Member Spotlight: Payal Patel

Payal Patel will be moderating the panel at SAinSports’ first Chicago Event.

Payal is an international award-winning communications professional with nearly a decade of experience. With a knack for writing and storytelling, Payal originally set out for a career in sports broadcasting upon graduating from Marquette University. Following a stint with Milwaukee’s ABC-TV affiliate, she returned to her hometown of Chicago to transition to a career in public relations.

Currently at Navy Pier, Payal manages internal and external communications and serves as the primary spokesperson for the top destination in the Midwest, which welcomes more than nine million guests each year. She played a pivotal role in developing and executing the PR strategy for Navy Pier’s centennial celebration, which includes a robust lineup of special events and programming and pier-wide redevelopment efforts to enhance the iconic landmark as it enters its next century.

As the Director of Public Relations for the NFL Players Association – Chicago Chapter, Payal oversaw all press inquiries, media outreach, event promotions, social media platforms and public relations campaigns on behalf of the organization, its charitable arm and the players involved. She was instrumental in creating and implementing the media strategy for the Chapter’s involvement in the NFL Draft in Chicago, the concussions lawsuit against the NFL, among other key events and initiatives led by the organization and its members.

Payal also managed corporate communications for the Chicago Fire Soccer Club, coordinating press coverage around the Club’s corporate partnership agreements, business development announcements, marketing campaigns, community relations efforts and the Chicago Fire Foundation. She led the public relations campaigns for the 2014 FIFA World Cup viewing parties in Chicago and the Fire’s new primary and third kit launches.

Prior to that, Payal served as the Director of Public Relations for the Chicago Soul FC, a professional indoor soccer team. She oversaw all communications for the Soul organization, including media strategy, campaign development, crisis management, press announcements, game recaps and highlights, post-game interviews with players and coaches, special promotions, among other responsibilities for the then-startup organization.

In December 2016, Payal was recognized at the National Press Club in Washington D.C. for being named to the PR News Rising Stars 30 Under 30 list, which honors budding PR leaders worldwide. She is also a recipient of the MarCom Platinum Award, the Publicity Club of Chicago’s Golden Trumpet Award, and the Public Relations Society of America Chicago Skyline Award of Excellence for her collaborative work on the PR efforts around Navy Pier’s new Centennial Wheel.

​Presently, Payal sits on the local boards for Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and Women In Sports and Events (WISE), and is a member of the Publicity Club of Chicago (PCC) and Chicago Leadership Alliance (CLA), an exclusive network of distinguished leaders in Chicago. As part of her philanthropic involvement, she volunteers regularly at Feed My Starving Children and Habitat For Humanity, while serving as an ambassador for Room to Read.

Payal resides in the Bridgeport neighborhood of Chicago with her goldendoodle, Leo – named after her favorite soccer player, Lionel Messi.

You can follow her on twitter @PayalPatelPR
Neha Uberoi headshot

Neha Uberoi

Cofounder and CEO, South Asians in Sports

Member Spotlight: Payal Patel