Former Fellow Spotlight, Aug + Sep 2018: Andrea MacRae & Omar Wilson
September 5, 2018
Jessica Larché Washington, Winter Wrap-UP 2018-19 newsletter
Former Fellow Spotlight, Winter Wrap-Up 2018-19: Jessica Larché Washington
March 5, 2019

Former Fellow Spotlight

October + November 2018 Newsletter

The IRTS Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization that develops future leaders and promotes diversity in the media industry. Our cornerstone program is the IRTS Summer Fellowship Program, often referred to as a “media boot camp.”

On a semi-regular basis, we send out a newsletter for IRTS Summer Fellowship program alumni. In each newsletter, we profile some of our alumni in the Former Fellow Spotlight section.

This edition, we caught up with 2009 alum Daniel Haack, 2015 alumna Tershone Phillips, and 1999 alum Graham Taylor.

For a full listing of the alumni profiled in our Former Fellow Spotlight, please click here.

Daniel Haack
Current Occupation: Director of Marketing, StoryBots, JibJab Bros. Studios  //  Author, Prince & Knight
IRTS Summer Fellow Year: 2009
IRTS Summer Internship: MTV – LOGO & Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Explain your “IRTS Impact”
The best part of the IRTS Fellowship (after Lauren and Joyce) is definitely exposure. That includes exposure into what kinds of jobs in the industry exist, what kinds of roles you might want or not want, and the people who can help you get there. More than that, though, it’s exposure into what’s really possible to achieve. Being surrounded by other ambitious, driven people lets you raise your own personal bar of what you can accomplish.

What was a big milestone for you?
It’s probably a tie between winning an Emmy and signing my first book deal. As one of the producers of the digital platforms for Netflix’s Ask the StoryBots, I won a Daytime Emmy Award for outstanding interactive media. It was really cool being able to collaborate with such an amazingly talented and creative team and then have the industry validate our work. The excitement of being onstage and then getting my own trophy was pretty unreal. Signing my first book deal – and then finally holding that book in my own hands – was equally awesome. More than anything, it’s been so cool having all these different people – my agent, my publisher, reviewers, readers – really believe in and support my work.

Remember that time when?
Some of my favorite moments were just being at Good Stuff Diner on 14th Street late at night with other Fellows, hanging out and talking about how our day went. The whole summer though was really a blast. We had a really good group, and I think we were all just willing to try new things and were up for anything. The best part was that we weren’t too insular, so people were weaving in friends from college, home, their internships or wherever, so our network was growing way beyond just those from the program.

What’s something IRTS alumni should do when visiting NYC?
There are some obvious choices (see a Broadway show, check out the Statue of Liberty), but some lesser-known favorites include visiting City Island off the Bronx (it feels like you’re suddenly in Maine), taking the ferry for a Staten Island Yankee game, checking out the Cooper Hewitt design museum, and heading to Queens to see the Unisphere from the 1964 World’s Fair.

Something interesting you’re working on?
Right now I’m getting my master’s degree in technology, innovation, and education at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education. The program perfectly aligns with my goals of creating content and experiences that help people (especially young kids) understand the world around them. My classes, professors and fellow classmates have all been so amazing, and it’s been awesome thinking critically about how we can use media and technology to help people learn and grow. The best part is that I’m continuing to work on the StoryBots brand remotely, so I’m able to apply what I’m learning immediately in the practical world.

What show are you most excited for this fall?
One of my underrated favorites is Superstore with America Ferrera and fellow Ithaca College alum Ben Feldman. It’s really a great successor to The Office. I’m also excited to see where Westworld goes next.

What’s a book you think everyone should read?
I’d obviously love everyone to read my book, Prince & Knight, and share it with a young person in their life. Beyond that, I think a lot of IRTS Fellows and alumni would really dig The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer. It follows the lives of a group of friends who met at an arts summer camp, and it explores a lot of interesting themes around professional success and failure and dynamics among creative and ambitious people.

Advice in one sentence:
It’s not who you know, it’s who knows you.

