Montez Flenoury: THF 2017 Rising Star

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Montez Flenoury at THF’s 2012 Summer Intern Orientation

Montez Flenoury first discovered the T. Howard Foundation’s Internship Program as a freshman at University of Georgia. Find out how THF was instrumental during his college years, and how he landed a full-time position as Associate Booking Producer for NBC’s The Today Show, and chosen as THF’s 2017 Rising Star.

We sat down with Montez at last month’s annual Diversity Awards Dinner, prior to his Rising Star speech.

I was a freshman, pre-journalism major at UGA and joined the National Association of Black Journalists on campus. I knew I had a serious interest in media, and a THF staff member visited campus to present to our group. I thought THF was something I’d be interested in, so I spoke with my career advisor and I applied. I went through the interview process and was selected for an internship. I was initially concerned because I didn’t have experience, but after the semester ended, I was selected for an internship in the sales operations department with Turner Network Sales in Atlanta.

At Turner Network Sales, my responsibilities included working on organization charts. I attended meetings and I met quite a few THF alumni who had become full-time employees. I worked on marketing projects and also attended a number of events.

Two THF Internships Provided Career Clarity

As a rising senior in 2012, I secured another internship with Cartoon Network. I had decided to major in public relations, and sought an internship where I could obtain PR experience, still in the media industry. Since Cartoon Network is part of the Turner family, I spoke with the THF team to see if my internship could be converted to a THF internship. Fusing Cartoon Network and THF, I was able to have a great second internship experience, coupled with the valuable information I received at Summer Intern Orientation.

In my Cartoon Network internship, I worked on a major project from original conception to completion as a true member of the team.

THF Interns are Their Own Network
The word “network” doesn’t always get the recognition it deserves. As a THF intern, there are numerous opportunities to meet, connect and build relationships with a lot of different people. We tend, however, to underestimate the network we have with our THF class interns, in addition to meeting executives. The new THF interns are working in the media industry as well, and can be great resources now and in the future.

With THF, the resources are incredible, and I received a Scott Weiss Scholarship that helped me study abroad. The staff was always there to help me and connect me with others. The staff has so many partners in different business functions within the industry.

THF Alumni Status Opens Doors
Just before graduation from UGA, I attended the 2013 THF Diversity Awards Dinner in New York. I was in the process of interviewing for NBC’s page program at the time, and I spoke with an NBC executive at the dinner. I asked him for suggestions on how to get farther along in the interview process. I think this contact and others helped me to be selected for the page program. That was extremely instrumental to beginning my journey with NBCUniversal.

After working as an NBC page for a year, I became a production assistant for The Today Show. I later worked for The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, and now I’m back at The Today Show as an Associate Booking Producer. In my current role, I book guests that a team of producers wants to have on the show. These guests range from news guests to people from the world of politics and entertainment.

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Recent Grad Lands Job With THF’s Assistance

Brandon Tyler, a May 2016 graduate of William Paterson University, is currently working in A+E Networks’ Media Associates Program in New York. Though he is not a THF Internship Program alumnus, the THF team recommended him for the A+E two-year rotational program as a member of the Foundation’s talent pool.

“I knew when I was young that I wanted to work in television. I have aspirations to be on camera, and I also want to produce my own show. Working for a top media company was ideal for me after college so that I can learn more about the media and communications industries. That will give me an upper hand in what I want to do.”

Brandon first discovered the T. Howard Foundation in 2015 at the beginning of his senior year. He recalled seeing a THF flier, and it stated that the Foundation would be present at an upcoming campus internship/career fair. From the moment he saw the flier, which listed several media companies with which THF partners, he was interested in obtaining an internship through the Foundation. In addition, Brandon learned that the THF team is supportive throughout the application, interview, internship submission process and throughout career changes. He and a friend immediately went to the career fair to obtain more information, and applied for admission into the program. After submitting his application and interviewing with the THF team, Brandon became a member of the Foundation’s talent pool.

Admission into THF’s talent pool provides diverse college students with exclusive career preparation tools, as well as submissions to specific internships with THF partner companies. During his time in the talent pool, Brandon looked out for emails about internships and was a prospect for several summer opportunities. Because internship placement is not guaranteed to talent pool members, Brandon ultimately did not secure a THF-sponsored 2016 summer internship, but that didn’t by any means spell the end of his relationship with the Foundation.

One of the many benefits of being admitted into THF’s talent pool is that college students and young, diverse professionals can learn about careers in the media, entertainment and tech industries. This includes working with THF’s career & alumni manager, who makes recommendations and submits applicants to partner companies who are actively seeking diverse candidates for entry- to mid-level positions.

“I didn’t secure an internship over the summer through THF, but I received an email from the Foundation referring to the entry-level Media Associate Program at A+E. As soon as I saw it, I sent in my application and was chosen for a phone interview. After the interview, A+E requested that I submit a pitch video, explaining why I would be a perfect fit for the program. I sent in my video and I was chosen for the rotational associate program.” Brandon began is two-year rotational program in A+E’s New York headquarters this past July.

