Pattie Yu, Principal

Her Story

She was a night owl by default – juggling a 1 am shift at a daily newspaper in Southeast DC, going to school when dawn broke; and sleeping when the normal world was at work. After studying journalism at the University of Maryland and interning at Redbook Magazine, Pattie returned to College Park to earn a master’s degree in organizational communications. She paid her way by working fulltime at University Relations. Clients were departments, faculty who published groundbreaking research, special events and sometimes campus crisis that captured media attention. Not a far cry from life at a PR agency.

Enter “Professor” Bill Novelli, who taught social marketing when social marketing wasn’t cool, and soon recruited her to Porter/Novelli for NIH’s National High Blood Pressure and Cholesterol Education Programs, considered the models in social marketing. Over the next 10 years, she helped build the case for blood donations, make calcium counts, promoted solar energy, rallied around recycling. After a successful run in health and social marketing, she was asked to build the travel and tourism practice, getting outstanding minority students to ride the rails for the Bryant Gumbel Golf Tourney for the United Negro College Fund, unveil the grand re-opening of Union Station in D.C. and Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station. And, did you know, she had a fear of flying.

As the firm’s youngest vice president, Pattie became known as a matchmaker, professionally and personally, building sometimes unlikely alliances for advocacy and education (and even marriage). Later, she spearheaded multicultural projects, corporate wide training, and the intern program. Clients used to say (affectionately) that she exhausted them but that energy is what they valued to help drive others to believe deeply in their message.

After chance run-ins with the then-number one ranked PR agency during business pitches, she was lured to Fleishman-Hillard where she built its social marketing/health and association practices and soon became partner.

The Yu Crew is a new (ad)venture, after 13 years of having proudly helped build GYMR Public Relations to a top 10 independent health-focused agency.

Her work, individually or as part of a team, has been honored by awards from industry trades, associations and nonprofits. She was nominated by an agency General Manager as one of the nation’s minority leaders in PR and by a mentee for Washington Women in Public Relations’ Woman of the Year.

What really makes her passionate though about this business? Clients who are bringing forth transformational change to make this world a better place and that next generation of young professionals she has the privilege of mentoring.

In many ways, her story is just beginning.