A Woman Owned Business

Gail Davis, 09 March 2021

Gail Davis, Robin Leach and Gail's mentor, Vicki Yacovoni in 1996.

I recently completed documentation for our Women's Business Enterprise National Council Certification (WBENC). Finalizing the paperwork is no easy task, but I love the process. WBENC is truly committed to assisting women business owners and I am proud to be granted certification from this distinct organization. I am also grateful to our clients who diversify their supply chain to include women and minority owned businesses.


The significance and timing of the WBENC certification is particularly meaningful as we celebrate Women’s History Month. I think back on when I started GDA Speakers over 22 years ago, and the important women in my career who encouraged and inspired me to leave my 20 year corporate event career at Electronic Data Systems (EDS) and start GDA. My leader for many years, Vicki Yacovoni, was my role model. Her leadership style, particularly in a male dominated environment, was beyond impressive. She didn't manage me, she led me, providing me feedback and the confidence to take on new challenges. Vicki made sacrifices and proved that hard work truly is the road to success. She was passionate about her work and possessed a quiet strength that was respected by everyone. Vicki needed every bit of that strength when she was diagnosed with terminal leukemia. She continued to lead courageously inspiring so many, until the illness took her life at 49 years old.


I feel fortunate for my time spent with Vicki. She was not only my leader and mentor, she was a dear friend. Vicki helped shape the leader I am today. She taught me about leading with passion, taking on new challenges and learning from failure and setbacks. That last one helped tremendously when GDA was faced with the setbacks of 2020. I am so proud of the resilience of our GDA team and the grit and ingenuity of our all female team that kept us going.


As a leader, I always try to tap into the many lessons I have learned in business and share them with my team. I want them to gain as much knowledge about business as they have about speakers. It will set them up to have a seat at the table - which is the only way women can really make a difference. 


I am grateful for all the strong women leaders and role models who have taken risks, fought off failure, insults or stereotypes and continue to overcome obstacles. I am proud I had the opportunity to learn and grow as a leader and now, have the opportunity to pass that on to other women. 


One quick bit of personal news, I was recently honored to be recognized in Sooner Magazine by my alma mater, the University of Oklahoma. I’ve added the link HERE in case you're interested in reading the article. I appreciate each of you supporting and celebrating the work of women.