40 Under 40 2016: Lauren Day

VP, head of business communications, Prudential, 39

40 Under 40 2016: Lauren Day

Most PR jobs require a cool head. But the point of contact at a flailing insurance giant at the height of 2008 financial crisis and during the years of subsequent fallout? That requires next-level skills. Lauren Day was the director of strategic communications for AIG in 2008, as well as several years prior and afterward, and a "critical orchestrator" of efforts to resolve the company’s crisis, including its restructuring and subsequent efforts to communicate repayment of its massive federal bailout.

Day worked to restore trust at a critical and tumultuous time when the public and the media had very little good will toward the industry as a whole. Beyond setting the communications strategy for its global restructuring program, she also helped to reorganize AIG’s post-crisis philanthropic platform and was a founding member of its sustainable investments team. Her sharp business acumen, deep and diverse skill set and a background that draws on global and public policy experience made Day essential to her team.

She got her start as a legislative aide and press secretary in the Connecticut state legislature, but her very first job was at the U.S. Information Agency in Washington, DC, working the Africa desk at the time of the embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania. Later she worked in as a Robert Bosch Foundation fellow at KfW Bankengruppe in Frankfurt, where she focused on microfinance and microinsurance products.

After AIG, she went on to lead corporate communications at Axa where she was a member of the executive management group and oversaw all aspects of corporate comms, including public affairs, employee engagement, and media relations, but also working to modernize its communications discipline.

Drawn to the complicated and challenging insurance industry, Day is now driving a turnaround in Prudential’s communications division as it faces new challenges, especially on the public policy front. She’s tasked with building out an all-new strategic communications organization supporting global business growth, and designing integration with marketing.

- She co-led the launch of national brand campaign to reintroduce Axa to the U.S. market, that increased unaided brand awareness from 2% to 21% with reduced budget.

- The global PR pro is fluent in English, German, and French.

- Day is not all numbers and suits. She’s a classically trained pianist, avid swimmer, and former water polo player and dancer.

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