The School of Communication, Film, and Media is excited to announce the formation of our inaugural Professional Advisory Board (PAB). The PAB is a diverse group of leading communication, film, and media professionals committed to supporting and realizing the School’s vision and goals. Our PAB members are established industry leaders who work closely with senior administration to guide, advise, and facilitate positive change in the School’s curriculum, experiential learning opportunities, and partnership activities so students graduate with portfolios that showcase their professional knowledge and skills, giving them a competitive edge in the industry. The board meets twice a year and is designed to forge a closer collaboration between industry leaders and education by continually improving the preparation for students in SCFM. Read more about the members by clicking on their bios below.

Meet the Professional Advisory Board of the School of Communications, Film, and Media



Jose Avila-Kelly '05

Technical Operations Manager, CNN

Jose Avila-Kelly headshotJose Avila-Kelly has spent eleven years with CNN, currently in the role of Technical Operations Manager. He started off as a camera operator in the studios where he did jib, robo, and video for shows such as MXP with Robin Meade, CNN Newsroom with Don Lemon, and IDESK. After a year and half, Jose was promoted to S.W.A.T. where he became a steadicam operator and was expected to cover any show at anytime. The 2020 presidential election was his third presidential election with CNN. A native of Brownsville, TX, Jose has two degrees with the University of West Georgia, Mass Communications (2005) and Management (2007).

Autumn Bailey-Ford

CEO & Film Producer, Autumn Bailey Entertainment LLC

Autumn Bailey-Ford headshotAutumn Bailey-Ford is a passionate, seasoned producer of film and television.  The Pennsylvania native has a knack and specialty for independent film production and distribution and in 2018, produced the award-winning documentary Maynard about the civil rights icon Maynard Jackson.  Several of her films have won numerous awards and acclaim, some include Mine 9, and Trading Paint, starring John Travolta and Shania Twain.  Her serious commitment to high quality entertainment makes her one of today’s most sought-after indie producers.  She is the founder of Autumn Bailey Entertainment (ABE), one of the few women-owned production companies in the south east region.   She has a knack for finding amazing projects and taking them from script to screen or book to screen. It is a mission of ABE to help artists realize their creative dreams.  She has optioned several projects and currently has three shows in studio development. 

Recently, she has expanded her brand to include a west coast division and co-founded Prominent Productions with Cameron Burnett, son of Hollywood producer Mark Burnett.   Under the helm of ABE and Prominent, Mrs. Bailey-Ford has over 30 films under her belt and six projects being produced in 2020.   With Prominent’s goal to tell diverse stories that impact change, Mrs. Bailey- Ford saw it necessary to step into international waters and in 2019, she produced her first international film, shot entirely in Tanzania, Africa.

Mrs. Bailey-Ford has a passion for giving back and connecting individuals from various cultures to achieve their goals in entertainment.  She turned her passion into a reality when she founded  Get connected, an Atlanta monthly industry mixer that, for a decade, was one Atlanta’s largest networking opportunities for entertainment newcomers and seasoned professionals.  In addition to this, Mrs. Bailey- Ford also founded the Georgia Entertainment Gala in 2013, attracting over 1800 people to the City of Atlanta annually to celebrate Georgia’s talent in film and television.  This gala, is supported by the city of Atlanta, community and corporate leaders and major national corporations.  Her commitment to community service has led Autumn to be a member of the Producer Guild of America, Women in Film LA and Atlanta, Black women in film and Reel divas.  She is currently a board member for the Atlanta film festival and a past board member of the New York Latino Film Festival.   Mrs. Bailey-Ford is the recipient of numerous awards, including The Malibu Film Festival Producer award, Atlanta’s Who’s Who, PVIFF Rising Star Producer Award and Upscale Magazine’s Top 25 Entertainment Industry People.  Through hard work, faith, dedication and doing good business, Mrs. Bailey-Ford is certain to continue breaking through barriers with indie-film communities across the United States and abroad. 

