Here’s to 2019, Sprinkling #BlackGirlMagic Everywhere I Go

I’m declaring the new year to be my “32nd Year of Magic” (paying homage to the jersey number that NBA legend, champion, entrepreneur and mogul Magic Johnson wore). My year of magic will include sprinkling #BlackGirlMagic everywhere I go.

For those who need a quick reminder, #BlackGirlMagic is having the power to mysteriously influence events; to magically move, change and create. #BlackGirlMagic celebrates the resilience of black women who excel despite adversity -- which is what I will continue to do in the new year.

I learned from Queen, Oprah Winfrey, that focusing thankfulness is magical and rewarding. "I live in the space of thankfulness — and for that, I have been rewarded a million times over. ...When you focus on the goodness in life, you create more of it," said Winfrey.  

Regardless of life’s moments, we must focus on the positive -- finding it, loving it, and leading with it. It takes a little magic to stay committed to positivity. We are in control of our own positivity, it’s our individual magic. Remember, positivity is needed in all that we do with our families, at work and amongst relationships. This year, I will turn my routine of gratitude and positivity into a joyous daily practice.  In the words of Doris Day, “Gratitude is riches. Complaint is poverty.”

Here are five specific ways that I will be sprinkling #BlackGirlMagic in 2019:

  1. Practicing Gratitude and Sharing Knowledge -  Maya Angelou said, “Let gratitude be the pillow upon which you kneel to say your nightly prayer.” If you are really thankful you share. No one achieves success without some sort of help. There’s always a blessing in being a blessing. Here’s to obtaining more mentees, teaching great lessons and presenting at more speaking engagements in 2019!

  2. Being my own cheerleader when needed. Not everyone will clap for you, but I’ve finally learned that a group of cheerleaders are not needed for your purpose to unfold. You can be your own cheerleader. Not everyone is nice, or excited and happy for you. Not everyone wants you to win. But, it doesn’t matter! You do not need people to clap for you for your purpose to unfold.

  3. Focus on what’s next and most importantly, keep going! I cannot begin to count the amount of times that someone told me no, or literally laughed in my face when sharing a goal (especially ones that I’ve now accomplished). It may take longer than planned, but stay focused on what’s next and stay on task. I promise, it’ll be worth it.

  4. Don’t just dream, PLAN! In order to transform, continuous learning and growth is needed. Here’s to always finding new opportunities to learn regardless of how intimidating or out of the ordinary they may be, which is mandatory for growth.

  5. Purpose-filled evolving. Fear, intimidation, it’s all a part of the journey. The magic happens with you move towards your purpose and evolve accordingly. I have learned along the way, that it is usually a good outcome when you are a little nervous or afraid. Diamonds are formed with the combination of high-temperatures and extreme pressure.

In 2019, I will create more goodness by channeling my #BlackGirlMagic. Speaking of creation, the “creative” industry is one of the hot fields of the decade. Why? Because creativity is responsible for letting the imagination drive, for original ideas coming to life and producing artistic work. I look forward to using my #GiftofGab to tell stories of #BlackGirlMagic to celebrate black women who are shaping our future with resilience.

Ending with Queen Oprah Winfrey: “Wherever you are in your journey, I hope you, too, will keep encountering challenges. It is a blessing to be able to survive them, to be able to keep putting one foot in front of the other — to be in a position to make the climb up life’s mountain, knowing that the summit still lies ahead. And every experience is a valuable teacher.”

A Successful Year of Winning

Fall is well underway, it’s quite cold in the Northeast and I’m preparing to create my personal goals for 2019. I must say, 2018, has been wonderful! #Winning #3Won #Thankful

To the first man that I ever loved, my exceptional father (who raised two children alone as a single father, and saw them both off to college,) I love you, Forever! #TheLookOnHisFace

Earlier this year, on my 31st birthday, I declared 2018 to be my year of winning. It’s been just that -- from switching careers, taking on a more senior role in a new industry, to marrying the love of my life -- this year has been incredible to say the least.

I’ve always been passionate about academia. I am a proud fourth generation college grad, and as a black woman, that’s not something that I take for granted. I’m forever grateful for HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) that afforded my ancestors the ability to attend college and receive a rich and enlightening education and thereafter successful careers. {In honor of my grandparents, ‘HU, You Know’.}

As a child, I learned that education removed boundaries, provided avenues for success and provided financial stability in many cases.

