“She Says” with Pat Arnold

Women Employed
She Says

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Pat Arnold will tell you that her secret power is her passion for writing. And at her core, she finds joy in supporting organizations that set out to make a difference in the lives of others. So, it’s no surprise that attending Women Employed’s (WE) signature event, The Working Lunch (TWL), in 2013 would have such a profound impact on her, leading Pat to lend her time and talents to WE in a number of ways. From serving on the Adult College Success Council (which has since been merged into the Advocacy Council) and the Marketing Council, to using her years of media and public relations expertise to offer media training to staff, Pat has been a consistent supporter of Women Employed’s work for eleven years. Even returning to our annual fundraiser, where her spirit is renewed each year by the testimonials shared by women who have benefitted from and been impacted by our work.

In this month’s “She Says,” long-time Women Employed supporter and friend, Pat Arnold, shares why she’s a supporter of WE’s mission, how WE has impressed her over the years, and the importance of going ALL IN.

Tell me about yourself.

I’ve been in so many careers over my lifetime, which is why I’m really attracted to Women Employed. My first real job was as a long-distance operator with Illinois Bell. Then, I was a reservation and ticket agent for an airline that no longer exists. I also spent some time as an English teacher and student newspaper advisor, which opened my eyes to journalism and led to my obtaining a graduate degree in broadcast journalism. From there, I became a TV news reporter and later, a show producer.

I left television news to go into entrepreneurship, doing corporate video production for a time, and segued into public and media relations consulting for corporations, government agencies, the military, you name it. Later, I returned to education, but at the collegiate level, teaching journalism and public relations. Present day, I do public and media relations consulting for nonprofit organizations exclusively and call it my “joyful work.” I’ve done and learned so much over the years and bringing that very broad skill set to nonprofit organizations is just a joy, and I love doing it.

What are some of the key skill sets that you’ve taken from one career to the next and how has it shaped where you are currently?

Always writing. It’s not just a skill set, it’s a passion. I also forgot to mention that I am an author.

When I teach English, I teach writing as a survival skill. I think it is the foundation of everything, and certainly the foundation of everything I do. And it has served many of my clients very well. If you can craft great messages quickly, then you’re golden. So that is my secret power.

Let’s talk a little bit about your relationship with Women Employed. When were you first introduced to the organization?

Back in 2013, a friend of mine who happened to be on the Marketing Council invited me to The Working Lunch (TWL). I signed up for your mailing list and received an email from Judy Miyashita (WE’s Director of Marketing and Communications) about joining the Marketing Council. I am a “volunteer-aholic” and love serving other people and have been involved with Women Employed ever since.

What was it about Women Employed that made you want to learn more about the organization and support it?

The Working Lunch always includes impact testimonials. And as somebody who’s been in a number of workplaces, when you listen to women who have overcome any number of challenges in the workplace, it’s inspiring. It makes you want to support the organization that supports them. That’s really where I where I fall. I am renewed every year when I hear these stories because Women Employed consistently makes a difference in the lives of working women and I love that.

Do you, in any way, identify with Women Employed’s mission?

Absolutely. I was once a part of the Adult College Success Council (which has now become part of the Advocacy Council) which worked with young women and education. But what really attracted me to Women Employed was how the organization tackles inequities from so many angles, and I just wanted to be a part of that. I want to put my shoulder to the wheel.

We are currently gearing up for our signature event, The Working Lunch (TWL), and anticipate some new attendees will be learning about Women Employed for the first time, just as you did back in 2013. Why would you tell someone attending TWL to support WE?

If you have set foot in a workplace and have been as lucky as I have not to run into discrimination, harassment, or any adverse conditions, then I believe you owe it to everyone else to support the experience that you’ve had. You want everybody else to have the experience that you would have had. If you have worked in a workplace, where you have faced discrimination, harassment, and adverse conditions, then you want to join forces with Women Employed to combat those conditions for other women.

I’ve been very, very lucky. All the workplaces I’ve been in were safe. Even when I went into television and was part of a union, it made no difference whether you were male or female, Black or white, you got the same salary. Everything was equitable, and I want others to have that experience. I want people to just be able to get up in the morning, go to work, do what they’ve got to do, come back home, and relax. We should all be able to do that. We should be able to go to work and give our best, give our all without any nonsense.

In the now 11 years, that you have been a supporter of Women Employed what are some things that we’ve done that you’ve been particularly proud of?

I think it’s mostly the legislative successes. They have a permanence that will impact women for years to come. But to tell you the truth, what has most impressed me about Women Employed are the women at Women Employed. What I have noticed over the years, and it has not changed even when leadership has changed, is the passion that the staff brings to this work. That is inspiring to me. It doesn’t seem to me that the staff considers this to be a job. It’s a mission. It’s a passion. And it shows in the results. And the results have been consistent for the last 50 years.

This year, our theme is going ALL IN. How are you going ALL IN?

Going ALL IN is what I do. And anyone who knows me will tell you that. It has a history. I grew up in the civil rights era. When equality was, I can’t even call it a dream, it was maybe closer to a fantasy. And my mother drilled into us that we were going to have to outperform everybody in the room in order to be in the room. And so going ALL IN is not just a practice. It’s a lifestyle. It has become part of me.

I tell young people, particularly people of color, to get to the top of your game. Stay at the top of your game. Because at minimum, you’ve got their ear. They might not respect you, but they’ll listen. You have credibility. Do your homework. Go ALL IN. As women and people of color, we cannot afford to half-step. So, we must go ALL IN. It’s not an option.

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Join Pat Arnold by going ALL IN with Women Employed at our annual fundraiser, The Working Lunch (TWL), on May 23rd. Hailed as one of Chicago’s most anticipated springtime events, TWL is attended by nearly 1,000 activists, community partners, and prominent leaders in philanthropy, business, media, and politics. Tables and tickets are selling fast, and proceeds from the event pave the way for us to continue our mission of improving the economic status for women and removing barriers to economic equity. Click here to reserve your seats today and go ALL IN with WE.

AND, if you have a background in communications, media relations, marketing, event planning, digital strategy, or brand implementation, we invite you to join our Marketing Council. To learn more, email WE’s Director of Marketing and Communications, Judy Miyashita at jmiyashita@womenemployed.org, or visit https://womenemployed.org/volunteer/ to fill out our volunteer form.

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Women Employed
She Says

WE relentlessly pursue equity for women in the workforce by effecting policy change, expanding access to education, & advocating for fair, inclusive workplaces.