Corporate Communications Executives. They play a critical role in nearly every aspect of a media company’s day-to-day operations and brand building. Whether it’s advertising, programming, investor relations, business development or legal affairs – these execs and their teams are the eyes and ears of audiences and stakeholders.
This panel brings together top corporate communications executives to discuss what it takes to run a successful communications department today. They’ll reveal their strategies for determining how audiences consume messages, how they deal with the rise of social media, what it takes to work with the press and handle a media crisis, and how they manage to stay on the cutting edge of the cultural zeitgeist.
Ellen East is Executive Vice President and Chief Communications Officer for Time Warner Cable, Inc., where she provides strategic counsel and oversees a nationwide staff responsible for media relations, issues management, product communication, financial and public policy communication, employee and leadership communication, community relations and corporate social responsibility. She joined Time Warner Cable in October 2007 from Cox Communications, where she served as Vice President, Communications and Public Affairs. Prior to that, East was Assistant City Editor for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and a reporter and editor at a number of daily newspapers. She has been the recipient of many industry awards, including the 2002 Vanguard Award for Young Leadership and the 2013 Vanguard Award for Community and Government Relations from the National Cable Telecommunications Association, and has been honored as a “Woman to Watch” and a “Wonder Woman” by Women in Cable Telecommunications.
Jennifer Geisser, Senior Vice President, Communications for Bravo and Oxygen Media, oversees communications strategies for both networks, shaping coverage for all programming, digital and marketing initiatives and serving as their chief PR spokesperson. Prior to joining Bravo, Geisser was Senior Vice President, Communications for Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movie Channel where she developed and executed public relations campaigns targeting both trade and consumer media. She oversaw communications for the network's ad sales, marketing, distribution and programming divisions. Additionally, Geisser held the role of Senior Vice President of Communications for Court TV, where she spearheaded publicity efforts for trade, business and consumer press, and played a key role in extending the brand's attributes. She oversaw talent relations, special events and publicity efforts for original and acquired programming, as well as daytime trial coverage. In addition, Geisser has also held positions with WEtv, AMC, CBS Television and Dan Klores & Associates.
Ellen Kroner, Executive Vice President and Chief Communications Officer for AMC Networks Inc., oversees media and industry relations, public relations, corporate branding and marketing, and public affairs for AMC and each of its entertainment businesses - AMC, IFC, SundanceTV, WE tv and IFC Films - as well as communications for the company’s international programming businesses. Since 2005, Kroner has oversight of corporate communications, media relations, network publicity, corporate reputation management and strategic business communications. Previously, Kroner held a variety of positions at AMC Networks, including Vice President of Public Relations for AMC, IFC and WEtv. Before joining AMC in 1998, Kroner was SVP of Corporate Communications at ICM. Prior to that, she held executive positions at Sony Pictures Entertainment; Rogers & Cowan, the entertainment industry’s largest publicity firm; and Seiniger Advertising, a major creator of print and audio-visual advertising campaigns for the film industry. Kroner was named PR Executive of the Year by CableFAX and a CableFAX Most Powerful Women in Cable.
Maryanne B. Rainone, SVP/Managing Director at Heyman Associates, specializes in corporate communications, media relations, investor relations, speechwriting and public affairs executive searches for blue-chip companies, many of which are in the Fortune 100. Her clients include financial and professional services, technology, media and conglomerates. She handles searches and also acts as chief operating officer for Heyman Associates, overseeing their new business development, staff oversight, and research and technology initiatives. In addition, she develops competitive studies and analyses for clients. She is a regular speaker with industry and membership groups and is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). She was featured in the book 201 Great Ideas for Your Small Business and acts as editor for her firm’s e-newsletter, Positioning. Before joining Heyman Associates, Rainone served 11 years with what was then Chase Manhattan Bank, where she managed large teams in customer service and loan servicing. Prior to that, she worked in public relations at United Cerebral Palsy.
Robyn Watson (Moderator) is President of Watson Media Ventures, a strategic consulting firm for film and television production. Previously, she was the Director of Corporate Communications and Engagement at Time Warner Cable where she was responsible for creating strategic communications initiatives that drove business and supported the development of a high-performing and culturally dynamic workforce. In addition to being a board member of New York Women In Film & Television, she sits on the boards for Entertainers for Educations Alliance (E4EA), an entertainment industry nonprofit that uses athletes, musicians and high-profile individuals to promote higher learning and personal achievement among urban youth. She also is on the advisory boards for the Harlem YMCA and Common Sense Media.
Produced by Robyn Watson and Simone Pero