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Patricia Steele

Patricia Steele

Introduce yourself to our audience. Tell us who you are and what you are currently focused on.

I'm the Vice President of Communications at Dress for Success Worldwide. My job is to help expand awareness of the incredible work this global non-profit has been accomplishing for over 20 years in 150 cities in over 30 countries. I help develop campaigns, cultivate Impact Ambassadors, create multi-platform content, and support fund raising while working alongside remarkable and awe inspiring people daily.

We do some much more than just "provide the dress"; we have helped over one million women become economically independent through a network of support and professional tools and services to help them thrive.

Tell us about your favorite Ellevate Network memory or success story. Why are you a member?

I find that the mission of Ellevate is similar to that of Dress for Success. Women prosper and grow when they have commonality and join together in networks and groups. They help themselves and each other, it's as simple as that. I'm a new member of Ellevate but I am already enjoying the luncheon discussion groups-- the topics are always timely and interesting.

We’d love to hear more about your career path. What led you to where you are today?

My first job was to promote esoteric world music and underground hip-hop. I worked for an indie French label and it was a wild time, in New York, in the music scene and at my job. I learned how to do things and how NOT to do things. I then worked for Rolling Stone Magazine, Atari and eventually big companies like Sony Music, NBC, and Conde Nast, each one more "corporate" than the next. I never forgot my roots and how much I liked to roll up my sleeves and bypass bureaucracy.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

I work with really smart, dedicated women (and some men) who are very committed to our mission. Our CEO Joi Gordon has run Dress for Success for over 20 years. Our COO Wendy Longwood is brilliant and I respect them. I also get to meet and often spend time with amazing people everyday, our clients, our incredible staff, our volunteers, our donors, and our sponsors,. Everyone who is connected to us are wonderful and oddly enough all seem to have a sense of humor.

What legacy do you hope to leave through your work?

The same legacy I hope to bring to every job I have had -- to leave it a just little bit better than when I started.

What is it about your job that makes you feel it’s the right fit for you?

I am 100% behind the mission and the vision. I believe in our future. I am passionate about women's economic freedom globally. I believe that there is work for us to do in terms of our own messaging, we need to serve more women and we need more support. I have the energy to do this work.

Who are your role models?

MFK Fisher, Lee Miller, Muhammed Ali

Is work-life balance a problem for you? What is one no-fail tactic you use to create balance?

There is no such thing as balance. If you try to be perfect, you'll topple.

What is the best career advice you ever received?

My French boss told me never to take a job that would bore me and I never have. (Well maybe once or twice, but it didn't last long.)

What is one piece of advice you’d offer working moms?

All the cliches are true. They grow up faster than you think. In other words, no advice given but always keep this in mind when you're on the fence.


Have more questions? Follow up with the expert herself.

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