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50 Global Armenians: Yulia Petrossian Boyle

Mediamax continues its "50 Global Armenians” project and presents a new hero - Yulia Petrossian Boyle.

Yulia Petrossian Boyle.
Yulia Petrossian Boyle.

Photo: Yulia Petrossian Boyle’s archive.

Yulia Petrossian Boyle and Russian Minister for Emergency Situations Sergey Shoygu.
Yulia Petrossian Boyle and Russian Minister for Emergency Situations Sergey Shoygu.

Photo: Yulia Petrossian Boyle’s archive.

Yulia Petrossian Boyle at the NGM presentation in Kiev with classmate Robert Chaghalian.
Yulia Petrossian Boyle at the NGM presentation in Kiev with classmate Robert Chaghalian.

Photo: Yulia Petrossian Boyle’s archive.

Yulia Petrossian Boyle at NGM launch in Egypt.
Yulia Petrossian Boyle at NGM launch in Egypt.

Photo: Yulia Petrossian Boyle’s archive.

Yulia Petrossian Boyle at NGM launch in India.
Yulia Petrossian Boyle at NGM launch in India.

Photo: Yulia Petrossian Boyle’s archive.

Yulia Petrossian Boyle at a TV-show in Mongolia.
Yulia Petrossian Boyle at a TV-show in Mongolia.

Photo: Yulia Petrossian Boyle’s archive.

Yulia Petrossian Boyle with Moscow collegaues.
Yulia Petrossian Boyle with Moscow collegaues.

Photo: Yulia Petrossian Boyle’s archive.

Yulia Petrossian Boyle with collegaues.
Yulia Petrossian Boyle with collegaues.

Photo: Yulia Petrossian Boyle’s archive.


Mediamax continues its “50 Global Armenians” project and presents a new hero - Yulia Petrossian Boyle.

Still at school Yulia was keen on humanitarian sciences, this is why she decided to join a specialized history and social sciences class in Pushkin School. Of course, at that time she could hardly imagine that two decades later she would work in Washington D.C. and become Senior Vice President of International Publishing of one of the world’s most famous non-profits and media corporations  - the National Geographic Society

After finishing the Yerevan Pushkin School, I got enrolled into the Department of Area Studies of V. Bryusov’s State Linguistic University with a concentration in USA and Great Britain. My goal was to get into the Spanish Language Department of Yerevan State University, but I did not get high enough test scores. “Bryusov” was the second in the list, and initially I didn’t want to go there, since there was that silly stereotype at the time that this place is where  girls go only to find boyfriends. But today I realize that Bryusov was the best thing that ever happened to me and the Area Studies major really kicked-off my future career.


Yulia Petrossian Boyle and Russian Minister for Emergency Situations Sergey Shoygu.
Photo: Yulia Petrossian Boyle’s archive.

Yulia spent the 1994-1995 academic year in US pursuing American Studies major at Rowan University of New Jersey, after receiving a scholarship from US Government under Freedom Support Act, passed by US Congress to help open emerging markets of FSU.  After returning from the USA, she met her school teacher Mark Grigoryan. Having learned that Yulia was looking for a job, the same day Mark took her to his friend, a great photographer Ruben Mangasaryan, who founded and headed Patker photo agency. Ruben was one of the best photographers in Armenia and his photographs of Karabakh war became iconic  during his lifetime...

I have worked for a year with Ruben. Simultaneously I was cooperating with Macmillan Publishing, distinguished global publishing house which planned to establish in Armenia. I helped the publisher to find necessary contacts in Armenia, and interpreted for the Managing Director during business meetings. A year after I was offered a job at a newly established Macmillan Armenia Publishing House JV. To be honest, Ruben and Mark were disappointed by my decision to leave Patker.

I liked working with Ruben and seeing his photographs every day (my job was  to do photo transmission of his photographs to foreign agencies, managing his international correspondence and doing translations). In 1995 it could take several hours to send a high-resolution photograph via e-mail, for example, to Magnum Photo. The communication was often interrupted and I had to re-send the pictures over and over again. But I enjoyed being around Ruben’s art and met so many interesting people: photographers, journalsts, writers from various parts of the world

The decision to start working at Macmillan Armenia was conditioned not only by higher compensation package but the fact that I was beginning to get fascinated by world of publishing.

Yulia was with  Macmillan Armenia for about a year, when  she applied for Edmund Muskie Fellowship program to pursue graduate work in the US. While her papers were under consideration, she made up her mind not to go to USA even if she was awarded the scholarship, since she as totally enjoying her work at Macmillan Armenia. When she got the scholarship to do her Master’s Degree in Public Management at Indiana University, Bloomington, only at the very last moment her brother persuaded her to change her mind and take up the offer.


