Viacom

Love for All Fankind: How Viacom and the Rest of the World United for Pride

On June 28, 1970, thousands of LGBT New Yorkers marched from Greenwich Village to Central Park to commemorate the anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. It was a gallant acknowledgment of the brutal treatment of LGBT citizens; an assertion of their human rights. The years of living a clandestine lifestyle were over—they were out, and they were proud.

Gay Rights March 1970'S. (Photo By Education Images/UIG via Getty Images)

The original Pride Parade in 1970.

Since then, the LGBT community has rallied around its darkest times, including the assassination of Harvey Milk and the AIDS epidemic. Homophobic legislation, job discrimination, and repeated acts of violence have only served to fortify the movement.

Now in its 46th year, Pride marches on after the LGBT community experienced yet another devastating attack—the deadliest mass shooting in American history. On Sunday, June 26, throngs of supporters filled the streets of New York from Midtown to Greenwich Village with rainbow flags and glitter—ever the flamboyant festival, but with a somber undertone.

Photographs of the victims of the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting are laid out prior to the start of the 46th annual Gay Pride march June 26, 2016 in New York. New York kicked off June 26 what organizers hope will be the city's largest ever Gay Pride march, honoring the 49 people killed in the Orlando nightclub massacre and celebrate tolerance. / AFP / the 46th / Bryan R. Smith        (Photo credit should read BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP/Getty Images)

Photographs of the victims of the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting are laid out prior to the start of the 46th annual Gay Pride march June 26, 2016 in New York.

“This year is going to be a lot more significant, a lot more important,” said New York Pride March Director Julian Sanjivan. “It’s painful, but at the same time, we want to show it’s all about love, it’s all about equality. We’re not going to cave to fear.”

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50 Youths Plus Two Business Apps Equals Moguls in the Making

When you bring middle and high school students together to develop a web app to help teens start a business, anything can happen. For the 50-plus participants in the Mogul in the Making Hackathon – hosted by Get Schooled, Accenture, and Viacom on a recent June weekend – the gathering proved to be an intense competition.

The Shark Tank-style hackathon, held June 4 and 5 at the Viacom headquarters in Times Square, required students to compete in teams to develop their app ideas. Each step was tracked on a leaderboard and the seven teams took turns meeting with the board of advisors to try and move into the top spot. Inspirational coaches Top Chef Kwame Onwuachi and 12-year-old Cory Nieves of Mr. Cory’s Cookies were on hand to offer advice on being a successful entrepreneur.

“When you’re starting a business, make sure you put your heart into what you do,” Nieves, who has become a savvy business owner who has already expanded his cookie operation into a commercial space, told the teens.

On the second day, the teams prepared to pitch their ideas to the judges. They started by making 30-second commercials to practice the art of storytelling and get them thinking about how to position their app in the marketplace. The commercials were posted to Instagram and YouTube and used as part of the final presentation to the judges.

Students, Viacom employees, and Get Schooled and Accenture staff work to create business startup apps at the Mogul in the Making Hackathon at Viacom headquarters in Times Square.

Students, Viacom employees, and Get Schooled and Accenture staff work to create business startup apps at the Mogul in the Making Hackathon at Viacom headquarters in Times Square.

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Add This to the Portfolio of Things Viacom Helps Create: Families

Stuart Winchester by Stuart Winchester, Viacom
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​It was St. Patrick’s Day 2010, and Susan Gould was in China for the first time in her life, sitting in an austere administrative office outside of Guangzhou. Beside her sat Patrick, her partner since the mid-1990s. International travel was nothing new to the couple, veterans of far-flung excursions to Africa, Asia, Europe and South America. But this was their biggest adventure of all: they were about to meet their child for the first time.​

The couple had been waiting for this moment ever since they had placed their names on a list of interested adoptive parents in 2006. After a couple wearying years spent mucking through the ever-changing and byzantine rules of the international adoption complex, they had changed tactics, offering themselves as candidates for a special needs child. In late 2009, notice came that a little Chinese girl born the year before would be available in six months. The couple immediately began preparations to travel overseas.

As they got organized, Gould, an account executive in Ad Sales, received a surprise: Viacom offered an adoption assistance program, offering up to $10,000 to offset the gigantic cost of bringing a non-biological child into their family.

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Opening Their World to Open Adoption – With an Assist from Viacom

Stuart Winchester by Stuart Winchester, Viacom
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​​Nine years ago, George Pantelidis and his wife Larissa decided to restart their life. The native New Yorkers packed it in and headed west, landing in Santa Clarita, just north of Los Angeles, where the weather was nice and they could have a little more space. George had been stationed in the area when he served in the Marine Corp, and the couple thought it may be a great place to start a family.

