Pros From the Music & TV Industry Give Advice To Aspiring Media Students

Panelists from BET, MTV, and Sony Music answer questions about networking


Media professionals speaking about their experiences Tuesday, Feb. 18th at St. John’s University Queens campus. From left- Deneil Mullings, Howard Tseng, Ma’ Kayle Phillips, Shannon Donohue, Jaide Lewis, Charisse Curtis, Javan Bryant. TORCH PHOTO/SOPHIE GANGI

Career Services brought in professionals from BET, MTV, Tidal and more to show students what it’s like to have a successful career in media. In their panel discussion held Feb. 18, seven professionals from careers spanning TV and music gave advice and answered questions about networking and finding opportunities.

“I think that anyone can be a resource,” Shannon Donohue, account executive at Berk Communications, said. “Networking doesn’t stop when you’re graduated.” 

According to the panelists, networking is just as important after receiving a full-time position or internship and can be useful in the future. Keeping in touch with connections is an important aspect of having available resources for projects, collaborations and future opportunities 

Many people focus on networking their way up, but it is just as important to “network across,” Jaide Lewis, a marketing professional for Tidal, Sony Music and BET noted. Connecting “across” refers to talking to people who might not have the same career path, but could be a valuable resource in the future.

“Networking is a beneficial relationship,” Manager of Public Relations at 300 Entertainment Deneil Mullings said, “It’s a give and a take.” Not only are you establishing a resource for yourself, but you are also sharing your resources with someone else, which is why the relationship is so valuable. 

Next, they discussed another important part of networking:self-advocating. Music Coordinator at MTV and ViacomCBS Ma’ Kayle Phillips explained that he marketed his skills to media professionals. “There are opportunities everywhere… if you’re open to everything you’ll find something,” he said. “If you get a foot in the door, bust through it.” Philips said. 

Finding any job after graduation can be vigorous and filled with letdowns, but the panelists agree it is essential to keep your head up.

Above all, keeping mental health in check was heralded as the number one priority. Panelists agree the media industry is always chugging on, so it can be difficult to relax. A and a support system is crucial to managing stress. Constantly involved with the lives of professional athletes, Donohue explained it can be “really, really hard to turn off … finding that support system is so important.” Whether it be family, friends or even activities like going to the gym, finding an outlet for stress is necessary to maintain a successful and healthy career.

“Relax,” Lewis said. “Even though it may not be on your time, it will always be on time.” Everyone receives job offers at different rates, so  “Don’t rush.” She said, “Be patient – everything is a process.”