Jalen Feaster ‘16 Meets Media “Movers and Shakers” at NYC Conference

Jalen Feaster ‘16, an industrial and systems engineering major who aspires to work in the media industry, has pursued numerous opportunities to gain valuable professional experience and develop connections with leaders in field.

“I wholeheartedly believe that media is one of the most powerful vehicles through which positive change can be achieved,” said Feaster.

In June 2014, Feaster attended the 25th conference of the Emma Bowen Foundation for Minority Interests in Media at New York City’s Grand Hyatt Hotel. Among the 600 attendees were current Emma Bowen Scholars, returning graduates, and industry executives, who networked with one another while engaging in workshops and seminars on topics such as new media technologies and corporate advancement.

Feaster describes the conference’s purpose as facilitating a direct connection between Emma Bowen Scholars and the “movers and shakers” of the media industry. He interacted with the likes of Dennis Swanson, the network television executive who launched Oprah Winfrey’s career, and television journalist Bryon Pitts.

“The Emma Bowen convention also challenged our leadership and creative skills by constantly pairing us in different teams and encouraging us to develop new methods of communication and problem-solving,” said Feaster.

Feaster’s biggest takeaway from the event was the encouragement to be bold. “As many speakers mentioned, but Bryon Pitts emphasized, being audacious is an essential characteristic to becoming and remaining successful.”

At the core of the Emma Bowen Foundation is a multi-year internship program that affords young professionals specific job-related skills and knowledge of the corporate environment. Partner companies, ranging from Al Jazeera to HBO to Disney, train and mentor Emma Bowen Scholars over four summers, with the option of full-time employment upon completion of their college degrees.

According to Feaster, beyond playing an instrumental role in his collegiate success thus far, his experiences as a Park Scholar helped secure his acceptance as an Emma Bowen Scholar. The program is highly competitive, accepting only 60-70 new scholars out of thousands of applicants each year.

As an Emma Bowen Scholar, Feaster has completed two of four years of a summer internship with his corporate sponsor, Charlotte-based Time Warner Cable.

In his first summer with Time Warner, Feaster interned in enterprise intelligence. He was heavily involved in strategizing more effective methods for consolidating the company’s East and West Coast segments. He generated reports and portfolios that played a key role in which new software and systems implementation would be adopted.

“Needless to say, due dates and correct data were non-negotiable,” said Feaster. “The way each department I worked under viewed me was as an employee, not an intern. They expected me to take full responsibility of anything I was involved in and, as one of my managers told me, ‘Ignorance of your impact on the company does not exclude you from responsibility.’”

This past summer, he transitioned into a new role with Time Warner Cable, as financial supply chain intern.

“I have had the unique opportunity to witness a diversity of thought processes, communication methods, and ultimately different areas of the company that could be improved through more efficient systems,” said Feaster.

While at the Emma Bowen Foundation conference this summer, he had the opportunity to speak with the senior product strategy leader of NBC Universal. This conversation sparked Feaster’s interest in exploring product development and operations research as a future profession.

“It would be amazing to find myself in a leadership role in a major design firm or corporation, working on new designs or optimization processes,” said Feaster.

Story by Lauren Vanderveen