Autumn credits many of accomplishments to her mentor, industry mogul, Devon Franklin who taught her how to navigate business and positively deal with the ebb and flow of this ever-changing industry.  Her advice to young aspiring producers and professionals “Work hard, uplift others and show people that if they believe they can achieve anything they set their minds to.”

Darryl Forges '14

News AnchorWDSU TV - New Orleans

Darryl Forges '14 headshotDarryl Forges is the morning anchor for WDSU News Today. Before coming to New Orleans, Darryl was most recently a National Correspondent for CNN Newsource, CNN's network of more than 1,000 affiliates. 

While at CNN Darryl has traveled across the country, covering numerous stories including The White House for both the Biden and Trump Administrations, the 2020 Election, California Wildfires, the tragic death of Kobe Bryant, George Floyd Protests in Minneapolis, Minnesota, The Ahmaud Arbery Case, The Annual New Year’s Eve Ball Drop in New York, and other major national stories.

Before joining CNN, Forges was a reporter for NBC 6 WTVJ in Miami, Florida. While there, he covered the 2016 election campaigns, several hurricanes and breaking news stories, including the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting tragedy and the Florida International University bridge collapse. He also co-founded, produced and hosted a weekly segment called 'The NBC 6 Breakdown,' which focused on topics affecting millennials.

Prior to NBC 6, Forges was a reporter for WAKA/WNCF in Montgomery, Alabama, where he won several awards for his reporting from the Associated Press and the Alabama Broadcasters Association.

Overall, Darryl has obtained several awards, including South Florida's 30 Under 30 Future Black Leaders of Tomorrow, an EMMY Nomination, the Edward R. Murrow Award, The University of West Georgia's Thriving Under 30, and recently the UWG 2022 Spotlight Award, which is awarded to young West Georgia Alum who has brought credit to the University in a relatively short period of time.

Darryl is a proud graduate of the University of West Georgia, and takes pride in mentoring future journalists, giving back to the community.

Sonji Jacobs

VP Corporate Communicaton & Public Affairs, Cox Enterprises

Sonji JacobsSonji Jacobs is Vice President, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs at Cox Enterprises, a broadband and automotive solutions company based in Atlanta with annual revenues of $22 billion and 45,000 global employees. She leads a team of communications professionals charged with internal and external content development, media relations, enhancing Cox’s reputation as an employer and investor of choice, supporting the company’s C-suite leaders on messaging and issues management, and building corporate culture.

Prior to joining Cox, she served as Director of Communications for the City of Atlanta. Sonji was a key cabinet advisor on policy development, often with state and White House officials, and drove the mayor’s communications agenda, including local and high-profile national media appearances. As Vice President, Crisis, Issues Management and Public Affairs at Edelman, she helped private companies and nonprofits navigate reputational risks, legal challenges, accidents and employee labor issues.

For a decade, she was a newspaper reporter, combining her passions for writing and storytelling with public policy and social issues. As a political reporter for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Sonji covered the state’s most controversial legislative battles and elections. At The Miami Herald, she reported on education, state and local politics, and human-interest stories. She began her career in marketing and advertising at the Leo Burnett Company in Chicago.

A native New Yorker, Sonji earned her Bachelor of Arts cum laude in History and Literature from Harvard University, a Master of Science in Journalism from Columbia University, and her MBA from Goizueta Business School at Emory University. Sonji serves as the chair of the North Carolina Outward Bound School board of directors and is a vice chair of the Zoo Atlanta board of directors. She is also a member of the Hope Atlanta Advisory Council. In her spare time, Sonji enjoys traveling, hiking, and reading.

Amanda Lucey '06

CEO & Owner, The Partnership

Amanda Lucey headshot '06Amanda Lucey has been a communications leader, providing strategic public relations, branding and corporate communications for over 20 years. She’s the CEO of The Partnership, Atlanta’s oldest privately held agency, and an accomplished entrepreneur, having first founded Moxie Media and Marketing in 2012 (DBA M3 Effect).

