As part of the DISH Women’s Network, we highlight key players on the DISH Leadership Team; this lets us all see the best practices and habits that have contributed to their successes. We sat down with Patti Fries, newly promoted Director of Consumer Insights at DISH, to chat about her career path, recent promotion, and overarching advice for women navigating their careers.
Born and raised in small-town Nebraska, Patti wanted from a young age to learn more about what interested her most: people. After studying Marketing, Management, and Japanese at the University of Nebraska, she pursued her master’s degree in International Management at the Thunderbird School of Global Management in Arizona. She met fellow students from diverse walks of life, with over 90 countries represented in her classmates.
Asked about advice she has for career-focused individuals, Patti provides more context on her upbringing. Raised by a father who fostered a love of learning, Patti has consistently followed her curiosity. “Find something you are passionate about, and use that passion to create change you believe in” she said. For Patti, this began at Thunderbird, where she was offered a hands-on experience to design the ad launch for NordicTrack fitness equipment in France. She then accepted the first position within a start-up advertising research and marketing effectiveness firm, Communicus Inc. Patti proudly and passionately built this organization from the ground up, eventually supporting 23 employees and working with top brands on a global level. The key? “Surrounding yourself with good and smart people, and actively seeking to learn as much as possible from each one of them,” Patti said. “Make connections with people who inspire you, lean on each other’s strengths, and strive to be a better team with each day. Always root for one another. After all, it’s a lot more fun and fulfilling to win as a team.”
That “always learning” sentiment applies to the personal world as well, Patti said. She said that she’s often inspired by her husband of 23 years and her three boys, ages 15, 13, and 10. A few years ago, she recalls coming home late from work to see her then-7-year-old practicing soccer at 10 p.m. She asked what he was doing. He said, “Mom, you have to be like Lowe’s. ‘Never stop improving.’”
Patti’s recent promotion gave us a chance to discuss the importance of giving and receiving feedback, and how best to use it. Patti emphasized the importance of viewing feedback with a “big picture” lens, it should truly be viewed as a gift, since feedback is a tool that allows for continuous improvement. “Work with people who know you well enough to give you that critical feedback. Embrace it all – good and bad. You must have the negative feedback to figure out where you can push. Feedback is a collaborative process, and it’s important for people to feel like their insight provides some value, so also be sure to follow up.” Additionally, Patti emphasized the importance of written goals and using them as a guide for personal accountability.
Beyond the professional realm, Patti offered valuable overarching advice. “Be collaborative, and be empathetic” she said. “Seek understanding. We do our best work by connecting and listening well to people with different perspectives.”
It is obvious Patti genuinely appreciates the opportunity to be “Tuned In” to our agents, employees, retailers, customers, and prospects, and to represent their perspective at decision tables across DISH and Sling TV. Patti’s success can be best understood by a favorite quote at her desk: “People, more than your title, will determine if you are a leader.”
Congratulations on your promotion, Patti! The DISH Women’s Network is looking forward to your continued leadership and impact on the DISH community.