Saundra Thomas (MA Media Studies ’87) has a passion for media and for supporting local communities, and in her time as Vice President of Community Affairs at WABC-TV, she had the unique opportunity to do both.
“I graduated from The New School in the spring of 1987 and started working at WABC-TV in November of that year,” says Thomas, who went on to work for the station for more than three decades. “I was immediately prepared to put everything I learned in the Media Studies program into my work at the TV station. Attending The New School gave me a unique foundation. I had to think and write way out of the box.”
Thomas’s first assignments were writing and producing on-air topical stories and special programs for ABC7’s Eyewitness News. In 2001, she was promoted to Vice President of Community Affairs for the station, where she oversaw all on-air public service announcements, community outreach, and station community projects for the tri-state area. Serving as a liaison between the public and the station, Thomas recommended news and programming coverage of important local topics and was responsible for philanthropic endeavors on behalf of the television station
“Prior to working at the TV station, I had no idea that there was a job that would allow me to use my creative skills and combine my deep passion for people and community to tell stories and make change,” Thomas says. “I believe my experience and education created the space and room for me to be successful in doing both.
A recipient of the McDonald’s Legacy in Media Award and the Black Achievers in Industry Award from the Harlem YMCA, Thomas’s impact on local communities reaches further than just her philanthropic work for WABC-TV. Today, Thomas serves as the principal consultant at SPT Consultants, where she helps nonprofit organizations excel in meeting their mission and goals, and also serves on the boards of Open House New York and New York Women in Communication.”
“My courses (at The New School) forced me to think critically and gave me a very progressive point of view as I began my career,” says Thomas. “I certainly think being part of tight-knit community at The New School prepared me to be flexible and to use my voice as well as my work to help others use theirs.”