The company grew tremendously within its first five years, doubling growth in 2017. In an effort to accelerate growth in 2018, Amanda acquired The Partnership in 2018. Her goal? To make The Partnership one of the fastest-growing female-owned agencies in the Southeast and a top-10 advertising agency in Atlanta and Southwest Florida. Her passion is to engage and empower her team to produce the best possible product – work that makes an impact and drives results.

She has held executive roles in both the U.K. and U.S. governments, as well as the Southeast United Dairy Industry Association. She was the Vice Consul, Head of Political, Press and Public Affairs for the British Consulate General, in which she managed all media relations strategies and delivered the UK’s policy and public diplomacy priorities. She also served as a media correspondent and director of communications for the U.S. government and has extensive public affairs experience. Prior to working in D.C., Amanda worked for the Georgia General Assembly House of Representatives.

Amanda is an accomplished public speaker, business owner and volunteer. Her motto: be hungry, keep hustling, and stay humble.

Amy Parrish

CEO & Managing Partner, Rhythm Communications

Amy ParrishAmy Woodward Parrish is the CMO and Founder of Rhythm Communications. 

Rhythm is a 20 year-old PR and Marketing Communications firm.  Rhythm offers traditional Public Relations, Digital Marketing, Event Management, Marketing Collateral and Advertising, Social Media and more. 

Before this role, she was Agency Managing Partner of CO&P Integrated Marketing and CEO of Glue Communications. Parrish has worked on both sides of the press release as she was also a former NBC news journalist. She is involved in her community through membership on the Foundation Board of Tanner Health System, the Board of Rapha Clinic of West GA, marketing director for Annual Sound of Medicine fundraiser, First Baptist Church Bremen co-teacher of couples' Sunday School, Board member of the GA Chamber, and donor for an annual band scholarship. She earned her bachelor's degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Georgia. Rhythm Communications has received Top PR Agencies for 2022, 2021 and 2020 and received Top Reputation Management Provider for the Southeast.

Rachael Raney

Publisher, Newspapers of West Georgia

Rachael Raney headshotRachael Raney is the regional publisher of the Newspapers of West Georgia, which publishes eight community newspapers in Georgia: Times-Georgian, Haralson County Gateway-Beacon, Villa Rican, Douglas County Sentinel, Griffin Daily News, Cartersville Daily Tribune, North Bartow News and Chatsworth Times and an award-winning magazine West Georgia Living. Raney currently serves on the board of directors for Georgia Press Association and on the marketing and better newspapers awards committees. She has extensive experience in sales strategies and successful in innovative business strategies in several markets. She and her husband, Greg, live in Carrollton, Ga., and have 2 children and 2 grandchildren.

Shavonne Reed '01

CEO & Founder, OPUA Agency

Shavonne Reed '05 headshotShavonne Reed is a world traveled marketing and communications executive, author, and keynote speaker. She has been instrumental in designing successful global product launches, employee wellness and engagement programs, and executing million-dollar marketing and advertising budgets. She is a multi-talented leader with a passion for advancing economic prosperity for all. Shavonne is the ‘21 Dunwoody Perimeter Chamber Chair and she runs a marketing firm that specializes in health communications for multi-cultural audiences and support mobilizing communities for positive behavioral change to improve the health of all communities. She is one savvy entrepreneur, and she lights up the room and spreads happiness everywhere she goes.

One of her most exciting adventures includes an eight-day trip to Cuba. She studied mass communications at the University of West Georgia, completed post bachelor studies in marketing at Georgia State, and received her MBA from Georgia Southern University.

She is a native of Atlanta (A Grady Baby). She and her husband of 20 years have two teen daughters Lauren & London. She strives to empower others to lead productive, happy, and healthy lives.