Alumni Merit Award: Patricia Solis Doyle (C90)
The 2008 presidential race was one of the most historic campaigns in United States history—and not only for the election of the first African American president. In the words of Hillary Clinton, voters across the country also put 18 million cracks in the glass ceiling.
And Patti Solis Doyle was there helping Clinton chip away.
“I was part of history,” Solis Doyle says. “I believe Hillary inspired women around the world, and I am proud to have been even a small part of that.”
By calling her role “a small part,” Solis Doyle is clearly being modest. She was, in fact, the campaign manger for the first viable female presidential candidate in American history. Shortly after Clinton conceded, she went to work for the campaign of Barack Obama, contributing to his sweeping victory that November.
A political organizer and strategist, Solis Doyle is a partner at the Washington, DC, firm Utrecht & Phillips and is president of the political communication and consulting company Solis Strategies.
Solis Doyle says lessons learned at Northwestern helped her succeed in politics—especially the value of a strong work ethic. Like many students in the School of Continuing Studies, she worked during the day and attended classes at night.
“Having a full-time job and going to school at night not only gave me a tremendous sense of accomplishment, but also taught me to value my degree more,” she says. “I brought that sense of hard work and perseverance to both my personal and professional life.”
After earning a degree in communication, Solis Doyle began her career in politics working on the Chicago mayoral campaign of Richard M. Daley. She then joined Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign and, after his victory, she was the first person hired to work for Hillary Clinton. She served as White House director of scheduling and advance for the First Lady from 1993 to 2001.
Solis Doyle served as chief of staff for Hillary Clinton’s successful 2000 senate campaign in New York. In 2001 she founded and proceeded to run Clinton’s political action committee, HILLPAC.
In recognition of her achievements, Solis Doyle received a 2007 Latinas of Excellence Award from Hispanic Magazine, a Siempre Inspiran award from Siempre Mujer magazine, and a place on Hispanic Business Magazine’s 100 Most Influential Hispanics list.
Solis Doyle lives in Washington, DC, with her husband, Jim Doyle. They have two children.