Tershone Phillips
Current Occupation: Client Communications Specialist, Nielsen
IRTS Summer Fellow Year: 2015
IRTS Summer Internship: ABC National Television Sales

Explain your “IRTS Impact”
The IRTS impact is truly unexplainable but, if I had to put into words, it’s an opportunity to be a part of an unparalleled professional and personal family for a lifetime. The relationships you build during your Summer Fellowship will exceed any other interactions in the media business. They will continue to be a source of reflection and upliftment during all stages of a career. In a nutshell, the Fellowship provides the feeling of home and comfort, no matter where you are!

What was a big milestone for you?
My biggest milestone so far, professionally, would be serving in my current role at Nielsen on the Marketing and Communications team helping to shape the overall message for our Watch side of the business. I can remember the first time I walked through the Nielsen doors as a Summer 15′ Fellow and going into what is referred to as “The Den.” The Den was filled with gadgets and I knew this company was on my goal-list as places to work. This came full circle through, of course, a friend of IRTS whom I previously had an informational with over two years prior. As I continue to grow in my career I will always say speaking moments into existence is key!

Remember that time when?
I remember the time me and six other Fellows received VIP passes from an IRTS alum for the Good Morning America Summer Series featuring Nicki Minaj! To sum up the experience, it was unforgettable. We could basically see her sweat, made an on-air audience appearance, and enjoyed each other as we made memories to last a lifetime.

What was your first thought arriving in NYC for the fellowship?
My first thought when arriving for the Fellowship in NYC was the feeling of coming home, as I was born in Brooklyn, but, I also had so much anxiety because I knew the city would never feel the same after the summer I had ahead of me!

Favorite thing about your current position?
Some of my favorite things about my current role at Nielsen would be the team I work with and the culture we’ve developed. We also have great ERGs (Employee Resource Groups) which have provided another source of constant encouragement outside of my direct team. And of course, the client and group events I’m able to attend take the cake for major perks as we all know the media business offers!

Something interesting you’re working on?
Recently, I’ve started a podcast called Drphilreports which dives into various topics from next steps in your professional career, relationship building, traveling and everything in between for the post 25 millennial still finding themselves on their journey. I decided to release this project since I knew so many of my peers would benefit from the conversation and it has always been a goal; especially with my background in broadcast journalism!

What show are you most excited for this fall?
911 and This is Us! Both shows are great dramas (which are my favorite). They keep my attention from start to end of each episode.

Advice in one sentence:
Never compare your journey to others. Continue to acknowledge and strive towards your OWN goals!

Graham Taylor
Current Occupation: Producer, Fox Sports Arizona
IRTS Summer Fellow Year: 1999
IRTS Summer Internship: Madison Square Garden

Explain your “IRTS Impact”
It set me on a path to understand what it meant to be a professional in this business.

What was a big milestone for you?
I recently won a regional Emmy award for top live sports producer.

Remember that time when?
We got to visit the ABC News set, and I got to sit in fellow Canadian Peter Jennings chair for our photo (pictured below).

What was your first thought arriving in NYC for the fellowship?
It was my first trip ever to NYC and the city was mind-boggling to my senses

Favorite thing about your current position?
I am still following my passion for hockey and TV. I couldn’t think of doing anything else.

Something interesting you’re working on?
The daily activities of my 9 and 7 year old daughters. Swim, dance, piano, choir, gymnastics, brownies, repeat.

What show are you most excited for this fall?
The 3rd season of Man in the High Castle on Amazon Prime is finally returning. Amazing how the marketplace to consume TV is changing so much.

Advice in one sentence:
Be passionate in your life: in all of work, family, and hobbies – do what makes you happy to balance out the difficult times.

1999 IRTS Summer Fellows on the ABC News set

 

Graham Taylor (center-front) at the ABC News desk with his 1999 IRTS peers

For a full listing of the alumni profiled in our Former Fellow Spotlight, please click here.

Comments are closed.

IRTS Foundation