Oct 13, 2022 - Axios Events

Communicator spotlight: Arielle Patrick, CCO Ariel Investments

Photo Illustration of Arielle Patrick with overlapping shapes

Photo Illustration: Natalie Peeples/Axios. Photo: Courtesy of Arielle Patrick

Arielle Patrick is one of the youngest C-suite executives on Wall Street, overseeing communications for Ariel Investments — the first African American-owned mutual fund manager in the U.S.

Flashback: Patrick initially planned to become a journalist, like her father.

  • But during a summer internship at Harper's Bazaar, she noticed that Occupy Wall Street and the financial crisis were pushing big banks to hire communication firms to protect their reputations. The next summer, she started working for one of those firms.

📍How she got here: After graduating from Princeton in 2012, Patrick took a job with Weber Shandwick and later co-created a new practice focused on transaction work like deals, bankruptcies and IPOs.

  • From there, Patrick was recruited by Edelman to serve as executive vice president and transaction director.
  • A few years later, she got a call from Ariel Investments' co-CEO, Mellody Hobson, who was interested in expanding the firm's reach. "When Mellody calls, you answer!" she told Axios.

🪜How it's structured: One of Patrick's first duties as CCO was to restructure how Ariel Investments approached communications.

  • She united talent from across the firm into one communications function to oversee media relations, government affairs, philanthropy, marketing, internal, corporate and executive communications, branding and creative.

📈 Trend spot: "Communicators are fixated on the corporate Achilles' heel — diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging," says Patrick.

  • Yes, but: Communications around diversity must be action driven. "At Ariel, we measure practices across the 'three Ps': people, purchasing and philanthropy."
  • "If you’re drafting a client letter or press release about your diversity prowess and these 'three Ps' haven’t been checked — go back to the drawing board," says Patrick.

👟 De-stress routine: Early morning workouts with Iconoclast founder Ngo Okafor.

📱Most used app: Outlook.

🚨 News alert: "Anything Andrew Ross Sorkin tells me is important in his DealBook newsletter."

📺 Watching: "I’m not so patiently waiting for "Ted Lasso" to come back."

🌅 Morning ritual: Patrick wakes up at 5am to hit the gym. She feeds her 4-month-old baby around 6, and by 8 she's ready for the workday.

🧠 Best advice: "Always be the most prepared. That’s equally as important as being the smartest. Read everything ... don’t try to wing it."

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