Introducing IRTS Fellow Alumna Desiree Booker

By 1stFive Archives
Cover image for  article: Introducing IRTS Fellow Alumna Desiree Booker

IRTS (International Radio and Television Society), founded in 1939, is a non-profit charitable organization that develops future leaders and advances multi-cultural employee recruitment and retention for the media, advertising and marketing communities. The highly competitive IRTS Summer Fellowship Program places 30 college students into host companies annually, with 90% continuing their careers in our business. MediaVillage's is pleased to share some of their stories as we approach the June 9 IRTS Media Forecasting panel, where this year's Fellows will be introduced. The panel, moderated by IRTS Chairman Jack Myers, features GroupM's Rino Scanzoni, Havas Media's Lori Hiltz, Starcom's  Amanda Richman, Magna Global's Dani Benowitz and Horizon Media's Donnie Williams. For more information and to register, link here.  

Desiree Booker
Current Company: Page, NBCUniversal
IRTS Summer Fellow Year: 2015
IRTS Summer Internship: BET Networks

How did your IRTS summer internship shape your current career placement?

As a former 2015 IRTS Summer Fellow, I interned with BET Networks in Corporate Communications. Immediately following the fellowship program I was accepted into the NBCUniversal East Coast Page Program, where I have been afforded the opportunity to work on brands like "The Today Show," "Saturday Night Live" and Syfy.

IRTS exposed me to areas of the media industry that I never knew existed. Taking into account everything I learned summer 2015, I took a huge leap of faith and tried something different. I accepted my offer with the Page Program; earning less than some interns and working hours I never imagined. It has been a grind to say the least. I took the job hoping to gain exposure across the NBC businesses and leave the program more marketable and highly competitive amongst my peers. My time with the NBC Page Program has been an unprecedented experience that is helping me to better navigate my career. I have IRTS to thank for constantly pushing me out of my comfort zone and developing me into an avid risk taker. (Desiree is pictured below with her 2016 NBCUniversal Page Program co-horts.)

Desiree, center left, and her 2016 NBCUniversal Page Program cohort in front of the infamous Rainbow Room entrance.

What are the top three lessons you learned as an IRTS Summer Fellow that still resonate with your professional life today?

"Don't take it personally." I've learned to take the things people do and say with a grain of salt. Becoming too engulfed in your feelings will impede your ability to produce great work. I've also learned to leave all of my work mistakes at work. Ponder on it for two minutes, get over it and do better the next day.  "Leave a lasting impression." Know your package and exude confidence. Make people wonder who you are when you walk into a room. Most of the time getting into the room is only half the battle. The magic is in proving that you deserve to stay there. Finally, "learn how to play the game." Learn when to speak and what to say. Learn to choose your battles wisely. Learn to position yourself for success and step away from people who do not hold your best interests. Build out your strategy while you're young and you have a much easier journey than the typical person who won't receive the wakeup call until their 30s or 40s.

In your opinion, why is there a need for an organization such as IRTS?

IRTS invests in the individual. The Fellowship Program is designed to be an all-inclusive enrichment experience, providing young media hopefuls with all the necessary resources to make it in this business. Some people will never make it to New York because they simply cannot afford the cost of living. IRTS eases that financial burden and allows you to focus on professional development for an entire summer. Fellows are exposed to the almighty IRTS alumni network and participate in customized workshops that increase their industry awareness and knowledge. The Fellowship Program offers a product that so many people believe in and have benefited from. Personally, IRTS has groomed me into a multi-talented media enthusiast and diversity champion. Who knows where I'd be had I not been accepted into the program. IRTS is a large producer of some of the greatest leaders in the business. In my opinion, there will always be a need for their services. (Desiree is pictured below with other 2015 Fellows during their IRTS Media Bootcamp experience.)

Desiree Booker, kneeling on the lower right, and her 2015 IRTS cohort during their first-week, custom IRTS Media Bootcamp experience.

Support the IRTS Foundation's mission to "Build Future Media Leaders" by attending the IRTS MEDIA BUYERS Newsmaker Breakfast on June 9, sponsored by Active International, CBS Corporation, Comcast-NBCUniversal, DISH Media Sales, Disney-ABC, Facebook,  Google/YouTube, Nielsen, Sony and more.  

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