THF Celebrates Diversity at Annual Awards Dinner


For the 26th year, the T. Howard Foundation (THF) celebrated diversity in the media and entertainment industry at the Diversity Awards Dinner. Nearly 800 media and entertainment professionals attended and supported THF programs for diverse college students and young professionals seeking careers in media.

The Dinner took place on Wednesday, March 27 at New York City’s Cipriani Wall Street. THF recognized industry leaders and companies who are committed to diversity and inclusion, as well as its recent internship program class and new hires and promotions. In 2018, THF placed more than 150 interns in the summer, spring and fall.

Craig Melvin, News Anchor, TODAY, Co-Host of 3rd Hour TODAY and Anchor of MSNBC Live, emceed the night’s festivities.

Christian Ortega (THF ’11), Associate Account Executive at Twentieth Television, was recognized as THF’s 2019 Rising Star. Ortega spoke to attendees about his journey from THF intern at Viacom to a full-time employee in the media industry. He acknowledged the Foundation for the opportunities to network with industry leaders and providing mentorship.

Ayo Davis, Senior Vice President, Talent and Casting, ABC Entertainment and ABC Studios presented THF’s Diversity Advocate Award to ABC’s Fresh Off the Boat. Davis acknowledged the groundbreaking Asian-American sitcom, celebrating their 100th episode. Accepting the award on behalf of Fresh Off the Boat was Creator and Executive Producer, Nahnatchka Khan and Executive Producer, Melvin Mar.

Additionally, THF presented Executive Leadership Awards to three remarkable women this year. Michael Biard, President, Operations and Distributions, FOX, presented the first Executive Leadership Award to Rita Tuzon, Executive Vice President and Corporate General Counsel, FOX. Michelle Miller, Co-Host of CBS This Morning: Saturday, presented the other Leadership awards to Christina Spade, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, CBS Corporation and Susan Zirinksy, President and Senior Executive Producer, CBS News.

The evening concluded with Courtney Kemp, Writer and Producer, presenting the Corporate Leadership Award to STARZ. Accepting the award was Jon Feltheimer, CEO, Lionsgate.

During the evening, THF showcased a silent auction with more than 30 items and exciting experiences donated by companies supporting the dinner, including tickets to the 2020 Super Bowl and Billy Joel at Madison Square Garden, and to tapings of “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” and “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.”

Earlier in the day, THF hosted its 6th annual Diversity Meet & Greet for Internship Program alumni who are actively seeking full-time positions in the media industry. Representatives and recruiters from 24 companies interviewed and networked with attendees.

To view photos and highlights from the dinner, click here.