Since I obtained my masters degree at age 22, I’ve served as an adjunct professor at my beloved Iona College to St. John’s University to College of New Rochelle all the way to New York University (NYU). My current graduate professor role at NYU means so much to me, because in high school NYU was unequivocally my dream school, however I did not get accepted. Years later, NYU contacted me and offered me a professor role. NYU said that they would be honored to have me. Talk about time revealing it all!

I absolutely love teaching. People often ask me what I do for fun and my answer is always, “teach!” Teaching is the most fun and rewarding role that I’ve ever had (though I imagine in future years, motherhood will change that :)).

Now, working full-time in higher-ed as Vice President and Head of Communications and Marketing at the phenomenal Barnard College of Columbia University, has been beyond rewarding. Marketing communications, events, strategic, news, crisis and digital communications, media relations, creative design, video storytelling, as well as editorial are all under my purview. I am tasked with leading the College’s strategy in showcasing how amazing Barnard is and how it is truly singular. Barnard is one of the most selective colleges in the country and is devoted to empowering women. Uniquely, it has all of the academic resources of Columbia University.

Alumnae include best-selling writers, novelists, journalists, playwrights, Pulitzer Prize winners, and poets. Barnard is one of the top national producers of scholars selected for the Fulbright Student Program. Grads have made their marks in government, arts, science, nonprofits and beyond.

And when people are asking, where are women in STEM, 35% of Barnard’s class of 2018 were science and math majors compared to about 21% nationally; and about 30% of under-represented minorities are math and science majors, compared to almost one-quarter nationally.

I will end my pitch by saying, the College offers joint degrees with Columbia University, Manhattan School of Music, the Juilliard School, and the Jewish Theological Seminary. Being the college sports fan that I am….Barnard is the only women’s college that offers NCAA Division I athletics through the Columbia/Barnard Athletic Consortium.

When I walk around campus, I see women from so many different backgrounds and the diversity is truly refreshing and empowering.

Oh, and my new role was featured in Forbes, absolutely a dream! D R E A M!

Minister Joanna Kanyali, Best friend, Bridesmaid Praise Dancing @ #GambrellsNY2LA

Saving the best for last, I am so very proud to say that I am formally Gabrielle Gambrell (yes, Gabrielle Gambrell :), say that 5x fast). I married to my longtime love! My wedding was beautiful and I am grateful for my 10, yes, 10 bridesmaids that got me down the aisle. As you can imagine, it wasn’t easy.

Our drink menu was a hit! Everyone said the drinks were so tasty! Thankful for my bridesmaid April Johnson, who owns Happied, she made it happen!

Our wedding took place in my hometown of Los Angeles on a rooftop in Marina del Rey overlooking a gorgeous 360 view of the city of angels. The wedding had a theme of “Broadway Takes Hollywood,” and featured live gospel, jazz and R&B performances. Our wedding paid homage to our love for the arts, as well as our hometowns of Los Angeles and New York. We had beautiful ice sculptures, vibrant lighting, Snapchat filters, that were posted on Instagram, a fabulous LA and NY themed signature drink menu, and more.

Here are some photos in case you missed them on all of my social media platforms!

Here’s to making the last few months of 2018 even greater!

In the words of Godmommy, “BIG HUGS!”


Gabrielle Gambrell

The Best Is Yet To Come!

My time at FCB Global is coming to an end and it is indeed bittersweet. I can’t wait to share my new career news with you on Monday!

Cindy, Vita & Gab.jpg

What I am ecstatic about is that I’ll definitely keep in touch with my FCB family forever. From the top down, so many people positively impacted me as a person. In particular, something that I will cherish incredibly is that I met two dynamic black women who took me under their wings and mentored me (and most importantly, will continue to do so in the future): Cynthia “Cindy” Augustine, FCB’s Global Chief Talent Officer and Vita M. Harris, FCB’s Chief Strategy Officer.

In my decade-plus career, I’ve never had two senior-level black women come together collectively to invest in my future on a daily basis. Yes, I have PHENOMENAL black female mentors who go above and beyond for me, but I have never had the pleasure of seeing them and shadowing them on a day-by-day basis, neither have I had a team of mentors at one place and at the same time. This has been life changing for me, being able to watch two dynamic, superb and powerful black women successfully engage, empower and lead global industry decisions. The marketing and advertising industries are not the most diverse; in fact there's a long way to go in terms of inclusion across the board, and for there to be two black women in a C-suite at a leading agency is profoundly inspiring.

