University alumna selected for Forbes 30 under 30

By The Daily Illini Staff Report

A University alumna was chosen for the Forbes 30 under 30 list, which recognizes 600 business and industry figures and entrepreneurs across 20 different industries in the US and in Canada. 

Arielle Gross, marketing strategist and University class of 2011 alumna, was selected for the 2019 Forbes list for the Marketing & Advertising category. She leads strategy, business, communication and management initiatives for Facebook’s Global Business Marketing and Creative Shop organizations.

The Engineering graduate founded the Cannected events series, a global initiative to celebrate creativity during the Cannes advertising festival, which takes place in Sao Paulo, Johannesburg, London, New York and Sydney.

“I’m very passionate about driving diversity across industries,” Gross said in an email. “The idea was to democratize creativity by bringing local creative luminaries to the market.”

Gross also helped launch Facebook’s #MoreLikeMe initiative in partnership with HP Inc., and serves as the Facebook representative for the United Nation Women Global Innovation Coalition for Change, a partnership between UN Women and select members of private sector, academia and non-profit world, focusing on accelerating gender parity.

Through #MoreLikeMe, Gross said she brought 18 diverse creatives to Cannes this year, expanding the opportunity to attend the incredible festival and network with other talented folks in the industry.

After launching her career as an engineering and construction consulting, and moving to Facebook in 2013, Gross started the Arielle Gross Engineering Visionary Scholarship Fund for University students.

“It’s always been my dream to give back to budding engineers – people who are eager to build a better future,” she said. “I feel fortunate that my education helped set me up for success, and seized this opportunity to give back to an institution that played a pivotal role in my development.”

Gross said she hopes to lessen the financial worries of deserving students so they can gain knowledge and focus on their growth. An engineering degree teaches students how to have a logical mental framework and to problem solve effectively, she said.

“Our test questions were always structured uniquely, solved with the application of foundational theorems and principles versus copying and pasting,” she said. “That seems like a good corollary for life after college – I’m faced with unique opportunities and challenges daily, and rely on the ability to think creatively and solve complex problems in new ways – key skills I learned in Engineering.”

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