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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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.

New Board Members Reflect Foundation’s Reach Beyond Traditional Media

New Board Members Reflect Foundation’s Reach Beyond Traditional Media
Foundation launches Diversity Partners for media-related companies

In an effort to increase opportunities for young minority professionals to build their careers in the media industry, the T. Howard Foundation (THF) is in the process of expanding its reach beyond traditional media to media-related companies.

Following a new development strategy, the THF Board of Directors continues to make a concerted effort to engage additional individuals to serve on the board who represent the public relations and advertising industry. Meeting this objective will also allow THF to serve as a resource to these companies seeking to meet their diversity goals.

The T. Howard Foundation recently welcomed to its Board of Directors Christopher Carroll, Senior Vice President, Controller and Chief Accounting Officer, Interpublic Group (IPG). IPG is one of the world’s leading organizations of advertising agencies and marketing services companies.

The T. Howard Foundation has a long-standing relationship with sports media companies, and has elected John Malkin, Vice President, Affiliate Distribution, NFL Network as a board member. The NFL has hosted THF interns in its competitive Junior Rotational Program and has supported the Foundation’s mission for several years at its annual Diversity Awards Dinner.

Additional new board members from existing THF partners continue to enhance the Foundation’s mission, reach and direction. Christina Spade, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Showtime Networks, replaces Tom Hayden, President, Smithsonian Networks. Ben Pyne, President, Global Distribution for Disney Media Networks replaces Sean Bratches, Executive Vice President, Sales & Marketing, ESPN.

Earlier this year, THF welcomed Richard Warren, Executive Vice President, Content Negotiations and Strategy, Turner Network Sales, Inc. to the board. View a full list of the T. Howard Foundation Board of Directors.

Additionally, THF recently launched its Diversity Partners initiative for media-related companies that embrace diversity to support the Foundation’s programs and services. THF’s first registered Diversity Partner is Grey Group, a worldwide advertising and marketing organization.

In addition to hosting THF summer interns, advertising and public relations companies have opportunities to hire from THF’s Internship Program alumni pool. Diversity Partners can also participate in THF professional webinars and interview sessions.

For more information about Diversity Partners, please contact Jo Pamphile, THF President & CEO.

The First Class: Torrae Lawrence-Mitchell

“You were not just an intern who got the coffee, but you were that intern with a specific job. The expectations were a lot higher. (Management) looked at (THF interns) as individuals who were there to learn and they wanted to help educate us about the industry.”

Torrae Lawrence-MitchellTorrae Lawrence-Mitchell’s interest in the media industry developed while she was growing up in New York watching the classic NBC sitcoms “The Cosby Show” and “A Different World.”

“The shows were fascinating, but I was more fascinated about the production of the programs.”

Convinced that she wanted to be a director similar to her idol Debbie Allen, Torrae followed in her footsteps and attended Howard University in Washington, DC and minored in theatre, Allen’s major. However, a summer spent as a T. Howard Foundation intern would change the course of her career.

Approaching her senior year at Howard, Torrae became aware of the opportunity to apply for a THF internship from Carol Dudley, Director of the Office of Career Development in the School of Communications. Torrae completed the THF application and interview process and was invited to intern in the Showtime Event Television division of Showtime Networks, now known as Showtime PPV.

During the summer of 1995, the division’s major project was Mike Tyson’s return to boxing after a stint in prison. Torrae described her duties as being responsible for “making sure that all the cable operators across the country were signing up to air the fight as well as tracking the sales.” Her efforts produced $250,000 in incremental revenue. “It was a huge success for that division of Showtime and it was the most that they had ever sold during that time for any event,” she explained.

This experience proved to Torrae that her niche was in not production after all, as she learned something new about corporate America and the field of marketing that she assumed she would not enjoy. “It was the exposure to that side of the business that really helped transition my thought process.”

After the internship, Torrae returned to Howard to complete her degree in communications and prepared to launch her career. She utilized the relationships and great reputation that she built at Showtime to land a job after graduation. Torrae’s career has taken her to positions at Discovery Communications and American Life TV Network. For the past six years she has held positions at Turner Broadcasting System, and currently serves as Director, Brand Revenue and Account Management for Turner Network Sales.

As Torrae continues to rise through the ranks of the cable industry, her ties to the T. Howard Foundation remain strong, by serving on the scholarship committee and as a frequent panelist at the orientation sessions.

Torrae was among that first small group of THF interns who blazed the trail making it possible for the internship program to continue to flourish today. Torrae says of the Foundation’s brand, “I believe that the T. Howard Foundation’s motto is well known throughout the industry as being a platform to help students start their careers versus just an internship that you have over the summer. THF is really there to help individuals get in the door and show what they have to offer to the company.”