Cindy and Vita taught me the significance of having REAL support, guidance, and they continuously nurtured me. They took the time to invest in my success and foster my potential, and I can never fully describe how appreciative I am of both of them. But without a doubt, their training impacted me and will shape me in my new executive role, where I will be the first black woman to ever hold my title. 

FCB is engraved in my heart, and I will always be grateful for its invaluable contribution to my career. I am humbled to have worked at one of Ad Age’s 2018 Agencies to Watch, and I do not take it for granted. My FCB highlights include working with worldwide CEO Carter Murray, who is truly passionate about #TalentAboveAllElse and is such a gracious leader. Furthermore, learning what it means to be #NeverFinished from the gifted Susan Credle is something that I’ll forever cherish.

Absorbing and learning firsthand from the brilliant and eloquent Brandon Cooke – who challenged me to think big, discover above and beyond what’s presented, and moreover, grow – has taught me so much. There’s nothing better than having a great boss, and Brandon’s a genuinely spectacular person. I am honored to have worked for him.

This journey has been nothing short of amazing, from last year witnessing Area 23 rightfully claim Cannes Lions, “Healthcare Agency of the Year” to watching FCB Health dominate and bring home the 2018 acclaimed “Healthcare Network of the Year” honor. Under the impeccable Dana Maiman, whom I adore for her dedication to empowering talent and her graceful leadership, I have learned how to be intentionally inquisitive and authentic in my approach. Rich Levy — who tasks his creative team to think “What If?” to purposefully move the industry forward by leveraging assets and talent — has also shaped me as a leader.

FCB has been the greatest team that I have ever been a part of.  It has been both a privilege and an honor to work in marketing and advertising full-time at FCB Global. I will miss my talented and dedicated worldwide communications team, but there’s no doubt that we’ll all remain in contact.

The Best Is Yet To Come!  


This year as I turned 31, I declared 2018 to be my year of “winning.” And a 3-won year it has already been!

Over the weekend, I experienced a tremendous win that I’m humbly proud of. My Iona College family blessed me with the exceptional “Rising Star,” alumni award.

The Brother Robert A. Durning Rising Star Award is given to an Iona College alum, whom in a short amount of time has brought acclaim to the College through achievements in their respective fields.

The award is particularly special for me as it is named in honor of Brother Durning, a dynamic and gifted teacher who touched the lives of many students during his time at Iona, including myself. The “Rising Star” award honors Br. Durning’s commitment to excellence and the pursuit of lifelong learning by recognizing young professionals.

To be called a “Rising Star” – by the college that’s responsible for my rise – is beyond humbling.

Iona College was my home away from home as I left Los Angeles at the impressionable age of 17. Not knowing anyone outside of my hometown, the Iona family greeted me with open arms in the fall of 2004, and they supported me tremendously in working three different jobs on and off campus, while heading toward graduating in three years, at the age of 20.

It’s only because of Iona that I was able to join media superpower Disney ABC after an internship in 2007, and went on to serve leading media and entertainment companies CBS and Comcast NBCUniversal. The college did what it was supposed to do, give me confidence to move the world, equip me with experience and skills to progress in the real world and help me to build tenacity like never before.

Confidence, is something that colleges should strive to empower their students with. It’s obviously not easy, but absolutely needed to compete against top job candidates and in particular to know your valuable and moreover to be paid what you’re worth.

Iona truly prepared me for my current worldwide role, as Director of Communications and Public Relations at FCB Global, where I work among a handful of brilliant and innovative Iona alums on a daily basis.

Focusing on the rise, I cannot wait to move higher and to lead upward in all that I do. I am reminded that I’m on my way, but not there yet, and that’s exciting. My Godmother would always tell me, “You’re going places!” I cannot wait to go to each and every place that she knew I would go.

I am forever grateful to Iona College. I am relentlessly committed to excellence and bringing further acclaim to my illustrious college. Here’s to more mentorship, teaching, and most important moving the world.

HELLO 3-WON: My Year of Winning and Being Intentionally SMART!​​​​​​​


This month, the lovely month of March -- Women’s History Month -- marks my one year anniversary of my blog! Likewise, on March 3, 2018, I became 31 and this year, I am celebrating my #ThirtyWON year of winning!

