My Intern Story: Corporate Affairs at HBO

August 30, 2017 - Scholars

The following post was written by Azira Azizuddin-McCloud, JRF Scholar Class of 2019. 

The beauty of The Jackie Robinson Foundation (JRF) is that it is a family. It takes a village to raise a child and the same can be said for a college student. JRF’s tremendous support helps Scholars become well-developed professionals with emotional intelligence, leadership capabilities, an eye on social issues, and a heart for helping. The Foundation helps Scholars align with companies that care about doing social good, and companies that prioritize our growth and our development. Not only are we able to excel academically because financial burdens are lifted, but we also have healthy social capital. When I say healthy, I don’t just mean abundant. I mean true relationships that are built on authenticity and created with care. These are the relationships that will prove to be most impactful.

Thanks in part to the preparation provided through JRF, I interned at HBO with the Corporate Affairs Department on the Corporate Social Responsibility Team in New York City. Richard Plepler, HBO’s CEO, often says, “culture eats strategy for breakfast.” From my internship at HBO, it goes without saying that this is true. Culture is an integral part of what makes HBO — HBO. It was clear from their content that they value uniqueness and gave a platform for insurgent voices. This internship allowed me to marry my love for content which elevates social issues with my love for strategic campaigns that work in the very communities I am passionate about.

I greatly appreciated my time at HBO. As an intern, my thoughts were valued there. I was truly part of the team. Every meeting that my team was part of, I was also invited to attend. I saw how HBO partners with non-profit organizations and with each meeting, I learned how organizations garner support, grow, and extend their networks.

My personal growth was prioritized at HBO and I was encouraged to develop my talents. Whenever there was an opportunity to write, my supervisor made sure I was included. During my internship at HBO, I was able to write content for the internal HBO and Time Warner websites, representing the department my internship was in. In addition to exciting projects, I have also met exceptional people. I had the opportunity to meet Dennis Williams, the Senior Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility & Corporate Affairs, who came to HBO and built the department from scratch.  He made himself available to the interns by offering book suggestions to facilitate our personal and professional development, in addition to supporting a book club meeting that I planned.  Finally, at the end of the summer when all the interns present our projects, I shared a portion of the presentation with an audience full of HBO employees.

I had the freedom to interact with other departments within the company.  Everyone I reached out to, regardless of their position, met me for coffee or an informational session.  I felt comfortable enough to ask departments that work closely with mine for work. Through the assignments I was given, I was able to learn about regional PR and media relations. In a sense, I had several internships in one. Freedom to expand beyond your “set” intern responsibilities to work with other departments throughout the summer is ideal because I was able to explore career paths that I didn’t even know existed.

I loved my time in New York City. Events hosted by JRF employees and JRF interns made NYC feel smaller and more like home. I’ve bit into the Big Apple, and spent my weekends exploring each borough. In the famous words of Annie, “I think I’m gonna like it here!”

Azira is a junior communications major at Howard University. Her sponsor is Deloitte. Connect with Azira on LinkedIn