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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Alumni Spotlight: Kamilah Gray: Industry Contacts Matter–Part 2

Read Part 1 of Kamilah Gray’s journey from T. Howard intern to global media marketing professional at Bloomberg.

Inspired by her THF internship experiences, Kamilah Gray returned to The University of Georgia and formed an organization to connect students to entertainment and sports organizations, including THF. 10517676_10153353427999616_880649289622566954_n

Opened Doors for Classmates Upon returning to UGA for my junior year, I created the Professional Entertainment & Sports Association (PESA) at UGA’S Terry College of Business. The purpose of PESA is to provide a network for highly motivated and passionate students who are committed to the pursuit of business careers in the television, film, music, theatre and sporting industries.

Due to PESA’s presence on campus, students have interned and landed jobs in the media industry through THF and companies that never previously visited UGA, such as Creative Artists Agency.

After graduating from UGA in 2012, another THF alumnus and UGA student, Michael Asmelash, took over as PESA’s president.

All Contacts Count
After my internships, I stayed in touch with the T. Howard Foundation team and attended THF’s annual Diversity Awards Dinner, where I was able to touch base with former interns and network with media industry professionals.

I joined Bloomberg Media in November 2012, after numerous interviews with other media companies. I actually found out about my position through Twitter; a friend tweeted the position to me, I clicked on it and sent in my application.

It just so happened that the person who interviewed me at Bloomberg had previously worked for AMC Networks and had close friends at Time Warner Cable.

Little did I know, my T. Howard connections were falling into place.

A few days later, my interviewer invited me back for a second-round interview. He told me that he called his friend who works at Time Warner Cable (my former boss’s boss) and that person spoke to him about my work at TWC, securing my references for the position.

After two interviews, I was offered the position at Bloomberg, having never provided them with references.

We don’t use titles at Bloomberg, but I do global media marketing for Bloomberg Media. I report to the Global Head of Marketing and Sales Operations and am charged with executing marketing initiatives to generate leads and increase sales across our media properties (video, live TV, news, data and photos) worldwide.

I manage the editorial content and promotional activities across all of our social media channels, execute email campaigns to drive leads, develop marketing collateral for the global sales team and coordinate our global events.

T. Howard Creates Opportunities
The T. Howard Foundation gave me my passion for the media industry; it ignited the flame that allowed me to set a lofty (and aggressive) vision for my career path. Through THF, I have met and been inspired by so many women who not only look like me, but have risen to C-suite and senior executive positions and set a course for young professional women to follow suit.

These role models have inspired me to achieve the grand visions I set for myself–and I look forward to doing so.

Alumni Spotlight: Kamilah Gray’s Two THF Internships Open Bloomberg Doors–Part 1

KAMILAHGRAYKamilah Gray, global media marketing professional at Bloomberg Media, interned in the media industry in 2009 and 2010 through the T. Howard Foundation. This is Part 1 of her T. Howard experience, in her own words.

UGA Made THF Introduction
As a freshman at The University of Georgia, I was very active in the school’s career center, and my career consultant advised me to apply to the T. Howard Foundation’s Internship Program because of my interest in obtaining a summer internship. I knew that getting into the program would be a long shot (freshmen were permitted to apply at that time), because of my lack of experience at the time, but I applied anyway. At that time, my career aspirations revolved around marketing for a fashion magazine–but I was open to any experience I could get through T. Howard. After the application and interview process, I was admitted to the Final Talent Pool, which doesn’t guarantee an actual internship for the upcoming summer.

AMC Networks Call Trumps Retail
I was a rising sophomore, and had not secured an internship, so I started a retail job during the summer. A week into that job, I received a call that Rainbow Media (now AMC Networks) was interested in interviewing me for a summer position. Little did I know what Rainbow Media or AMC was, but I prepped for the interview, reading every trade article and quarterly earnings report I could find on the company. And it worked. A week after the interview, I was offered an internship with AMC Networks’ affiliate marketing department. I immediately quit my retail job and went to New York.

Summer Intern Orientation Provided Networking, Industry Summary
Just before my internship began, I participated in T. Howard’s Summer Intern Orientation. I networked with peers and industry professionals, and was given a fantastic overview of the industry, which was essential foundational knowledge for my internship at AMC, and my career moving forward in the media industry. At AMC Networks, I got to work across the entire portfolio of brands, creating marketing collateral for AMC, WEtv, Sundance Channel and IFC. I was also able to network within the company and pitched six TV show concepts to WEtv’s Manager of Development. Even though none of my show concepts were picked up, I learned the process of pitching a TV show to a network–something that was not in my marketing internship job description. My summer experience with THF and AMC Networks ignited my passion for media and I decided (without a doubt) that I wanted to intern again through T. Howard. I reapplied and was offered an internship with Time Warner Cable’s marketing department in 2010.

Time Warner Cable: Marketing Bootcamp
While I thoroughly enjoyed my work and intern colleagues the previous summer at AMC Networks, my Time Warner Cable internship was vastly different; it was more like a job than an internship. I was the only intern in the marketing department of my division at Time Warner Cable, and the division was understaffed, so my colleagues utilized my knowledge and experience as if I were a full-time marketing coordinator. My position with Time Warner Cable was in a sense, marketing bootcamp. I managed a creative agency to develop a direct mail piece and email blast that targeted 10,000+ end users in the New York City region. I also developed and presented a business marketing plan to Time Warner Cable employees and senior executives on how to optimize their product offering to specialized market segmentations. And that was just small sampling of my tasks. It was a busy, busy summer to say the least–but one that gave me more insight into traditional marketing than any marketing course I took in college.

Next in Part 2: Kamilah Gray returns to UGA more inspired than ever, and THF connections help her advance to a full-time position with Bloomberg Media. 

First Person Alumni Spotlight: Taylor Henriquez

It was the summer after my freshman year at the University of Georgia (UGA), and like many students home for the summer, I had a part-time job: a glamorous one at the local mall. That same summer, a friend was interning in New York at a major media company through the T. Howard Foundation (THF). My career aspiration was to work in fashion journalism, and while working in the media/entertainment industry was not a career path I had ever entertained, I applied based on my friend’s involvement with T. ImageHoward and gained internship experience.

I was also adamant on never using a t-shirt folding board ever again.

The following fall, I was accepted into the THF Final Talent Pool for the summer of 2010, and after a round of interviews, I was offered an internship with A+E Networks’ distribution marketing department in New York. The responsibilities centered on TV everywhere initiatives, which included creating competitive analysis reports and tracking performance metrics. The work was challenging, but my supervisor also served as my mentor who helped me gain confidence when working with analytics.

I applied for a second internship through THF for the summer of 2011, and was offered a position in the corporate communications department at ESPN in Bristol, Conn. The department was a great match that aligned with my public relations and journalism backgrounds. At ESPN, I was an editorial contributor for their corporate blog Front Row, and creator of the column, “Intern Chronicles.” I loved interviewing story subjects and writing about their experiences working at ESPN.

In May 2012, I graduated from UGA with a Bachelors of Arts in Journalism and kept in touch with my managers from both of my internships. Three months later, I accepted a position at A+E Networks as the Public Relations Coordinator for the international and corporate communications departments. My roles range from managing corporate’s social media presence on Facebook and Twitter, to creating digital newsletters for international channel partners and program sales clients on priority programs, ratings and marketing campaigns.

It’s an exciting time to work in media and entertainment, and I am glad to have been given a nudge from T. Howard to go forth and continue in that direction.