Geographic Inclusion: FIPP’s first female Chair on her journey from Armenia to the US, and into the industry

This International Women’s Day we release a very special episode of the Media Unscripted podcast, which features newly appointed FIPP Chair, Yulia Boyle. Yulia is Senior Vice President of International Media, Image Collection, & Content Operations for National Geographic Partners, and upon being appointed as FIPP Chair at the end of last year, immediately declared diversity and inclusion one of her top priorities for the industry

Produced in partnership with PressReader, Media Unscripted goes behind the headlines to get a first-hand glimpse into the lives of the professionals who have helped shape the industry into what it is today. Yulia’s story certainly doesn’t disappoint in this respect, as she chats openly to Podcast Host, Charlotte Ricca, about her unique journey through the sector.  

“I’m an immigrant woman in the US from Armenia, with Armenian and Jewish heritage from my Mother’s side,” she says. “I was raised by two strong women – my mother and my grandmother and really came of age in Soviet Armenia – what was the Soviet Union essentially – at what was a tumultuous time for my country.” 

“There was war in the late eighties, a devastating earthquake that killed 35,000 people, and eventually the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, when I was just graduating from high school. So as everything was collapsing around me, no electricity, no running water, I decided to learn English… and here I am!” 

I became one of the many beneficiaries of US foreign aid and went to the US twice, once at the age of 19 and then again as a graduate student

In today’s social climate it’s not unusual to hear politicians talk about their working-class backgrounds, or the struggles that celebrities have had to go through to find their way onto the world stage. But in Yulia’s case, we find a genuinely unique pathway from starting out to global success that even those who know her may not be fully aware of. 

“I guess I was in the right place at the right time, because due to all of those calamities, I became one of the many beneficiaries of US foreign aid and went to the US twice, once at the age of 19 and then again as a graduate student. And that was thanks to US Senator Bill Bradley and Edmund Muskie, who were behind the freedom support act that gave foreign aid to the former soviet countries.” 

“I was actually traveling back from my undergrad at the Rowan University, New Jersey, when I met somebody on the plane who introduced me to the Managing Director of Macmillan Education, and I got a job helping them start a joint venture in Armenia with a local publisher. When I started that, I was doing everything from office management… to editing the first ever Armenian-English dictionary!”

It’s a fascinating episode, in which Boyle speaks not only about her own personal journey, but also of the most important macro-level issues facing the industry today. The episode is now available on general release across Spotify, Apple, and all other leading platforms, and you can find out more here.  


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