Arielle Patrick ’12 thought she wanted to become a journalist. But inching towards graduation, print media was declining and Occupy Wall Street started. Financial institutions and big companies became exceedingly cautious of their reputations, and Patrick saw a chance to take up a new challenge in public relations.
“I would say it’s a story of good timing more than anything,” said Patrick, who had her first internship in corporate PR at Edelman. She returned there in November 2017 after working at Weber Shandwick for five and a half years.
Patrick’s role as senior vice president of financial communications and capital markets resembles a consulting job more than it does one in publicity. She works closely with legal teams, financial advisory firms, boards of directors, and CEOs to consult companies on “what they should say to who, when, and in what way” about financial situations. These scenarios often include mergers and acquisitions, bankruptcy, restructuring, or shareholder activism. She drafts communications materials like speeches, letters, SEC filings, and press releases that target multiple stakeholders (such as media, investors, employees, customers, and others) to help businesses maintain trust and protect their bottom line.
Patrick said she was surprised by how much writing was involved in the job, and she’s pleased to be writing almost as much as she would as a journalist. And now, journalists want to write about her: In the past couple years, Patrick has been featured in the Marie Claire article, “How to Avoid Career Burnout, According to the Real-Life Olivia Pope,” and more recently a profile in Forbes. But being the media attention can be strange, she says.
“People assume because I’m in this profession that I’m pitching myself, but that’s actually not the case at all,” Patrick said.
Patrick enjoys talking about her career experiences to offer advice to other women. “There’s no shortage of journalists who want to talk to women who are doing interesting things or prioritizing their careers above anything else when they’re younger,” she said. “The more women can share their stories, the more others will be unafraid to pursue climbing the ladder.”
Outside of her work at Edelman, Patrick serves on the boards of a number of nonprofits. Growing up, her parents were always as involved in the community as they were their own jobs.
Patrick remembers that as a 4-year-old, she led the charge to collect donations for a little girl’s family at church whose house had burned down. Now, she’s on the board of Yellowstone Forever (formerly the Yellowstone Park Foundation) and the leadership council for Special Olympics of New York, and she chairs the young members board for the New York chapter of the National Audubon Society. She’s also the fundraising chair of the alumni board of the Princeton Tigerlilies a cappella group.
Charity work has become a way for Patrick to engage her social circles and combine work passions with outside leadership opportunities. She likes to bring corporate expertise to these organizations, and says a lot of the strategic guidance she gives to clients at Edelman is useful for the nonprofit world.