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How She Got There: Arielle Patrick, Group Manager at Weber Shandwick

Name: Arielle Patrick
Age: 27
Job Title and Description: Group Manager, Weber Shandwick
College Name/Major: Princeton University, Department of Classics, Class of 2012
Twitter Handle: @AkPatrick
Instagram Handle: @AkPatrick1

What does your current job entail? Is there such a thing as a typical day?

I act as a financial communications and investor relations counselor to companies in various sectors, consulting on transactions like mergers and acquisitions, initial public offerings, and bankruptcy. In many cases these special situations are tied to litigation. I also help financial services companies like hedge funds and other asset managers design strategies to raise their profiles through proactive media campaigns.

No one work day is the same…but the one consistent thing I do no matter how early I have to get into the office…is read the latest and greatest in The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times and Barron’s before doing anything or offering advice to any clients.

What’s it like being known as the “Real-Life Olivia Pope”?

Marie Claire was so sweet to compare me to such an amazing fictional character in that article they wrote recently! That said, I must admit that I not only don’t watch Scandal—or any TV for that matter—but the “Real-Life Olivia Pope” is actually not me! Olivia’s character is based on the legendary Judy Smith—a true inspiration for professionals in crisis management.

How do you balance your career and volunteer and charity work?

To use an old idiom: “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” I am the kind of person that needs to stay busy to feel fulfilled, so I execute a lot of my pro bono work after hours or on the weekends. I’ve also learned that using your core skill set in other areas can actually teach you new things that make you better at your day job.

For example, recently I chaired a young patrons gala benefit for the preservation of Yellowstone National Park. On this project, I learned much more about how strategic brand partnerships are born. I was able to secure Anheuser-Busch as one of our party sponsors, by thinking outside the box and “pitching” them on how much they had in common with Yellowstone. I helped them see the synergy between two unlikely organizations: America’s first national park and a 600-year-old brewery—each embodying the spirit of “Americana.” That sealed the deal for them. As a result, they donated Stella Artois to feed my 300 party guests.

That experience was a great lesson that will definitely help me as I seek to build strategic partnerships for my finance clients.

What is the best part of your job?

I must say, my team. I have a boss who trusts me to the core and encourages me to improve every day. Many times, I learn from the junior team members that I manage. I also strongly believe in what our broader team is trying to achieve. Our mission statement brings me to the office with bells on every day.

What is one thing you wish you knew about your industry when you first started out that you know now? 

I wish I knew how important it is to manage expectations with friends and family members about your schedule! I think by now they’ve gotten the point, but in many cases I’m late to things like dinner dates and birthday parties because my hours at the office can be very unpredictable. At the end of the day, the client comes first.

What is one mistake you made along the way and what did you learn from it?

In my very first client meeting, I hadn’t read the paper that morning (it was at 7:00 a.m. but that’s never an excuse). I made the mistake of recommending a client engage with a journalist on a topic they had already written about that very day. No matter what industry you work in—always read the news!

What advice would you give to a 20-something with similar aspirations?

While you’re in college: intern, intern, intern. Internships are essentially free passes at trying something new without any repercussions for your career. If you don’t like something…on to the next one!

If you’re already out of school, send cold emails to people you admire asking for educational phone calls or meetings. Make them your mentors. You can thank me later. 

 

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Follow Allison on Twitter @AllisonMCrist.
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