Family is what they really hoped for. Part of what had driven them west was a string of unsuccessful attempts to create just that. Natural conception had not worked. IVF had failed. There had been miscarriages. It was time for a change.

They settled in. Larissa went to work for Wells Fargo. George wound up at Viacom, ingesting transcode for the digital media department.

In 2009, having exhausted all options to conceive a child, the couple drove south to Long Beach to attend an adoption symposium. It was there that they learned about something called open adoption, in which a pregnant mother selects the couple who will adopt their child at birth. At the adoptive parents’ discretion, the child could maintain contact with their biological mother. The moment they learned of it, the couple determined that open adoption suited their sensibilities perfectly.

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Digging Toilets in the Tropics: One Viacom Employee’s Adventure in Giving

Stuart Winchester by Stuart Winchester, Viacom
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​At first glance, Chuacruz, Guatemala, is an idyllic place. Green and gorgeous, it is tucked into low tropical hills strung with neat rows of crops. Children freely roam the streets, with little to fear from strangers (there aren’t any) or cars (there aren’t any of those either). Cattle and pigs wander among people. It is so quiet you can hear chickens clucking from neighboring yards.

But not all is perfect. There are no indoor toilets, and in some cases, no outdoor ones either. Water is drunk unfiltered from wells. Cooking is done on wood-fired stoves that fill homes with heavy clouds of black smoke.

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The team and a local family after completing a stove together. 
In July 2014, Akiko Ikegami, a senior manager at Viacom Media Networks, traveled from New York to Chuacruz to help change that. Working as part of Viacom’s Give and Take program done in conjunction with Habitat for Humanity, she spent five days installing water filtration systems and building outdoor toilets and safer stoves for eight families.

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A Viacom Employee Perk that Benefits Others

Stuart Winchester by Stuart Winchester, Viacom
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Growing up in Pennsylvania coal country, Viacom’s Joe Gushen worked a lot with his hands. His father was a property developer, and Gushen’s childhood memories include painting “Tonka” on the back of his dad’s dump truck. As a teenager, he ripped wiring out of old apartments and helped build new ones.

When Gushen launched his career at Viacom out of Kutztown University eight years ago, he largely left this sort of manual labor behind, though he missed it as he moved from MTV.com to Comedy Central to his current role as director of multiplatform programming at Nick.

A couple of springs ago, Gushen briefly relived this sweating, physical past when he road-tripped from New York to Swannanoa, a small town outside of Asheville, N.C. to join a Habitat for Humanity build through Viacom’s Give and Take, which refunds five vacation days for a week spent volunteering through the program.

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Viacommunity Day 2016: Check out Our Employees in Action

​​Viacom offices are usually clamoring with activity, but not on May 20, 2016. Instead, our employees across the country and around the globe left their desks, shut down their computers, and set off to put our corporate values into action. Here’s a loo​k at how they turned up for good on the 20th anniversary of Viacommunity Day.

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433 Million LinkedIn Users Put Viacom on a Very Select List

Stuart Winchester by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

It’s award season at Viacom. We just wrapped Spike’s Guys Choice and the CMT Music Awards. This Saturday, Logo hosts the Trailblazer Honors, and the BET Awards descend upon Los Angeles the following day. VH1 brings back the Hip Hop Honors after a six-year absence on July 11, while Nickelodeon gears up for Kids’ Choice Sports on July 17. And we’ll close the summer out with MTV’s VMAs at Madison Square Garden on Aug. 28.

While we were busy queueing up the slime and the Moonmen to acknowledge our honorees for their excellence, a separate committee was at work delivering a pretty cool recognition to Viacom: a place on LinkedIn’s Top Attractors list. The top professional social media network built this compendium of the 40 best U.S. companies at attracting and keeping talent by analyzing the actions of its more than 433 million members.

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Rise to Assist Florida Orgs in the Aftermath of the Orlando Shooting

Stuart Winchester by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

It’s been more than a week since the worst mass shooting in American history left 49 people dead at The Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida. Many of Viacom’s brands have united powerfully around the tragedy, with tributes to victims and lists of resources to help in the aftermath.

Inspired by this commitment from Logo, MTV, BET and others, Viacommunity, our social responsibility umbrella, is hosting the Viacom Stands with Orlando Crowdrise campaign. There, you can donate to Florida Equality, GLAAD and the LGBT Center of Orlando. We will match all donations up to $50,000.

The ongoing gun violence in the United States affects all of us, who are increasingly finding that our national insistence on easy access to weapons compromises our ability to feel safe in any crowded public space. Comedy Central’s Trevor Noah dissects this infatuation with elevating the rights of the individual gun owner over a more collective sense of security, and its related fallout, in a recent segment of The Daily Show: