A twelve-year veteran of one of the most iconic fashion brands, Liz Paley is senior vice president of brand and business development at Ralph Lauren Corporation. Prior to her current post, Paley helped build the company’s in-house ad agency and oversaw wholesale marketing, endeavors that drew on the first fourteen years of her career in advertising/marketing with NYC-based firms such as Grey Advertising and Ammirati Puris Lintas. “Part of what has made this an interesting and exciting place for me is the ability to stay within a company and working with a brand portfolio that I love and respect, but to have my role and responsibility and experience change over time so I’m always learning something new,” she says.
Both as a Ralph Lauren executive and as a UVM alumna, helping others launch and develop their careers has long been a passion for Paley. Soon after graduation, she became a highly active volunteer, giving her time and expertise for New York City career networking events, a commitment that is still going strong. A member of the School of Business Administration’s Board of Advisors, Paley leads a sub-committee focused on career development. Talking with young people who reminded her a bit of herself in their professional searches drove Paley to share her own experience with that “figuring it out” stage. “The more I felt like I was helping, the more students I wanted to impact,” she says.
Paley, who studied political science and English in college, remains a strong believer in a liberal arts education. But she also counsels current students about the importance of internships to gain experience, steps she herself took as a student to learn about the advertising field. “Don’t think that your academic and professional experience are disconnected even if they are different,” she advises undergrads. “Start early figuring out what it is that you’re passionate about, what you love about your major, and what other people who have studied what you’re studying do for a living.” Paley gets back to Burlington a few times a year and counts the Green and University Row as her favorite places on campus. Downtown, it’s breakfast at Henry’s Diner or a post-board meeting cup of coffee with a student at Uncommon Grounds.
A lifelong New Yorker aside from her college years, Paley loves exploring the city and all it has to offer culturally—art museums and galleries, theater, lectures, and the latest up-and-coming neighborhoods in Brooklyn. She and her boyfriend are avid cyclists, who often head to Central or Prospect parks or cross the George Washington Bridge to ride outside the city. “I kind of run at the same pace on the weekends that I do during the week, just focused on other things. I’m not really big on downtime or sleep,” she says.