Record Number of Media Professionals Celebrate Diversity at Annual Dinner

Tribute to ESPN’s Stuart Scott is emotional evening highlight

On Wednesday, March 25, a record-setting 720 people representing all business functions of the media industry came together to celebrate diversity at the T. Howard Foundation’s (THF) 22nd Annual Diversity Awards Dinner, held at New York’s Cipriani Wall Street. THF recognized major media corporations and executives for their consistent support of the annual dinner and outstanding leadership in the area of diversity.

ESPN's Sean Bratches and Susan Scott, sister of the late ESPN anchor Stuart Scott
ESPN’s Sean Bratches and Susan Scott, sister of late ESPN anchor Stuart Scott

A highlight of the evening was a tribute to the late ESPN sports anchor Stuart Scott and an announcement of the establishment of the Stuart Scott-T. Howard Foundation Internship at ESPN. Scott was a long-time THF friend, supporter and three-time Diversity Awards Dinner emcee.

Rosalyn Durant (THF ’97, ’98), T. Howard Foundation Board member and VP, College Sports Programming, ESPN, introduced a tribute video to Stuart Scott. His sister, Susan Scott, accepted a commemorative plaque presented by Sean Bratches, EVP, Sales & Marketing, ESPN, and reflected on the impact her brother made on all whose lives he touched.

Roland Martin, Host and Managing Editor, NewsOne Now, TV One, emceed the Diversity Awards Dinner program for the second time.

THF also saluted the internship class of 2014, the students’ host company partners and acknowledged new hires.

The following media industry leaders were honored at this year’s Diversity Awards Dinner:

Michael Schwimmer, CEO, Fuse Media, right, after Charlie Ergen, left, presents the Executive Leadership Award.Michael Schwimmer, CEO, Fuse Media, right, after Charlie Ergen, left, presents the Executive Leadership Award.

Executive Leadership Award
Michael Schwimmer, CEO, Fuse Media

As CEO of Fuse Media, Michael Schwimmer oversees cable television networks NUVOtv (formerly SíTV), the premier English-language destination for Latino entertainment, and national music network Fuse.

Charlie Ergen, Chairman and Co-Founder, DISH Network, served as a Diversity Awards Dinner Chair and presented the Executive Leadership Award to Michael Schwimmer.

 

Ozzie_TylerOzzie Areu, right, accepts the Champion Award for Tyler Perry.

Champion Award
Tyler Perry, Filmmaker, Actor and Philanthropist
Accepted by Ozzie Areu, President, Tyler Perry Studios

Tyler Perry is an established American actor, director, screenwriter, producer, playwright and author. In 2012, he teamed up with Oprah Winfrey in an exclusive deal to bring scripted programming to the OWN network.

Diversity Partners Awards
The Foundation presented its first Diversity Partners Awards to non-board member companies that have supported the Diversity Awards Dinner for more than four consecutive years.

The Foundation presented its first Diversity Partners Awards to non-board member companies that have supported the Diversity Awards Dinner for more than four consecutive years.

T Howard Foundation 22nd Annual Diversity Awards Dinner
Dane Snowden, right, accepts the Diversity Partners Award for NCTA

National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA)
Accepted by Dane Snowden, Chief of Staff

NCTA is the principal trade association for the U.S. cable industry and has supported the Diversity Awards Dinner for nine consecutive years.

T Howard Foundation 22nd Annual Diversity Awards Dinner
Dan Rather, right, accepts the Diversity Partners Award for AXS TV


AXS TV

Accepted by Dan Rather, Anchor and Managing Editor, Dan Rather Reports

AXS TV is the cable industry’s leading general entertainment network for live event programming and is a premier destination for some of the nation’s biggest music festivals. AXS TV has supported the Diversity Awards Dinner for five consecutive years.

The evening’s program featured a balance of media industry newcomers and veterans, including:

T Howard Foundation 22nd Annual Diversity Awards Dinner
THF’s Rising Star, Soon Kwon, right, poses with emcee Roland Martin

THF’s 2015 “Rising Star”: Soon Kwon, THF ’09 (Showtime Networks), Writer/Producer, On-Air Promotion and Digital Content, Showtime Networks.

