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Meet Gail Davis of GDA Speakers in Uptown Dallas

Today we’d like to introduce you to Gail Davis.

Gail, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I went to work for EDS right out of college. EDS was founded by an incredible entrepreneur, Ross Perot. I had a very rewarding 20 year career there. While I was at EDS, Les Alberthal, Chairman, issued me a challenge to find a speaker for our sales recognition event that was new, different, global and someone everyone would want to hear. I watched the movie “Alive” about the 1972 plane crash in the Andes Mountains. I wanted to find the real person who Ethan Hawke portrayed as a speaker. That was in 1994 and there was no Google. I went to so many speakers bureaus looking for Nando Parrado. No one was able to help me. I eventually went through the Uruguayan embassy in Washington DC and got a phone number. I tracked him down. At first he told me no. After six month of convincing he spoke for our event. It was a complete home run. The chairman put his arm about me and said, “Kid you should retire, you will never outdo this”. In 1999, I left EDS and started my own company. From its humble beginning in Colleyville with one speaker I have grown it into a full service bureau with 19 years’ worth of success booking celebrities, authors and thought leaders for clients all over the globe. I can’t think of anything I would rather be doing.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Smooth road…hahaha….ask any entrepreneur and they will say the road is full of learning opportunities. I had to learn to shift my expectations. My corporate experience has helped me navigate our larger clients and yet at the same time managing a small business is different.

The defining moment was when I ended a long term marriage and knew my business was no longer a hobby but something my family was relying on. That will get your serious real fast.

I had a lot to learn about being a leader. I have learned from every employee I have hired. Most recently I have experienced the joy of seeing a great culture with a truly engaged team. Someone recently told me, ‘If I started my own business, I would hire every single one of your employees”. That felt good.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
We are a full service speaker’s bureau. We create partnerships with our clients to advise them in selecting and contracting the best keynote speaker for their event. We are known for our customer service all the way to the standing ovation. I am most proud of my company when I think of the clients that have worked with us every year since we began. Regardless of when we initially engage with a client it is my goal for our team to deliver so that they come back each time they need a speaker. I am also very proud of the long standing relationships we have with our speakers. Our industry must provide value to compete with all the online options of booking speakers direct. I know that value comes from actual experience and service.

What were you like growing up?
I am a small town girl from Oklahoma. I am the oldest child. I was always responsible and have had a job since I was old enough to work…..from babysitting to selling shoes, working at the local newspaper. When I was 14, I went to Mexico City and Cuernavaca. I fell in love with the culture. I loved meeting new people, learning a new language and travel. That has influenced me throughout my life.

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