We had the good fortune of connecting with Gail Davis and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Gail, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I had a twenty year career running large scale corporate events. I knew the needs of clients. After successfully finding a speaker that was not on the circuit, I realized I have good instincts for talent. I wanted to be a creative resource to others who were planning events.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
GDA Speakers is a full service speakers bureau. Up until March 12, 2020 that meant clients hired speakers who appeared on stage in front of audiences to deliver a message. Everything changed with COVID-19 and the global pandemic. I was so lucky early on when a colleague gave me advice to run three scenarios: 1) no events through May, 2) no events through August and 3) no events through December of 2020. The reality of the numbers was sobering. I had to move quickly and make tough decisions. My team went from 12 to 6 and then to 4. We navigated renegotiating over 150 contracts. It was so challenging. We were committed to being empathetic to our clients, honoring our commitment to speakers and saving our business. I am so happy to report that we are in a better position than I feared. So many of our clients made the decision to stay in the game and convert to virtual events. Then the unexpected request for virtual meetings started coming in. There is no doubt 2020 will look very different than 2019 in terms of revenue and number of events. That being said, we are actually doing okay. It has been energizing to learn the ins and outs of virtual events. We recently added two members to our team in order to deliver to our clients demand. I suspect we are a good 12-16 months from resuming to anything that resembles what we were accustomed to previously. I have learned the value of facing a situation head on and clear communication. GDA Speakers is resilient and able to pivot in this situation.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
This is a funny question in light of the pandemic. I would enjoy cooking a healthy meal and entertaining in my home. I would take a long hike either around White Rock Lake, maybe Cedar Ridge Preserve or the Katy Trail. Also I love to take friends to visit the Dallas Arboretum. If we decided to venture out to a restaurant you will find me at Parigi. I LOVE Parigi. It is amazing food and the staff is like family.
There are also some wonderful small businesses that I would support. They have done a great job requiring masks and social distancing. I want to support other small business owners in my neighborhood so I would take them to Nuvo and Forget Me Not. Never too early to start Christmas shopping!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I owe a tremendous amount of gratitude to the clients of GDA Speakers. They have been very loyal partners. Those relationship coupled with the strong speaker community and all GDA Speakers employees past and present make up our 21 year + history.
Other: www.gdaspeakers.com LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/gda-speakers/
Clint Brewer Photography