Leading with Fearless Compassion

by Stacy Evans | Published by Austin Business Journal

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Photo by Mark Seliger, Graphic courtesy of Austin Business Journal

[ARTICLE] Gay Gaddis broke barriers in advertising, cut paths for others to follow.

Gay Gaddis has attained a somewhat legendary status in many Austin circles. Known for being a work-life pioneer, Gaddis challenged the status quo in the 1990s by allowing people to bring both babies and pets into the office at her successful advertising firm, T3.

Over the 30 years, Gaddis built the largest independent, female-owned ad agency in the United States and developed T3’s reputation as a place where huge companies such as 7-Eleven and UPS tapped into creative ways to reach consumers.

In 2019 — not knowing that our lives and work were destined to change completely — she sold the company. Not missing a beat, Gaddis scurried to launch the executive education program Women Who Mean Business at the University of Texas at Austin.

Meanwhile, she took full advantage of the extra time at home by working overtime in her private art studio outside Marble Falls, Fossil Ridge. While many of us were slowing down, Gaddis saw the pandemic as yet another new puzzle to solve.

Gaddis serves on the board of the Texas Exes alumni group and on the Dean’s Advisory Council for the McCombs School of Business. She was inducted into the McCombs School Hall of Fame in 2020. In 2020, Gaddis won the Liz Carpenter Lifetime Achievement Award from Women Communicators of Austin.

Gaddis, who was named one of Austin Business Journal’s Best CEOs in the inaugural award program in 2011, is the 2011 winner of the Best CEO Legacy Award. Austin Business Journal recent spoke with the entrepreneurial maven about your life, legacy and art.

I know your father died when you were 13, and you started working right away to help you mother financially. What did she think when you announced you were going to college to study art? My mother supported me 100%. And I’ll be really candid with you… [Continue reading]