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Conversations with the Inspiring Debbie Pattillo

Today we’d like to introduce you to Debbie Pattillo.

Debbie has committed her professional career spanning over 35 years to bridging community leaders, business influencers and key organizations to each other to create impact. Armed with keen people skills and a plethora of critical relationships, she is one of the most effective and sought after marketing executives in the region. She has a unique ability to connect influential civic and community leaders to develop and maintain key relationships that strategically build valuable partnerships.

A one-time summer job led to a prolific professional career with American Airlines. Starting as a Reservations Agent, her tenacity, creativity and savvy management style resulted in a series of promotions leading to her most recent post, overseeing diversity marketing initiatives for Southern California. Known for her infectious energy and successful track record, Debbie was an invaluable leader of American’s Western Division Marketing team until her departure in June 2014.

Over the course of her career, Debbie designed and led inspiring community and social impact campaigns while simultaneously driving prominent exposure for American Airlines throughout Los Angeles and the United States. She has worked extensively with institutions such as the National Urban League, United Negro College Fund, U.S. Japan Council, U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Los Angeles Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Los Angeles Marathon, the Tournament of Roses, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, and the California African American Museum to promote corporate citizenship.

A proud Trojan, USC honored her with the Black Alumni Association Corporate Vanguard Award in 2004. Among her many hours, Pattillo received the Women Who Dared Award from California Black Women’s Health Project and the “Angel” Award from St. Anne’s as a tribute to her continued commitment to the organization. Debbie’s community involvement has included serving on the boards of the following organizations: St. Anne’s, Magic Johnson Foundation, the Los Angeles area United Negro College Fund and the Los Angeles Urban League.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Follow your passion, it will never lead you astray. Had you told me back in the summer of 1984 that my summer job post graduating from USC at American Airlines would turn into a career, I wouldn’t have believed you. I just thought it would be fun — I enjoyed traveling and I enjoyed people, but honestly, I just thought it would be fun. But they saw something in me and presented me with opportunities to grow while nurturing my skills and my passion for helping others.

My biggest advice to young women is to find your passion, follow it. Feel it. Become it. Surround yourself with people who see you and support you in achieving your dreams. I can’t stress the importance of networking, it is so important. You have to build relationships — you can’t just call people when you need something. Build your community of support, go have a cup of coffee, but don’t let the focus be on the end result. You have to engage first and build equity — 80% about the other person, 20% about you. Make it about the relationship and your genuine curiosity about the other person. I always tell all of my nieces and nephews, people help people.

What should we know about DP Consulting Group? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
DP Consulting Group, LLC specializes in bridging civic, community and corporations to build impactful multicultural partnerships and overall board development to create diversity. We provide guidance and tools to develop meaningful connections and build strategic and tactical alliances with multicultural organizations and individuals across various segments — black, brown, Asian, LGBTQ.

We appropriately position organizations and key executives for Board of Directors positions to be representative of the multicultural communities that they serve.

DP Consulting Group, LLC also provides counsel for Corporate Giving, Communications, Corporate Citizenship, Diversity Planning, Government Affairs to reach the multicultural demographic.

For good reason, society often focuses more on the problems rather than the opportunities that exist, because the problems need to be solved. However, we’d probably also benefit from looking for and recognizing the opportunities that women are better positioned to capitalize on. Have you discovered such opportunities?
If you can see it, you can do it, and I really believe that. It’s important for women to support other women. Mentorship is key and can change the trajectory of a career, and also life. There is such a power in women sticking together and rising together.

The landscape is competitive and odds are not in our favor, but success can be achieved. And, this is where that passion comes into play. Let it serve as the fuel for your journey. If you want it badly enough, nothing can stop you. It’s important for women to be courageous, disciplined, focused and prepared. This way, when that opportunity presents itself, you are ready to step up to the plate and seize that moment.

Image Credit:

Silvia Mautner

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