Award and tribute presenters:

  • T Howard Foundation 22nd Annual Diversity Awards Dinner
    Jordan Stewart, right, presents the Champion Award to Ozzie Areu for Tyler Perry

    Jordan Stewart, THF ’13 (Smithsonian Channel), and former intern, Tyler Perry Studios

  • Ismabel Cueto, THF ’12 (nuvoTV), Human Resources Coordinator, Amplify
  • Priscilla Aviles, THF ’10, ’12 (Univision, Discovery Communications), Ad Sales Planner, DISH Network

The Diversity Awards Dinner also included a silent auction featuring more than 30 national media-related items and experiences, with all proceeds benefitting the Foundation’s programs and services.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Rosalyn Durant: From Intern to Board of Directors

Rosalyn DurantRosalyn Durant arrived as a freshman at the University of South Carolina in 1995 determined to make her dreams of becoming a television news anchor a reality. She declared broadcast journalism as her major and during her first year of college she began seeking opportunities to gain experience in a newsroom.

As a first year student, Rosalyn was ineligible to earn academic credit for an internship, however she seized the opportunity to shadow staff members at WOLO-TV, Columbia, S.C.’s ABC affiliate. While observing the day-to-day operations at the station, she gained valuable hands-on experience. “I had a chance to go out on stories with reporters, run the teleprompter for the six o’clock news and rewrite AP stories [Associated Press] for broadcast.”

Her strong desire to gain as much experience as possible while in college propelled her into another shadowing opportunity at WYNN-FM, a Florence, S.C. radio station. The station did not have a formal internship program or any open positions, so Rosalyn negotiated an opportunity to shadow the staff, which led to her becoming a trainee and eventually an on-air personality.

During her sophomore year in college, Rosalyn attended the Howard University School of Communications Job and Internships Fair where she met a representative from the T. Howard Foundation. Rosalyn followed through on the opportunity to intern via THF and landed her first official and paid internship at Turner Broadcasting in Atlanta, working for Turner Network Sales during the summer of 1997.

At Turner, her supervisors “invested the time to help me understand the industry by giving me access to different meetings, information and people to help me make sense of all I was being exposed to, ” recalls Rosalyn.

The exposure to the sales division and the business side of the media industry was transformative for Rosalyn. “I knew I loved media, and broadcast is what I knew of [the industry]. One of the best things about the internship at Turner was that it introduced me to the business side; the side that I knew very little of before the internship. It’s hard to want what you don’t know exists, but once I experienced it, I wanted it.”

When Rosalyn returned to school that fall, she added marketing as a minor and economics classes to her schedule to increase her business acumen.

Now focused on the corporate side of the media industry, Rosalyn decided to return to Howard’s job fair the following year and seek out additional internship opportunities, hoping to secure an experience with ESPN. The network was present at the job fair, and so were T. Howard recruiters. Rosalyn shared her résumé with an HR representative from ESPN and again applied for a T. Howard Foundation-sponsored internship expressing her strong interest in working at ESPN. Through THF, Rosalyn received the opportunity to interview with the sports network.

In the summer of 1998, she began her second T. Howard Foundation internship and her second internship at a national network, working in ESPN’s affiliate sales and marketing department.

Rosalyn recounts her ESPN placement as “everything I could have wanted from an internship. I just felt that everyone took an interest in ensuring that my summer was productive and made themselves available to help me get the most out of my time there. That team spirit is what led me to want to return to ESPN.”

Rosalyn maintained contact with the team she worked with at ESPN once she returned to USC for her final year of college. One month before graduating, she received a full-time job offer from ESPN, and began working there as a marketing coordinator in June 1999. Rosalyn has remained with the network for 15 years. During her tenure, she has worked in sales and programming, and was a key figure in the launch of ESPNU and the renewal of the NBA’s agreement with the network. She has risen through the ranks, and in early 2014, Rosalyn became the Vice President of College Sports Programming at ESPN.

Rosalyn has also remained connected to the T. Howard Foundation by mentoring students and says the Foundation has supported her throughout her career. In 2010, she became the first internship program alumnus to become a member of THF’s Board of Directors and was elected to serve as the board’s secretary in 2013.

Rosalyn credits the Foundation with changing the course of her professional life. “The T. Howard Foundation absolutely redirected my career interest for the better. I am extremely indebted to the organization.”  

Through her success and commitment to THF, Rosalyn Durant truly represents the principles of the organization. “I am a product of the Foundation’s mission at work.”