On June 12th, 2014, students from VEI’s T-Squared of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis HS (New York, NY) visited Time Square Studios at One Astor Plaza in New York City for a taping of VH1’s Big Morning Buzz Live, a daily morning news and pop culture talk show. Students toured executive offices and the show’s green room, served as audience members to watch an interview with film director and producer Spike Lee, stepped into the studio’s control room to witness the backstage action, and learned from current Viacom employees about how to get a job with one of the world’s largest media companies.
Students even got a chance to practice their skills talking on camera with host Nick Lachey.
T-Squared’s Coordinator Frank Egereonu commented, “We got a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into the production of a TV show. This is what T-Squared wanted, since we are a media company, just like Viacom. This opportunity was made possible thanks to T-Squared’s business mentors from Viacom.”
Two of these business mentors include Fukiko Ogisu, Senior Vice President Human Resources Operations at Viacom Inc. and Lisa Sipress, Senior Director of Human Resources for MTV Networks. Ms. Sipress planned the arrangements for T-Squared’s Viacom visit, and Ms. Ogisu made several visits to the firm throughout the school year, critiqued the team’s business plan presentation (which earned [intlink id=”9171″ type=”post”]third place honors at the 2014 National Business Plan Competition[/intlink]), and donated branded items to help transform the high school classroom into a professional office setting.
The partnership between the virtual and real-world media companies began when four Viacom employees visited T-Squared’s classroom offices and were so impressed they decided to serve as mentors for the students and firm.
Q&A with Business Mentor Fukiko Ogisu
What was your favorite part about working with VEI students?
“The enthusiasm they show for their future and learning new things—it’s palpable and inspiring. As a result, you can’t help but want them to follow their dreams and succeed.”
Do you plan on continuing your relationships with these students and/or with the high school to help future VEI students?
“Yes! Viacom is piloting a new mentoring program in NYC called UP (Unlimited Potential). The goal of this program is to work with these students in high school, track them through college and offer qualifying students internships, and ultimately, hire them as Viacom employees. As a result, this coming school year Viacom will work with the T-Squared team and be more involved in helping them run their business.”
How would you recommend other busy professionals like yourself can best serve as mentors for other VEI firms and students?
“Serve as mentors by sharing your expertise and experience in the workplace. That way, the students start understanding that professional life is a mixture of opportunities, luck, and hard work. They can begin to understand the breadth of what makes up a career. You can do this by speaking to the students for one hour or working with them for a full school year—whatever time you can give. It will make a difference.”
Make a difference today by signing up to become a VEI Business Mentor
Special Thanks to Mr. Egereonu, Ms. Ogisu, and Ms. Sipress for their contributions to this story