Brandon currently works in A+E’s newly formed talent department, and serves as a liaison between the network’s stars and the legal and ad sales departments. He also assists with messaging for A+E’s corporate social media accounts and is an administrator for the employee intranet. “I’m being trained in several different aspects of the company, which is giving me a great understanding of the media field.”

While Brandon’s training and work in the talent department is comprehensive, his favorite part of his new position is conducting research on the networks’ shows and talent, and keeping up- to-date on what they are doing on social media and in the real world. His favorite show of the moment is The Rap Game, starring Jermaine Dupri on Lifetime.

“The position at A+E is giving me hands-on experience into how television works and I am able to network with people in the industry every day. I’m learning everyday, and that helps me with my own show on YouTube.”

T. Howard Foundation Elects New Board Leadership

Executive committee to focus on program and resource development 

The T. Howard Foundation Board of Directors recently elected officers to lead the Foundation’s mission of diversifying the media and entertainment industry.
The executive committee’s overall responsibilities include setting policies and overseeing the expansion of the Foundation’s programs and services.
The following THF board members have been elected to officer positions for a term of two years: 
Rob Doodian (Chairman), Executive Vice President, Human Resources, AMC Networks

Bernadette Aulestia (First Vice Chair)
, Executive Vice President, Global Distribution Operations, HBO

Jacqueline Hernández (Vice Chair)
, Chief Marketing Officer, Hispanic Enterprises and Content, NBCUniversal Telemundo

Andy Topping (Vice Chair)
, Senior Vice President, Human Resources, Comcast Cable Communications

Christina Spade (Treasurer)
, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Showtime Networks

Sandy Ashendorf (Secretary)
, Executive Vice President, Content Distribution, EPIX
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Scott Weiss (Founder & Chairman Emeritus), CEO & Owner, Speakeasy. Weiss is a permanent member of the executive committee.

Charter Communications’ Jonathan Hargis Elected to THF Board of Directors

Jon Hargis Charter Communications.jpgThe T. Howard Foundation Board of Directors recently elected Jonathan Hargis, Charter Communications’ Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, to membership on its board.

In his role at Charter Communications, Hargis oversees the company’s full range of sales and marketing activities across the nation.

Prior to joining Charter in April 2012, Hargis served as Executive Vice President of Marketing at Cablevision, where he played a key role in developing the company’s marketing approach and competitive positioning. Before Cablevision, he held a number of leadership roles at AT&T.

In addition to serving on the board of the T. Howard Foundation, Hargis is board member for the Cable & Telecommunications Association for Marketing, where he previously served as board chairperson.

 

THF Hosts 4th Annual HR Diversity Roundtable in NYC

On Wednesday, September 21, the T. Howard Foundation held its 4th Annual HR Diversity Roundtable at PwC in New York City.  The event  was hosted by THF board member, Ken Sharkey, Partner, Entertainment Media & Communications, PwC.

More than 16 leading media, entertainment, advertising and marketing companies were represented, including A+E Networks, Bloomberg, Grey, HBO, NBCUniversal, Publicis Media, Scripps Networks Interactive and Viacom.

THF’s HR Diversity Roundtable provides a platform for human resources, talent acquisition and diversity & inclusion professionals to discuss best practices, challenges and the value of recruiting and retaining diverse talent. It also provides THF with valuable insight to enhance our programs, assist our partners with identifying qualified, diverse talent and promote the achievement of their diversity goals.

We are grateful to our partners for their ongoing support and for helping to make the HR Diversity Roundtable a staple among Diversity Week events!

 

THF MEN Meet & Greet Hosted by A+E Networks

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Brynton Lett, THF Associate Manager, Internship Program (center) is pictured with THF Internship Program alumni from various years.

On Tuesday, September 20, 2016, the T. Howard Foundation hosted a MEN (Mentor, Engage, Network) meet & greet at A+E Networks in New York City. THF’s male recruitment event provided a space for Internship Program alumni to reconnect with each other and the Foundation, while also bridging the connection with prospective intern candidates.

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L to R: Alexis Johnson, VP, Programming, Charter Communications; Rich Warren, EVP, Content Negotiations & Strategy, Turner Content Distribution; Jo Pamphile, President & CEO, T. Howard Foundation; Mark Garner, SVP, Distribution Business Development; A+E Networks; David Zagin, President, Distribution, A+E Networks

 

The event, part of the media industry’s Diversity Week, was held in A+E’s loft space. THF board members, David Zagin, A+E Networks’ President, Distribution, and Rich Warren, Executive Vice President, Content Negotiations & Strategy for Turner Content Distribution, both made presentations to the group.  Presentations were followed by a networking reception for executives, A+E HR professionals, THF alumni, prospective interns and special guests.

 

 

 

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.