Two young alumni—Paige Bonanno, of Los Angeles, California ’15, communication, and Mariah Haberman, of Verona ’10, journalism—will be recognized for outstanding work in the television/entertainment industry and as journalists.
The women are among exceptional graduates who will receive University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Alumni Association awards on Friday, Oct. 19, at the Alumni Awards Celebration held in conjunction with Homecoming weekend festivities on campus.
Bonanno is an associate producer with ABC Entertainment, who produces, writes and edits creative concepts and spots for on-air and digital campaigns. She coordinates all aspects of post-production, including voice over sessions, music, clearances, color-grading, graphic requests and audio sweetening.
“When you Google Outstanding Young Alumni every search should lead to this AMAZING young woman, Paige Bonanno,” said Brenda Lau, a colleague, UWO alumna and former winner herself. “UWO can be nothing but proud to have her on their alumni list. She represents the University in the most positive light.”
Lau said she first met Bonanno when she (Lau) first participated in the 50th anniversary of UW Oshkosh’s radio TV film Homecoming celebration networking event. She said she was surrounded by more than 50 students and Bonanno’s enthusiasm, talent and professionalism “shined above the rest of the ‘rock star’ radio TV film students.”
Lau said when she learned Bonanno was on her way to Hollywood, she said she was thrilled to help with her pursuit of working in the entertainment industry. She said she helped “open the door,” and Bonanno has made her extremely proud ever since.
Keith Grant, creative director with ABC Entertainment Marketing, said because of Bonanno’s abilities and drive to succeed, they have given her many high-profile assignments. He said she has done an outstanding job every time.
“From working on massive marketing campaigns like The Good Doctor, TGIT, American Idol and even interviewing the entire cast of Scandal, she can do it all,” he said. “Her work is seen by millions of people and we always know that Paige will rise to the occasion.”
Grant noted Bonanno’s weekly volunteer work with Dream Center in Los Angeles as a tutor for a homeless fourth- grade student in a program called “School on Wheels.”
He said Bonanno is always willing to help others and impact people around her.
Rebecca Dougherty, executive vice president of marketing with ABC Entertainment and ABC Studios, said Bonanno is “mature far beyond her years and she stands among some of the strongest young leaders we have on our team.”
“Paige started as an intern in the marketing department at ABC Television in January 2015. After demonstrating throughout her internship that she was an amazing asset to the team, Paige continued to get promoted and quickly became an associate producer. We trust her implicitly with our most precious projects. She has contributed greatly to several of our most successful marketing campaigns.”
Bonanno said earning the 2017 Cynopsis Rising Star Award is the career achievement she is most proud of, after being nominated by her bosses at ABC. It recognizes the “best and brightest TV/media industry professionals under 30.” She also is proud of the first creative piece that went out for The Good Doctor–a show that went on to become the season’s No. 1 new drama.
“On a tight deadline, I created the official teaser that kicked off the entire campaign and was the first piece of content the nation viewed.”
Bonanno said she would not be where she is today without her UW Oshkosh education.
“In fact, the only reason I got the ABC internship that launched my career in the first place was because a UWO alum took a chance on me. From the heavily involved professors, the plethora of student activities and the various academic programs available, UW Oshkosh provided me with all the tools I needed to succeed.”
She said UWO helped her attain three of the four internships she held in college. With the help of the radio TV film program, she was awarded the Wisconsin Broadcaster Association Foundation Scholarship.
“I am extremely proud of my alma mater and relish in the fact that it helped me get to where I am today,” she said. “I continue to attend alumni events and get-togethers as often as possible, as we have a wonderful community of UWO grads in Los Angeles. I sincerely appreciate my UWO education from the bottom of my heart, and will proudly shout, ‘Hail Titans’ for life!”
Haberman is director of brand development, producer and TV host for Discover Mediaworks in Madison.
“Within a few years of her graduation and initial work with Hiebing (Madison agency) in public relations and advertising, Mariah became the statewide host/brand manager for Discover Wisconsin,” said Sara Steffes Hansen, a UW Oshkosh professor and journalism department chair who nominated Haberman for the Outstanding Young Alumni award.
“This is a multifaceted and highly visible role job for a media professional at any age, but her exceptional skills as a young professional help her perform well as a host and as a creative online content producer to showcase our state. She has served in this role for five years, producing broadcasts and social media content, and was additionally named director of brand development in 2017.”
A former colleague, Casey Liddicoat, said Habermann “not only owned the screen, she quickly overhauled the show’s social media presence, took a full rebranding initiative into her own hands and upped everyone else’s game across the production process.”
Chad Diedrick, former managing director of Discover Wisconsin, said Haberman is passionate about her work and tries to make a more fun workplace so her coworkers are happy and want to come to work.
“Mariah is an outstanding professional and colleague whose talent is apparent, but it’s her integrity and leadership qualities that profoundly contribute to any team she is assigned,” said Jodi Lyon-Grams, video producer/journalist.
Lyon-Grams said Haberman’s knowledge of the industry and passion for creating a thriving culture have resulted in “great opportunities for everyone involved.”
While at UW Oshkosh, Haberman was involved in Public Relations Student Society of America and UW Oshkosh Hip Hop Dance Team. She studied abroad at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia.
Following graduation in May 2010, Haberman accepted a four-month position at Carol Fox & Associations, a public relations firm in Chicago. She then moved in with an aunt and started her own limited liability corporation, offering inexpensive services to local realtors for branding, public relations and social media marketing.
Next, she landed a position with the marketing agency Hiebing in Madison, as a public relations and social media account coordinator. A year later, she was promoted to PR and social media account executive. After two years at Hiebing, she was hired as co-host and PR strategist for Discover Mediaworks and took over as lead host of their flagship program, Discover Wisconsin.
Social media presence was boosted significantly and in 2013, Haberman launched the brand’s official blog, The Bobber, which now has about 50,000 visitors per month. In 2014, she secured a partnership with the Wisconsin Newspaper Association to print a weekly syndicated Discover Wisconsin column across the state. In 2015, she spearheaded an e-commerce initiative that offers Discover Wisconsin merchandise to online shoppers.
She said while being in front of the camera is a thrill, she is just as excited working behind the lens. She produced two episodes of Discover Wisconsin and was working on a third to be completed this fall.
She was asked to be on a business team to revamp the way sales were approached. In one year, she has brought in more than $300,000 in new business.
Haberman, who was part of the UWO Alumni Board from 2014-2017, said she is most proud of earning a 2017 Emmy Award nomination.
Haberman speaks openly of the turmoil happening during her college years that included parental divorce, death and legal troubles and the loss of the family home her senior year.
“I nearly dropped out of college after my stepdad died,” she said. “I knew, though, that I had four younger siblings who were watching me closely. I knew that if I didn’t hold my head high, they wouldn’t either. Thank God I had professors who saw potential in me, friends and roommates who let me console in them and dance teams and student organizations that helped me forget for a second about what I was dealing with 200 miles away.”
Haberman said UW Oshkosh didn’t just set her up for professional success, but “saved” her in so many ways.
“It helped me break a vicious cycle and laid the foundation for a happy, fulfilling life,” she said. “And now, I feel a responsibility to pay it forward in any way I can.”
The 2018 Alumni Awards Celebration will be held Friday, Oct. 19, at the Alumni Welcome and Conference Center, with a reception at 5 p.m., followed by the dinner and program beginning at 6 p.m. The cost of the event is $30 per person.
For more information, contact UWO’s Alumni Relations Office at (920) 424-3449 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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