Rebecca Patterson
Managing Director and Chief Investment Officer, Bessemer Trust

Rebecca Patterson worked as a journalist before starting a career in finance, and her communication skills have contributed mightily to her success.

She says one of her most notable contributions to Bessemer Trust's 22% rise in assets under supervision last year was not an impressive new client or investment model, but simply periodic roundtable discussions for clients. Bessemer would host these whenever a handful of clients would pose the same question, whether it was concerns about the shale revolution or an economic turnaround.

During her two years at Bessemer, Patterson also has been responsible for keeping all employees better informed. She launched two internal publications that provide insight on market events and news developments. And she holds a meeting every Monday morning, open to all 800 employees, to update them on what's driving the markets for the week.

Patterson says her stint as a journalist helped her become a "financial translator" of sorts. "I analyze what can be immensely complicated global economic and market issues and turn them into plainspoken communication as well as successful investments," she says.

Patterson also has made a name for herself — and Bessemer — demystifying the financial markets as a regular contributor on several CNBC programs, including two years co-hosting the show "Money in Motion." In 2013 alone, she did 40 media interviews, and wrote or co-authored 50 external publications.

And as a committee member of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York's Foreign Exchange Committee, Patterson regularly explains currency issues to junior central bankers from around the world.

With all the professional commitments mounting, Patterson still makes plenty of time for her two girls. At their public elementary school she founded the Village Chess Foundation, which teaches kids to play and provides funds to help them travel to tournaments.

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