2017 Summer Conference & Hall of Fame Breakfast

Each year, more than 180 diverse college students and young media professionals gather together at the Emma Bowen Foundation Summer Conference to take their first steps towards a career in the media and technology industries.

The 2017 Summer Conference took place from June 26 - June 30 in New York City.

Zuri Cheathem was a little apprehensive about going to New York for the first time. Luckily, the Morehouse College sophomore and Emma Bowen Foundation Fellow intern was far from alone.

For four days in late June, Cheathem joined more than students and aspiring media professionals from across the country at EBF’s annual summer conference for high-energy networking, learning and community-building. The highlight of the conference? Giving those students—many of whom are poised to take their first career steps—the opportunities to connect with senior executives from some of the country’s leading media and tech companies.

During the conference, students working toward careers in the Content of Media (news production, broadcast journalism), Innovation in Media (engineering, software development) and the Business of Media (media sales, public relations, marketing, human resources), heard from some powerful voices, including Gayle King, co-host of CBS “This Morning;” Joy-Ann Reid, a political analyst at MSNBC and host of “AM Joy;” Himesh Bhise, CEO of Synacor; and Susan Davis, Chief Sustainability Officer and VP of Environmental Affairs at Comcast.

During a panel about journalism in the Trump era, moderated by Paula Williams Madison, Chairman and CEO, Madison Media Management, LLC and long-time industry executive, students were exposed to passionate discussions about the state of media today and hopes for its future. In her presentation, Gayle King also offered some powerful remarks on the administration’s impact on the media industry. While debates about the validity of facts rage on, “the truth ultimately wins out,” she said.

And at its second annual Hall of Fame Breakfast, EBF inducted two pioneers in the fields of media and diversity—Phylis Eagle-Oldson and Dennis Swanson—into its Hall of Fame, joining the likes of the Foundation’s founders Emma Bowen, the Rev. Everett Parker and Dan Burke. Eagle-Oldson, who served as president and CEO of the Foundation for nearly 15 years before retiring in 2015, dedicated her career to the cause of diversity in media. During her tenure at EBF, she drew on her passion for the cable industry to lead extraordinary efforts to raise the Foundation’s profile. Swanson, who served as chairman of the Foundation’s board of directors from 1992 to 2012, is a legend in the TV industry. He is credited for giving Oprah Winfrey her big break in Chicago, successfully lobbying the International Olympic Committee to stagger the winter and summer Olympic games, and pairing Kathie Lee Gifford with Regis Philbin as one of America’s favorite talk show teams.

Toward the end of the conference, EBF Fellows had the opportunity to connect with EBF alumni to hear about life in the working world and to learn best practices for navigating their own careers.


Want to learn more about the 2017 Summer Conference? Visit our conference website for more information. There you can view:

  • Our Roster of Guest Speakers
  • Day by Day Agenda
  • Details on conference locations

Learn More