Networking, in More Ways than One

April 25, 2014 | Brooklyn College

BROOKLYN, NY– It’s a good day for Brooklyn College senior Kelly Harry. She’s wearing a bright yellow dress, in tune with the sun’s decision to cast one of its first dazzling days this spring on New York City, yet at the Columbus Circle office of her internship at CNN Money, she can’t stop herself from tearing up.

The double major in broadcast journalism and economics just finished getting her makeup done for a possible appearance on a show segment, and is telling her supervisor how her morning has gone.

“This means so much to me,” Harry says, fanning her face and trying her hardest not to skid the makeup job that has already been retouched.

It’s the last day of her five-month internship at a gig where she got to edit video, update headlines on social media, and dip her toe into various other priceless experiences—not the least of it, hobnobbing with some well-heeled professionals.

To be sure, it’s not lost on Harry that just a few short months ago, this would not have been possible. A native of Trinidad and Tobago, she only recently became a permanent resident of the United States after having lived in the country for years, earning an associate degree at Kingsborough Community College (at the international student tuition rate), and working nonstop in unpaid positions in order to keep her resume fresh.

“I felt lost, like I had no future,” says Harry, who set up a website to showcase her clips from positions at outfits like NV and Fuzion magazines and News 12.

“If you had told me a couple of months ago I would be interning for CNN and getting paid . . .” she says, trailing off.

Perhaps it’s because of her gratitude for no longer living in legal limbo and for the abundant opportunities that she has found at her new school, but in just two semesters at Brooklyn College, Harry has secured internships at CNN and NBC, earned the Lorraine Foner Memorial Scholarship for Women, and been named to the Brooklyn College Wall of Fame.

Early in her Brooklyn College career, she connected with The Magner Center, where she was told to make her face and her presence known.

“I took that, and I ran with it,” says Harry, also the secretary of the college’s chapter of the National Association of Black Accountants.

When she mentioned that she wanted to do financial journalism, folks at the Magner Center linked her up with Myron Kandel ’52, a now retired alumnus who was the founding producer of CNN Money. She e-mailed him, he told her he would be on campus soon, they met, had lunch, and he marked up her resume.

“He told me to go home and fix my resume and cover letter, he knows some people,” she recalls. “Two to three weeks later, I got an e-mail from CNN asking me to come in for an interview.”

Kandel, who has become a mentor for Harry, points out that she secured the position on the merits of her hard work and talent, and that he was simply a well-connected messenger.

And the rest is history. Literally. Harry got to rub elbows with the likes of front liners like reporters Christiane Amanpour—”see her all the time,” Harry throws out on a quick tour of the offices that includes a corridor lined with photographs of the news network’s stars—Wolf Blitzer (ever present as well), Don Lemon ’95 (“he’s soooo nice,”), and Anderson Cooper (“an enigma”).

Her internship has just hours left, but Harry has a lot to look forward to. She’s deciding between summer offers from financial firms JP Morgan Chase and Capco, and Fortune magazine, and she’s planning to graduate next December. But she’s still emotional as she thinks about what the opportunity at CNN has meant to her.

The staff huddles to say a quick good bye to Harry and another intern, who are bestowed with network swag—a “go there” t-shirt and a few other mementos—heartfelt thanks for their hard work, and the best of wishes.

Included in the huddle is Christine Roman, the anchor of CNN Money, who very warmly tells Harry to keep in touch.

“I will,” she says. “Most definitely.”

Contact: Ernesto Mora / 718-951-6377 / emora@brooklyn.cuny.edu