I am so delighted to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the start-up of Gail Golden Consulting with all of you. This is really a joyful day for me, and for the many people who have supported and collaborated with GGC over the past decade.
Ten years ago, on May 7, 2009, I had a meeting with my Managing Director at the consulting firm where I had been working for five-and-a-half years. I knew the firm was in trouble — after all, it was May of 2009 — but I had been assured that my job was secure. So it came as a total shock when he handed me my severance papers and I was literally out on the street, along with a third of the firm’s consultants.
A week later, on May 14, I had a ticket to go to a large women’s networking event. I couldn’t stand the idea of walking in and saying, “Hi, I’m Gail Golden and I’m unemployed.” So my husband, Dan, and I went to Kinko’s and printed up some cheap business cards for me.
That evening at the event I started talking about my non-existent company. Do we do coaching? Sure. How about training? You bet. Do we work with teams? Oh, yes. I even invented a research project so I would have an excuse to reconnect with some of the women I met. And the next morning when I woke up, I thought — “You know, I could do that.” And thus, Gail Golden Consulting was born.
Some of you may be wondering how Gail Golden Consulting got its clever name. While I was still at the consulting firm I had been interviewed for an article in Forbes. When the writer called to fact-check my personal information, I told him I was no longer with the consulting firm. He asked me for the name of my new firm and I explained I hadn’t chosen a name yet. He said, “OK, you have 24 hours.” So Gail Golden Consulting we became.
The next six months were among the most challenging of my life. Remember, it was 2009, not a great time to be starting a business. But I figured I could offer top-quality consulting at a better price than the big consulting firms, and it was game on.
The best part of this story, and what always chokes me up when I remember, is the incredible help that poured in both from people who loved me and from people who barely knew me. A lawyer offered me free use of downtown office space. An IT whiz built my website for free. My hairstylist offered to do my hair for half-price. When I had a medical crisis a few months later, a foreign physician provided the accurate diagnosis over the phone. My first administrative assistant worked for free until I was able to pay her. A colleague gave me free sales coaching that enabled me to win an important new client (over the consulting firm who had let me go – YES!). My son’s new girlfriend showed up at my front door with a pie. (By the way, she turned out to be a keeper – she’s now the mother of my two granddaughters.) The list goes on and on. People offered advice, support, and, most important of all, referrals. By the six month’s mark, we were off and running, and we’ve been jetting forward ever since.
Over the past ten years, I can assure you it has never been boring. We’ve worked with hundreds of business executives, many of whom were promoted to more senior roles. We’ve helped companies chart their strategic direction and accomplish major change initiatives. We’ve worked with organizations to help them become more diverse and navigate MeToo issues. We’ve developed new tools to help our clients understand themselves, think differently, and make substantive changes in how they lead. We’ve written countless articles and presented at major international conferences.
And we’re not done yet. Our international network of top executive coaches and leadership consultants continues to do great work. As some of you know, GGC recently produced a video that is a finalist in “Psycshorts,” a contest sponsored by the American Psychological Association. My book, Curating Your Life, has been accepted for publication next spring. We’re excited about all kinds of new ideas, including people analytics, artificial intelligence, and the incredible breakthroughs in neuropsychology.
Friends, thank you for helping us reach this day. The best is yet to come!