When Georgia Juvelis began working for AMC Networks in fall of 2007, Mad Men had just debuted on AMC, and she got a sneak peek at the first episode of Breaking Bad. She remembers thinking it was a “thrilling” time to join the company.
She could not guess how many more changes were in store both for her and for AMC, which went public in 2011 and expanded internationally in 2014. As executive VP and co-head of corporate communications, Juvelis has handled the financial reporting on a number of the company’s biggest changes. These include its 2018 acquisition of RLJ Entertainment, which added the streaming service Acorn TV to AMC’s portfolio, and the recent reorganization of the AMC Networks Entertainment Group under president Sarah Barnett.
Her colleagues praise not only her skill in distilling a clear message to shareholders, the business press and employees about the company’s decisions, but also her role as a sounding board when key decisions have been made.
“Georgia is a natural strategic thinker,” said AMC Networks CEO Josh Sapan, describing her approach to communications as “highly considered” rather than “reactive.”
“She thinks about the communications impact, but she also thinks about the business impact and the impact on all constituents of what’s going on in the company,” he said.
Ask Challenging Questions
To Juvelis, a corporate communications team’s most valuable function is to ask challenging questions. “Because we’re the proxies for the press in the company, you can’t be afraid to have a point of view and express it.” She said she’s fortunate to work with leaders who value input: “Otherwise you’re just an empty mouthpiece, I think.”
AMC Networks Entertainment president Barnett said Juvelis’s “straight-talking, very honest” perspective inspires loyalty from those around her. “She seems egoless,” Barnett explained. “It’s so clear her motivation is always about putting the company first.”
Juvelis’s career rise parallels what she sees as a growing recognition that corporate communication is “fundamental to business strategy.”
She started out at Discovery handling program publicity. She next launched her own company, working with such clients as Hearst Communications and PBS. As communications VP for Gemstar-TV Guide International, she oversaw media relations, talent relations and publicity, as well as corporate communications.
Juvelis began working as a consultant to AMC shortly after she and her husband had spent a year traveling the world. “We call it our mid-30s gap year,” she said.
After only a few months of consulting, AMC chief communications officer Ellen Kroner invited her to join the staff. Juvelis was excited, but explained to Kroner that she was pregnant, and would soon go on maternity leave.
Kroner “didn’t even blink,” Juvelis said. She was impressed by Kroner’s trust in a new hire, which she models in her own management style. “I like to hire people with similar values and standards of quality and then just let them go, because that’s how I like to work,” she said.
When Kroner retired in 2016, Juvelis and Jim Maiella were promoted to co-heads of communications. “Co-heads” can sometimes be rivals, but Juvelis said she and Maiella “value having a peer and close confidante who we can really trust and rely on.” Sapan observed that Maiella and Juvelis “share tasks and goals without selfishness.”
Their primary task, Juvelis said, is creating a cogent message about how seemingly disparate parts of the company support its strategic goals.
“I think I’m able to step back and establish that narrative thread,” Juvelis said. Telling a compelling story requires “an appreciation of what the world is talking about and what it cares about so you can understand: Where do we fit into it?” It also requires knowledge of an increasingly complex, global organization, she said.
Juvelis’s ability to inspire trust allows her to build relationships across varied departments. In the past year and a half, Juvelis has guided several internal communications initiatives, including a revamped employee intranet and “TALKS@AMC Networks” featuring department heads and industry leaders.
Approach to Mentoring
Juvelis has mentored women through the WICT New York Executive Mentoring Program and the Women’s ERG at AMC Networks and MentorUp programs, but added: “I also hope I’ve done a fair amount of informal mentoring.” Essential to that, she said, is helping people build a network of supporters. “You only do well if people around you want you to do well.”
Her mentoring is similar to her work in communications: People seek her out to get a clear-eyed perspective. “She’s the ideal person to stress test an idea with,” Barnett said. “She’s very good at bringing out the best in others.”
Stepping back to find the narrative thread of her 12 years with AMC Networks, Juvelis noted, “I think I can get bored easily, so I’ve been well suited to navigating a lot of change.”
For all the change she has been a part of, Juvelis said her most important accomplishment has been spotlighting the original programming and films that drew her to AMC in the first place.
“In a small way, the work we’ve done has launched conversations on important topics, driven the cultural conversation and shifted minds,” she said. “To be a part of that has been a huge highlight.”
Career Highlights: Overseeing internal and external communication and marketing efforts for the strategic acquisition of RLJ Entertainment and AMC’s direct-to-consumer strategy
Quotable: “Relationship building is as critically important as always. While it’s easier to have virtual relationships, taking time for face-to-face conversation is important.”