- Sycamore Community Schools
2023 Distinguished Alumni Patty Brisben
Sycamore Schools is proud to announce Patty Brisben as the recipient of the 2023 Distinguished Alumni award. This prestigious honor recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to their communities and achieved remarkable success in their careers. Ms. Brisben's journey from a Sycamore Schools student to a pioneering entrepreneur and philanthropist exemplifies the spirit of this award.
Ms. Brisben’s connection to Sycamore Schools began in first grade when she began attending Blue Ash Elementary. She progressed through the district, ultimately graduating from Sycamore High School in 1973.
“I loved the diversity of the school. It felt very inclusive and welcoming to all. It was a great place to learn and grow,” said Ms. Brisben.
During her time at Sycamore, she actively participated in VICA (Vocational Industrial Clubs of America), now known as SkillsUSA. The program, which partnered with businesses to teach students valuable job skills and leadership, laid the foundation for her future endeavors.
After her graduation, Ms. Brisben embarked on a journey that encompassed marriage, family life, and a career in the medical field. However, it was during her single-parent years, while working tirelessly to make ends meet, that she encountered a pivotal moment of challenge. Patty recalled, "I remember one teacher who told me the only thing he ever saw me being was a housewife. And while someone else may have been hurt or discouraged by that, I turned around and said, 'watch me.'"
This unwavering determination, combined with inspiration drawn from a segment on the Phil Donahue show, ignited her entrepreneurial spirit. In 1993, from the confines of her own basement, Ms. Brisben launched Pure Romance.
In the beginning, Ms. Brisben did everything. She packed orders, shipped products, planned parties, and signed up new consultants—all while raising her four children on her own. Over the next two decades, her hard work paid off as Pure Romance grew into what she had always dreamed it would be: A place where women could take control of their financial futures while raising their families.
“I wanted to give women a safe place to ask questions they might normally be afraid to ask. I wanted to create a space where they could make their own choices about their health and their bodies,” said Ms.Brisben. “I wanted to differentiate it from what was already out there and partner with physicians and mental health experts to provide education and expert knowledge. I wanted to create a judgment-free zone, where women could give themselves permission to explore their health.”
In 2000, Patty’s son, Chris Cicchinelli joined Pure Romance as CEO helping his mother grow the company from $3 million in annual revenue to more than $130 million in 2014.
“I think if people have a passion for what they do and find energy through spreading their mission – and do it wisely – they’re bound to find success,” said Ms. Brisben. “I’m grateful that my parents taught me to never give up and to always believe in myself. Not to mention a strong work ethic!”
In 2006, she launched the Patty Brisben Foundation, dedicated to advancing research and education on women's health, particularly addressing conditions such as pain disorders, cancer, endometriosis, and menopausal symptoms. To date, the foundation has raised over $7 million.
“I really wanted to make an impact and change the world of women’s health for the better,” said Ms.Brisben.
Ms. Brisben will be honored at a reception at the Montgomery Inn on Friday, September 29 from 5:00pm-6:30pm. Ticket information can be found at oursafa.com. Ms. Brisben will also be recognized at halftime of the Homecoming game later that evening.
“It’s such an honor to be in a community of amazing past recipients. I just wish my mom, dad, and grandmother were here to see this. They would have been so proud. My mother loved Sycamore and could spot a great school district from miles away. I’m so grateful to have been raised here.”
Offering advice to current students, Ms. Brisben shared, “Always stay a student. I know that may seem hard, because, so often when you’re actually in school, all you want to do is anything else. But when I talk about staying a student, I mean to keep your eyes, ears, and mind open. New information, new ideas, new points of view: knowledge is the way to success. And this applies to all aspects of life: health, career, family, relationships. If you approach everything in life with an open mind, it will only be to your benefit.”