It was the much-awaited campus visit that draws hundreds of eager students: The chance to connect with professionals from media giant NBCUniversal.
“I just want to help them get some real-world exposure while they’re still in school,” said Tom Winiarski ‘91. “It’s very hard if you’re not yet plugged into the business world; it’s daunting to come out of school. To have some real-world touch points is really helpful.”
Winiarski, who serves as executive vice president for ad sales planning and monetization at NBCUniversal Media, has returned to SUNY Oswego regularly as part of the Alumni-In-Residence program over the past few years. Winiarski most recently visited in fall 2018, bringing with him members of NBC’s recruitment team so that students could learn more about entry-level positions for graduating seniors, as well as a chance to become NBCUniversal interns through NBCU’s award-winning internship program. The program offers career path options in everything from media relations to film production to human resources to sales.
Following classroom visits, more than 100 students joined the NBCU team, which also included senior director of emerging platforms for NBCU’s SYFY and USA Networks Matt Romano ’05, in Sheldon Hall Ballroom to hear more.
Winiarski has continued to cultivate his connection to SUNY Oswego after his mentor and boss at NBCU provided a similar call to action at her alma mater, Penn State. After Winiarski attended a Penn State event, he thought SUNY Oswego students could benefit from the same approach and hearing from Oswego alumni, of which there are currently 35 employed at NBCU.
“I came out of school and didn’t know where in the media business I wanted to be,” he said. “I kind of felt along and found my way.”
Winiarski began his career as a sales assistant at Katz Communications in New York City. Later, he was vice president and senior vice president for sales at Turner Broadcasting System and TBS/TNT/truTV.
His Oswego connection doesn’t stop at creating a pipeline for employment and internships. He has also created a perpetual scholarship to help encourage new talent from the Department of Communication Studies in the School of Communication, Media and the Arts—Winiarski’s home school.
In addition to connecting students with opportunities and “a little less pavement pounding,” Winiarski said returning to campus has other perks, too—a chance to make a stop by the Oswego Sub Shop, to check out his own campus haunts and to visit new facilities.
Winiarski, who did an internship in the now-gone Poucher Hall radio lab, loves to check out the Marano Campus Center, which did not exist during his time on campus. He also loves to engage in the sense of community that Oswego creates both during his visits, and back at NBCU offices.
One alum co-worker, Winiarski said, has been known to whisper “Go Lakers” when passing by him in the hallways of NBCU.
“You really carry Oswego with you,” he laughed.
From left are NBC’s Nicole Goolsby, Matt Romano ’05, Keith Devine, Tom Winiarski ’91 and Ryan Hourigan.