Yulia Petrossian Boyle with Moscow collegaues.
Yulia Petrossian Boyle’s archive.

After returning from USA, I continued working at Macmillan Armenia as the Marketing Manager, with some small editorial projects on the side, and then received an offer from the  newly established office of the British Council in Yerevan and became its first local staff member in charge of the office administration and Cultural and Education programs.

While in Bloomington, Yulia met with her future husband – Eric Boyle, who spoke perfect Russian  and at first Yulia thought he was a native of former USSR. Later, it turned out that Eric had worked as a volunteer at the U.S. Peace Corps in Kyrgyzstan that’s where he honed his Russian skills to perfection. Yulia and Eric left for Kazakhstan in 2002, where Eric got a job with the Urban Institute in  Almaty, and Yulia started working for the USAID's Regional Training Program managing public healthcare related training activities.

The office in Almaty coordinated the activity of USAID in all Central Asian republics. My work entailed securing USAID’s funding, finding technical experts to lead trainings and bringing medical professionals from all over Central Asia for trainings such as primary and reproductive healthcare programs for women.  I worked with state and local representatives of Ministries of Health of Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan to organize the trainings

After Kazakhstan we moved to Kiev, Ukraine for two years where I went back to my publishing, now working with magazines as opposed to books. There was a weekly magazine in Kiev, similar to Time-Out,  which I repositioned into a stylish glossy weekly for business women of Kiev.


Yulia Petrossian Boyle at the NGM presentation in Kiev with classmate Robert Chaghalian.
Photo: Yulia Petrossian Boyle’s archive.

We moved to US in 2007 for Eric’s work and I started looking for a job in magazine publishing.  Two months later the publisher I worked with in Kiev advised me to apply to National Geographic for a newly opened position to manage the international licensing operations for NG Traveler magazine .

That’s how my NatGeo career began. My job was to look for local publishers in various countries to launch NG Traveler in local languages.  During 1,5 years of my activity the number of Traveler’s editions in foreign languages has grown from 6 to 15 and I was given more responsibilities specifically to start licensing the “jewel” of National Geographic  - the Yellow Border Flagship Magazine

I am currently managing the licensing and international operations of 39 foreign language editions of the National Geographic Magazine, 17 National Geographic Traveler magazines 18 National Geographic Kids magazines, as well as NG’s the foreign publications of books - both print and digital.


Yulia Petrossian Boyle at a TV-show in Mongolia.
Photo: Yulia Petrossian Boyle’s archive.

In February 2013, Yulia Petrossian Boyle was appointed Vice President, International Magazine Publishing & Business Development of National Geographic. There are 19 people in her team. Her department also deals with designing strategy for and implementing international digital media programs for NGS (web sites and portals of National Geographic, mobile and tablet apps).

In 2012, we launched National Geographic Magazine in 4 countries - Mongolia, Georgia, Latvia and Iran. We have been working more than 5 years to launch the Iranian edition! The launch of the magazine in Iran carried strategic significance for the organization and is considered a huge achievement for us, especially given the tense political relations between US and Iran, as well as the fact that NG is the first and only foreign magazine published in that country. This year we launched National Geographic Magazine in Ukraine, in Ukrainian language. My next goal is Vietnam.

After many years of work in Patker agency, Yulia again began to collaborate with Ruben Mangasaryan. Rouben licensed National Geographic Traveler in Armenia. Unfortunately, only a few editions have been published: it was hard to find market for the magazine in Armenia: distribution system was not mature which lowered chances for high circulation, and subsequently for significant circulation and advertising revenue to finance the magazine publication. Yulia and Ruben were looking for alternative ways of financing but in the very midst of these attempts Ruben passed away…

Eric and I have two kids - Robert, 11 and Nika, 8. Robert is the only member of our family who was born in Yerevan (smiling). The thing is that my mother comes from Moscow and although my parents lived in Yerevan, I was born in Moscow. They brought me to Yerevan only when I was 2 weeks old. Eric now works in a consulting firm working with US Government on various environmental sustainability projects around the globe, primarily in East Africa and Asia. My mother moved to Washington from Yerevan and is in charge of running and managing our household.


Yulia Petrossian Boyle with Moscow collegaues.
Yulia Petrossian Boyle’s archive.


I have very close ties with my motherland and try to follow the developments in Armenia. I miss Armenian a lot, it’s always on my mind and I am constantly drawn there.  Unfortunately. Due to work and family responsibilities cannot visit too often. Although I have very few relatives left in Armenia, I have a lot of close and dear friends and many unforgetable and unique memories. So, in my mind I am always with Armenia.

Ara Tadevosyan talked to Yulia Petrossian Boyle.

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