MyViacommunity Stories: Opening Doors for Others

We sat down with Jason Williams, vice president of Global Consumer Products at Nickelodeon, to discuss Viacom’s UP Mentoringthe program he started through Viacommunity.

Q: Talk a little bit about your mentoring program.

A: UP Mentoring started in New York with 60 volunteers from Viacom in 2014, with a business-oriented program. That first year we focused on 20 students, and after three years, we’ve had over 200 Viacom employee volunteers and upwards of a hundred students. We’ve expanded the Viacom UP Mentoring program to include a creative component called UP Creative. There’s a great team I’ve assembled across the entire company, and they help guide the decision-making for all of this, and maintain the partnerships and the momentum for the program.

Q: What first drove you to volunteer?

A: When I came to Viacom, I looked to see what kind of mentoring programs there were at the company. And I wanted to find a way that I could create a space for students –young, aspiring students who wanted to get into the media and entertainment industry—to break the door down and get exposure.

Q: What would you tell people who are interested in volunteering?

A: Always think about how when you open the door, that it’s always important that you hold the door open to allow the right person to come in behind you. I would tell people who volunteer to continue to hold that door open for others, and to give of yourself. We really encourage everyone to drop what they’re doing and go out into the community. It shows that at the core of Viacom, being at the cusp of social issues is in our DNA. It’s unlike any other media company out there, because of our roots.

From Children’s Wellness to Aircraft Carrier Maintenance, Chryssi Mikus Is Here to Help

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom

Chryssi Mikus has a long and ongoing relationship with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, working to secure donations and auction items for large fundraisers. In 2015, she traveled to the center’s flagship institution in Memphis, Tennessee. She sits on the Friends of St. Jude committee, a group that brainstorms new fundraising opportunities and identifies potential new community or corporate partners.

While such dedication to the St. Jude’s cause might suggest some sort of full-time commitment to the organization, Mikus is actually a senior manager in Viacom’s Marketing & Partner Insights group, working across all of the company’s networks. Her expansive contributions to St. Jude are entirely voluntary.

“I think it’s important to give back, especially to causes you’re passionate about, whether it’s children or animals or the elderly,” Mikus says.

Chryssi Mikus has had a long relationship with St. Jude Children’s Hospital. Here she stands in front of the center’s flagship in Memphis, Tennessee.

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Full Circle: A Viacom Employee’s Journey from Mentee to Mentor

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom
Aulston Taylor with UP Mentees at End-of-Year Cere…
Aulston Taylor with UP Mentees at End-of-Year Cere…
Stuart Stuart

4 / 4 Taylor with UP mentees at the year-end celebration at Viacom's Times Square headquarters, Jun… Read More

Aulston Taylor with UP Mentees
Aulston Taylor with UP Mentees
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Aulston Taylor with Wallace Post Graduation 821x53…
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Aulston Taylor with Wallace the Intern 821x530
Stuart Stuart
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Aulston Teaching
Stuart Stuart

It was 1993. A 13-year-old boy sat in the bleachers of a Tulane University youth baseball camp in New Orleans. He was geared up to play: cleats tied, baseball uniform on, mitt on the bench beside him. But as camp participants ran drills on the field, the boy sat watching them.

A woman walked by and asked why he wasn’t playing. “My mom couldn’t afford it,” he replied. “I’m here watching my best friend until we head to our summer team’s practice at six o’clock.”

“Come with me,” the woman stated.

That woman was Gina Jones, wife of then Tulane baseball head coach Rick Jones. A phone call to the young man’s mom and he found himself on the field with his best friend. By the end of camp that week, he was named most improved player.

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Viacom Mentees Step UP to End-of-Year Event

by Stuart Winchester, Viacom
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What is it like to work in media and entertainment? To run a large business? To manage employees and budgets and clients? A group of New York City students found out over the course of the 2014-15 school year as they immersed themselves in Viacom’s Unlimited Potential (UP) Mentoring initiative, part of the company’s ongoing Viacommunity program. In June, this group of mentees gathered at Viacom’s global headquarters in Times Square for a year-end celebration that included remarks from CEO Philippe Dauman. Read More