Today we’d like to introduce you to Gayle Cotton.
Gayle, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
My background is in Humanities and Behavioral Science, with an emphasis on Neuro-Science and Cultural Science.
In the early nineties, a California-based company asked me for my expertise and help with training programs at Citibank in Zurich, Switzerland. The training went very well, and I was soon traveling regularly to Zurich, and Geneva as well, to facilitate training programs with other U.S. based companies in Switzerland.
Within a year, I was asked by a training company in Geneva to move there and develop Management, Marketing, Presentation Skills and Cross-Cultural courses for The United Nations and international companies throughout Europe and around the world. It was a fantastic opportunity, so off to Geneva I went!
However, corporate training, executive coaching, and even keynote speaking for global companies and international organizations, like the United Nations, has different challenges than for U.S. based companies. I quickly found out that I had 3 strikes against me! Strike 1 – I’m American, and their question was “What do Americans know about different cultures?” Strike 2 – I’m female, and at that time there weren’t that many women in the higher levels of the work force. Strike 3 – I’m blonde and found out that the dumb blonde jokes are global! Awareness is the 1st step, and I really had to put my knowledge to practice. I ultimately created what others dubbed as “my librarian look”. I realized that my appearance, including the Dallas “big hair”, wasn’t the best look for other countries. So, I adapted and put my blond locks in a French twist, wore longer skirts (pant suits weren’t appropriate at that time), and since I was short I wore high heels. I took a more formal approach to training, since most Europeans, Asians, and many other cultures expected a rather serious approach to training. It wasn’t the “entertainment” we appreciate in the U.S. From that point on, as I traveled around the world training, coaching, and speaking, I adapted to the attire and business style of the country I was in — be it China, Morocco, or Italy.
Other challenges were that some countries were dangerous, either because of war, cultural differences, or crime. I’ve had secret codes to be provided, body guards and rode in bullet proof vehicles. However, despite the precautions, I had great experiences everywhere I’ve been!
I lived and worked in Switzerland for over 3 years, and then returned to Dallas to incorporate a business base of Circles Of Excellence here. Initially, I was like a ping-pong ball between Dallas and Geneva, but Dallas definitely became my home-base and I travel globally from here.
Dallas is a great place for business! I did have to adapt once again though, because I had married a Frenchman and my last name was now Cotton-Delpierre. People in Texas don’t do too well with the pronunciation, and after being introduced as Gayle Cotton Del-Prairie a few times, I decided it would be best to just use the name Gayle Cotton for business. In addition, I found out that Cotton was an easy name to have in Dallas with the Cotton Bowl etc.
Circles Of Excellence has now been in business nearly 20 years. We have trained companies all over the DFW area, the U.S., and the world. (See some of our customers and location at the following links http://www.gaylecotton.com/references/gayle-s-customers/ or http://www.circlesofexcellence.com/references/our-customers/ ). We offer customized training courses and executive coaching for 12 different topics (See the Circles Of Excellence topics at the following link).
In 2012, the book publisher, John Wiley & Sons, contacted me to write a book on cross-cultural communication which was published in March 2013. That launched me into the world of Keynote Speaking, which adds to the corporate training and executive coaching to keep me busy! (see my keynote topics at the following link and my book on Amazon at the following link).
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Circles Of Excellence – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
CIRCLES OF EXCELLENCE INC. provides Corporate Training, Executive Coaching, and Keynote Speakers for companies of all sizes and industries, including over 50 Fortune 500 Companies. A few of our customers include Shell, Texas Instruments, IBM, HP, Fujitsu, Sanyo, AT&T, Ericsson, Alcatel-Lucent, Motorola, PepsiCo, Frito-Lay, JCPenney, Mary Kay, Citibank, Bank of America, Chase, Federal Home Loan Bank, UBS, American Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Dow, Nissan, Siemens, Hilton, US Army, Environmental Protection Agency, World Health Organization, Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO) and Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO).
Training is available as Instructor Led or Blended Training. Executive Coaching is provided for all leadership levels. Training Programs are also available for Licensing and Train-The-Trainer certification.
We have online Profiles and Assessments for all of the Circles Of Excellence training and coaching topics.
Gayle Cotton, an Emmy Award winner, is the President of Circles Of Excellence in Dallas, TX. An internationally recognized authority on Cultural Science, she is the author of the Bestselling Book ‘SAY Anything to Anyone, Anywhere! 5 Keys to Cross-Cultural Communication’. She is a certified expert for ‘The Executive Foundation for International Communication’, and has the distinction of being the first American to be accepted in ‘The European Association of Marketing and Sales Experts’.
The thing that I’m most proud of at Circles Of Excellence is our customer satisfaction. We have wonderful relationships with our customers and clients, and we’ve never had a complaint about our service.
The other thing is that we take customer service very seriously, and carefully listen to our customer’s needs. We then do our very best to develop or customize our training, coaching, and presentations to be the best possible given their expectations.
So, what’s next? Any big plans?
I’m fortunate enough to absolutely love what I do! I’ve been privileged to have had exactly the career I’ve wanted. Circles Of Excellence has given opportunities to expand my abilities in ways I never imagined, so I plan to continue doing much more of the same.
On a personal level, I would like to write more books. I continually get feedback from readers about how much my book, ‘Say Anything to Anyone, Anywhere! 5 Keys to Cross-Cultural Communication’ has opened their eyes and created more awareness and openness in their relationships with different cultures. Circles Of Excellence has now created training courses around the content.
When the book was published, it was featured on 2 different occasions (for 3 weeks each time) in the front window at Barnes & Nobel on 5th Ave. in NYC. I was there each time doing media, and it never ceased to amaze me that my book was in the window with authors the likes of Robert T. Kiosaki! I was able to share my knowledge and expertise in a way that I’d never had the opportunity to do before.
My real career goal in life is to bring people together no matter what their race, religion or origin. When I refer to cultural awareness, it’s all about connecting with the culture we have in common… the Human Culture which is in the heart of us all… and going from there.
I also love to travel and meet people, so I hope to do much more international keynote speaking. I like to go for the “wow” factor with audiences, and they give me as much energy as I give them!
- Website: www.circlesofexcellence.com
- Phone: 972-370-1300
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/circlesofexcellence
- Twitter: http://twitter.com/circlesofexcell
- Other: https://www.linkedin.com/in/gaylecotton/