in promoting the teams.”

Edgar credits the T. Howard Foundation with providing him with the resources and access to individuals that have allowed him to begin his career path. In fact, THF chose Edgar to represent all Internship Program alumni by inviting him to speak at last year’s Diversity Awards Dinner, held annually in New York, and attended by multimedia industry executives.

At the beginning of 2014, he transitioned out of the NFL’s Junior Rotational Program and was promoted to a full-time Marketing Coordinator in the League’s entertainment and promotions department. Edgar encourages students to “take advantage of the opportunities they encounter, whether they are big or small there is always an opportunity to learn; there is always an opportunity to meet new individuals and grow as individuals and professionals. The resources provided by this program (T. Howard Foundation) really make it helpful for individuals and puts you in a position to succeed.”