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Featured on Jun 01, 2011

Aishwarya Iyer

"One day in retrospect, the years of struggle will strike you as the most beautiful."


Aishwarya is on the Public Affairs team at SecondMarket, where she works on external and internal communications, public relations and government affairs. Prior to joining SecondMarket, Aishwarya was at JGA, a boutique NYC-based public relations firm and also spent time at L'Oreal on the Lancome Public Relations team. Currently, Aishwarya is a regular volunteer at Sakhi For South Asian Women, a New York-based anti-domestic violence organization, and is also a social media ambassador at The Women's Education Project. Aishwarya is also on the Navatman Dance Company based in New York City. Aishwarya is a graduate of New York University from the Gallatin School of Individualized Study. She is a die-hard Texan and loves cupcakes, India, David Sedaris and of course - Texas.

  • Title: Public Affairs and Media Relations at SecondMarket
  • Age: 25
  • Location: Financial District
  • Contact: facebook

How did you first become interested in PR? What does a typical workday in public affairs entail? What is your favorite part of working in PR?

In high school, I was the editor of the school paper, and was always searching for captivating stories to tell the world (or at least, our school). When I started college, I realized that there were numerous ways that I could tell a compelling story, and one could be by representing a brand.  I interned at various PR firms in NYC and at L’Oreal as well, and realized that public relations is really one of the most powerful tools to cultivate, strengthen and protect a brand -I wanted to be a part of that.  A typical workday could consist of working on a press release about a really exciting company announcement, brainstorming new ways to pitch our brand, talking to journalists, producers and members of the media, and updating the company Twitter and Facebook accounts!  The best parts about working in PR is being able to really work on your brand’s strategy and being able to tell the brand story to members of the media and watch their eyes light up as they realize that what your company is doing is truly revolutionary.

What drives your passion to work for women’s rights organizations such as Sakhi For South Asian Women and The Women’s Education Project? What women, alive or dead, famous or not, do you look up to and why?

I have been passionate about empowerment for women for as long as I can remember – I held a dance fundraiser for a woman’s anti-domestic violence center when I was 16, and I majored in Media and Globalization with an emphasis on Women and South Asian Studies at NYU.  I read numerous books on the subject – Development as Freedom, by Amartya Sen probably moved me the most. I initially learned about Sakhi through a professor, and I interned there as a media and development intern in 2007 before joining their volunteer initiatives.  I stumbled across The Women’s Education Project more recently,  and as a South Indian, I am drawn to the fact that WEP is committed to providing access to higher education to women in South India.

I look up to Cleopatra, the last pharaoh of Ancient Egypt, and Sheryl Sandberg, the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook.  Although Cleopatra is mainly portrayed by historians as a beautiful and seductive woman,  she was also an incredibly skilled and intelligent leader, who utilized tactics that were well-ahead of her time.  And today, I think that Sheryl Sandberg is one of the most remarkable women in the world.  I watch her Barnard Class of ’11 commencement speech and Ted speech at least once a day, and I think that her dedication to empowering women to rise to the top of the corporate ladder is so inspiring.  I would love to meet her one day.

As a cupcake connoisseur, where do you find the tastiest cupcakes in NYC?

I would have to say that it’s a tie between Sugar Sweet Sunshine in the Lower East Side and the mini Baked By Melissa cupcakes (chocolate chip pancake and tie dye are my favorites).  I created my own cupcake tour a couple of years ago and ventured around the city to go cupcake-hopping, so I’d like to think that my findings have carefully been researched.

Public Relations