For a full listing of the alumni profiled in our Former Fellow Spotlight, please click here.
Current Occupation: Sales Planner, Disney ABC Television Group
IRTS Summer Fellow Year: 2016
IRTS Summer Internship: ABC National Television Sales
What was your first thought arriving in NYC for the fellowship?
When I arrived in NYC, I imagined something comparable to how cast on The Real World must feel. I was about to spend the entire summer with strangers. I knew that I would have a ton of fun, but I also knew that my world would never be the same again. I knew that the journey would truly be life-changing, and I was right.
Explain your “IRTS Impact”
Being a fellow means that you are a go-getter, an over-achiever, and a leader. Moving from a small media market to one of the largest in the world was very intimidating. IRTS gave me a greater sense of confidence. Before the fellows arrived, the organization’s leaders and alumni saw light and promise in each fellow. Each person I encountered was excited about my future. I remember reaching out to TJ Bowden during the application process for the class of 2016. We had never met before, but his excitement for me was like the excitement one would have for a family member graduating from college. He ensured me that the experience would change my life, and it did.
The IRTS impact now is even greater. The level of support we have for one another is unmatched. I have not witnessed a network as strong and as powerful as this one. Industry professionals have so much respect for the IRTS network. Yet, IRTS extends beyond the media industry. It is a professional resource as much as it is a personal resource. Because of IRTS, I have amazing friends who work at amazing companies in NYC and beyond. I met one of my closest friends in IRTS, and I will be in her wedding later this summer. Since the final day of the nine-week fellowship program, I have come to learn that being a fellow transcends nine weeks. The people, the memories, and the industry all mean much more to me than I could have imagined.
What’s something the 2018 class should do while in NYC this summer?
The 2018 class should share a meal together. Throughout the first week of the program, our group dined together. There is something very special about eating with a group of people. Figuring out the bill was a challenge in the beginning, but it didn’t take long for us to develop a system that worked every time — pass the bill to Akiah.
Favorite thing about your current position?
I enjoy hosting events for clients. I have had the opportunity to be a part of so many cool opportunities such as assisting with casting for the Bachelor, assisting guests at ABC’s 2017 upfront party and hosting clients at the GMA studio in Times Square for ABC’s annual New Year’s Eve party. The leaders at DATG know how to make work exciting for clients and for its talent.
Apart from hosting glamorous parties, I have an opportunity to serve many communities through Disney’s VoluntEARs program. I have had the opportunity to work with several non-profit organizations in New York. One of the most memorable experiences was participating in Disney’s partnership with KaBOOM! We helped the organization build a playground in the Bronx for young children. Helping that community brought so much joy.
What’s a book you think everyone should read?
Outliers: the Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell.
Advice in one sentence:
Never stop learning.