My 31st year of life will be fulfilling and life changing, as I claim victory in all that I desire and do. I will win, by personally implementing a “S.M.A.R.T.” strategy that I teach my graduate students at New York University (NYU). “S.M.A.R.T.,” stands for identifying Specific, Measurable, Achievable (realistic), Results-focused and Timely goals and executing each one-by-one.

1. Specific

My father always tells me, “Ma, you’re so precise!” {“Ma” is my family nickname.} When he first started telling me that, I wasn’t sure how to take it. And when my fiance joined in on the fun of calling me Precise, and encouraging me to be deliberate in life, I thought, “hey maybe this precise thing isn’t too bad.” This year, I choose to be precisely Specific, marked by accuracy, expressive, detailed and deliberate about my choices and decisions. Paying attention to detail is imperative for victory. I will be specific in clearly defining what I want in life by writing it down, telling my close loved ones, and mentors. I will outline paths and means by which to accomplish new goals, and if I don’t know how to on my own, I’ll seek guidance and support. Moreover, I will help others to do the same. Looking at my objectives at hand, this will enable me to be intentional about my decisions.

2. Measurable

I always ask my graduate students, “What’s your measurement for success?” Everyone needs personal measurements for success in order to learn and grow. I am learning how to properly measure my success by not comparing myself to others. Naturally people have competitive spirits. I honestly have to remind myself to not measure my achievements based on others, but rather to measure them based on my own personal capabilities, skills and work ethic -- all of which I must constantly strengthen.

We each can say that by this age, you expected X,Y and Z to take place or occur. This new year is a fresh start for me to do all of those things and more, while never measuring myself to someone else’s standard of success or idea of victory. I will be measurable in my actions to quantify advancement.

3. Achievable

My entire life people have told me to be realistic. Believing we each can determine what’s real and accessible for our lives, I’ve always had trouble with people telling me something that I want is not realistic.

My high school guidance teacher told me that attending college in New York, 3000 miles away from my home in Los Angeles wasn’t going to happen because I was too poor, and though it broke my heart, I knew that I alone, was able to determine where I would attend college. She was my guidance counselor, but I refused to give her authority over my life. Needless to say I’ve been in New York since the age of 17, which is 14 years post my undergrad and graduate study. I’ve proudly been a NYer for my entire adulthood.

I often ask myself, “what’s the ROI (return on investment) of my time?” I do not want to waste my energy on something that’s not going to upflight me or bring happiness -- it’s simply not worth it. So, this year, I am going to be practicable, but of course still ambitious in all that I do -- asking what’s attainable and how, is this feasible and how can it work? Never questioning faith nor God’s plan, if it doesn't’ work out, it is ok! I am becoming more sensible, grounded, reasonable and level headed while still learning to be practical and open to what I can achieve and when.

4. Results-focused

Numbers and results do not lie and no one can refute that. This year, I will be more results-driven and focused than ever before!

Results are developed from outcomes, effects, and decisions, so as long as I stay task-oriented, the end result will be great. Keeping in mind goals, objectives and focusing on actions that bring in good results and favorable outcomes is a top priority.

5. Timely

I am already dedicating additional time to storytelling -- my gift and passion. Eliminating distractions, I will continue to put allocated time on my calendar to focus on my personal and professional development. Time management is necessary in order for me to see results and achieve my goals. For a true year of winning, I must be distinctly determined and open to receive support, advice, and guidance.

I am striving to spend more time supporting my family and friends. I previously spoke to all members of my immediate family easily three times a day, that’s now moved to once a week, and I’m not happy about that. I am putting calendar reminders on all of my mobile devices to check-in with my family. This year, I lost my Godmother, and aunt, and I’ve personally learned that time waits for no one. I am present for my job, with my students, and I surely will be more present for my family.

I must admit, I am very aggressive when it comes to event planning and preparation {just ask my fiance}, but I want to have the same attitude with all that I do -- eliminating procrastination and last minute rituals from my life. I am not waiting to the last minute for anything!

Here’s to being SMART -- identifying WHO to partner or work with to learn and grow, WHAT is needed for success, WHERE I need to go and WHEN -- being at the right place, at the right time, setting realistic deadlines and meeting them, with no more procrastination!

Hello to my SMART year of WINNING! #3WON!