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ESPN and Quinnipiac Team Up For Minority Mentoring Program

Tuesday, October 7, 2008 , Posted by Christopher Byrne at 7:43 PM, under , , ,

Athens, GA (October 7, 2008) - Mainstream media has been criticized for lack of diversity in major, visible positions. To help open doors for minorities, ESPN will partner seven employees in management–track positions from its Affiliate Sales and Marketing division with one junior or senior from Quinnipiac University’s ALANA (Asian, Latino, African and Native American) program.

The selected mentors will provide a forum for students to ask questions, learn about real-world issues and receive advice for achieving life goals. ESPN hopes this pilot program will serve as a jumping-off point to expand to other colleges and universities in the future.

“Diversity is a priority for Disney and ESPN, so working with Quinnipiac’s ALANA group made sense for us,” said David Preschlack, executive vice president (pictured left), affiliate sales and marketing, Disney and ESPN Media Networks. “Our capacity to serve our consumers and fans is facilitated by having voices internally to reflect an ever-diversifying audience. Our hope is that this is not only a valuable experience for the participants, but will help us identify top performers and create a talent pipeline for the future.”

Added Tyrone Black, director of multicultural affairs at Quinnipiac (pictured right), “Quinnipiac students need to understand that diversity is not just a topic of discussion limited to the classroom; it’s an integral part of our daily lives. ESPN’s willingness to partner with Quinnipiac and provide opportunities for members of the ALANA mentoring program furthers the argument and idea that diversity is not a regional perspective but a beautiful global reality. I could not be happier that we are the recipients of such a great opportunity.”

Students who complete a successful mentorship program are eligible to apply for one spot in ESPN’s annual internship program for students interested in marketing, sales or media. The program also gives employees an opportunity for professional development.

Students will meet personally with their mentor at least twice per semester, in addition to regular communication by e-mail and phone. Mentors will invite students to ESPN offices in Bristol to learn about a real-world working environment and experience “a day-in-the-life.” Mentors also will serve as advisors, providing feedback on resumes and cover letters and conducting mock interviews with students to prepare them for attaining internships and full-time positions after graduation.

This is Quinnipiac’s second mentoring partnership this year. Eleven executives from Target stores in Southern Connecticut began serving as professional mentors to ALANA students in April. Both programs are part of a larger mentoring program at Quinnipiac involving approximately 200 ALANA students mentored by faculty and staff members and students to ease transition from high school to college and to create a career path.

David Preschlack photograph courtesy of Disney/ABC TV.
Tyrone Black photograph courtesy of Quinnipiac University.

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