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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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. 

THF Internship Program Puts Media Careers on Course

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.

Jenisse Bouret (THF’ 15) interned at NY1 Noticias and is a senior at SUNY New Paltz.

I remember viewing the 2014 T. Howard Foundation (THF) Summer Intern Orientation video and thinking the students had exaggerated the truth when they claimed the experience was “life changing.” Months later, I found myself sharing a similar testimony and meaning every word
of it.

THF Provides Competitive Advantage Over Other Interns
In late April 2015, while completing a study abroad program in Ecuador, I was notified that I had been chosen as a THF news programming intern with Time Warner Cable’s NY1 Noticias. One month later, I was invited to interview for an internship at another Spanish-speaking news channel (to which I applied on my own). However, because I had already accepted the NY1 Noticias internship, I knew in my gut that having the connection with THF would be indispensable in my career path.

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THF interns meet up in New York: (Counter-clockwise from left) Cristian Palma, Jenisse Bouret, Wilson Quiceno, Valeta Brown

Thankfully, I followed my intuition because the skills I gained after THF’s three-day Summer Intern Orientation were not only enriching, but also were key to my success as a news programming intern.

After orientation, I felt confident knowing that I had gained an aptitude for interacting with professionals at all career levels. I also felt self-assured after receiving advice from media industry leaders, which gave me a competitive advantage over other interns in the field. Additionally, as a result of orientation, I overcame my fear of networking and was comfortable connecting with people in different departments at NY1.

Paid Internships Help Students Build Brand
All T. Howard Foundation interns are paid for a full-time schedule (32 hours per week). The money I earned during my summer internship allowed me to purchase professional clothing—a necessary part of stepping into a sphere where one’s appearance represents one’s work quality and potential. Dressing for success enabled me to build my brand and project how serious I take myself as a budding media leader.

Jenisse Bouret interviews María Teresa Merino de Hart, Consul General of Peru

Jenisse Bouret interviews María Teresa Merino de Hart, Consul General of Peru

I was the only THF intern at NY1 Noticias, and the only intern to be paid. I also was able to use NY1’s cameras whenever I chose to during work hours. Both of these privileges were due to the fact that I was trusted because I was handpicked as a T. Howard Foundation intern.

Assigned Mentors Provide One-on-One Career Advice
As a THF intern, I was also paired with a mentor who works professionally in the media industry. My mentor was Edgar Corona (THF ‘11), Manager for Hispanic Fan Strategy Marketing at the NFL. Thanks to our professional relationship, I was able to gain more experience conversing in an informal setting and learning how to clearly express myself.

Overall, being a THF intern has expanded my understanding of the opportunities of which I can take advantage within media. The T. Howard Foundation has empowered me to overcome obstacles and defy limitations. Had it not been for THF’s role in my development as an aspiring media innovator, I would not be the informed, socially aware and motivated young woman I am today.

Jenisse Bouret is a senior journalism and Spanish double major at SUNY New Paltz. She is helping to recruit the next class of THF interns as a campus ambassador.

Top Reasons to Apply to THF’s Internship Program

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.

Danielle Reed

Danielle Reed (THF ’15) interned with Time Warner Cable News. She is a senior at Syracuse University.

I was selected last year to be a T. Howard Foundation intern with Time Warner Cable News in Syracuse, N.Y. Each day for three months, I felt like a real reporter and newsroom assistant. During my internship in summer 2015, I executed two different jobs in the newsroom: multimedia journalist and administrative assistant.

My top 3 reasons for applying to the
T. Howard Foundation Internship Program:

  1. To break into the field and gain experience. The THF internship is what really helped me to gain my first real experience as a reporter in a news setting. Twice a week, I shadowed one of the station’s most experienced reporters on stories and learned how a news package is created from start to finish. This included pitching story ideas to watching it air live on the news at the top of the hour.Since the end of my internship, I’ve been motivated to continue to sharpen my skills and brand myself as a reporter. I am studying in Madrid this semester and have decided to continue packaging stories about current events and interesting people and places in Spain.Danielle Reed6
  1. To make connections and network with peers and hiring managers. THF connects you with other people, internships and jobs. We learned the importance of networking at the Summer Intern Orientation. Networking is vital because many full-time positions are based on who you know.The skills I developed at Time Warner Cable News and my summer project, creating my first professional reporter reel, were undoubtedly the reason I was offered an interview for a full-time reporting position one month after my internship ended. The company watched my reel on my YouTube. I couldn’t pursue the position because I don’t graduate until May, but I know that I am definitely on the right track.I also continue to network while currently studying abroad in Madrid, as the speakers at THF orientation encouraged all interns to do.
  1. The financial and emotional support. All THF interns are paid by their internship host companies. Also, the THF team offers support whenever interns need it, including encouragement, reminders and tips to stay on your toes and on top of your game.

Danielle Reed is a senior Spanish language and literature and African American studies double major at Syracuse 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.

 

 

Attention THF Alumni: Scott Weiss Scholarship Application NOW OPEN

The T. Howard Foundation meet and greet reception for the 2013 interns at the Silver Spring Civic Center in Silver Spring, MD June 3, 2013.

Scott Weiss, right, speaks with a college student during Summer Intern Orientation. He is THF’s Founder and Chairman Emeritus, and current serves as President & CEO of Speakeasy, Inc.

For the 17th year, the Scott Weiss Scholarship provides eligible former T. Howard Foundation interns with financial assistance for their academic and career pursuits, including college tuition, textbooks and/or expenses related to professional development, such as conferences and workshops that help prepare recipients for a career in the media industry.

The scholarship application is now open! If interested, eligible THF alumni must apply by Wednesday, November 4 at 5 p.m. ET.

The alumni scholarship is named for Scott Weiss, T. Howard Foundation Founder and Chairman Emeritus.

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.