As a professor, speaker, and marketing-and-communications specialist, White Plains’ Gabrielle Gambrell knows the power of persuasive messaging and impactful storytelling. It comes from having the “gift of gab,” she says, with a nod to her parents for an apt nickname that ultimately reflects a skillset she’s honed in the making of a remarkable career.
“Everything from media relations to publicity to internal communications to strategic crisis management — it all comes down to the story and how it is being told and essentially how people are receiving those messages,” Gambrell says, adding that “effective communication is achieved through authenticity, honesty, and transparency.”
The 34-year-old Los Angeleno first came to Westchester County to attend Iona College, where she completed a bachelor’s degree in mass communications, followed by a master’s in public relations with a concentration in sports and entertainment.
“I love all forms of storytelling and knew I wanted to go into communications,” Gambrell says. “I was the editor-in-chief of my high school newspaper in Pacific Palisades, California, and when I visited Iona, I just fell in love: It had small classes; I took advantage of every opportunity on campus and became president of the television and radio stations.”
Driven and focused on her career goals, Gambrell became an intern at ABC’s Live With Regis and Kelly during her senior year of college and later tapped into Iona’s alumni network for her next move.
She landed at the CBS Corporation after meeting Martin “Marty” Daly at a career mentor night at Iona. At the time, Daly was a senior vice president of news and late-night sales for the network. He says he saw her talent right away and helped Gambrell get her foot in the door.
“I worked for almost 44 years at CBS, and I have met many, but Gabby stands out above all. She is a tireless worker who created a reputation for herself that grew outside of CBS,” says Daly.
Gambrell ultimately joined the executive corporate communications team at CBS, working on the Grammys, Super Bowls, the Country Music Awards, and more. “I learned so much,” says Gambrell, foreshadowing the multiple roles she would ultimately play. “I began supporting the chief diversity officer and came up with the corporate diversity strategy.”
That job was a springboard for top communications positions that would follow at Comcast NBC Universal, FCB Global (a worldwide advertising agency), and at Barnard College, where Gambrell made history by becoming the first Black woman and youngest ever to lead the college’s marketing-and-communications department.
Life got even fuller for the busy executive after she and her husband, Jeffrey, joyfully welcomed a son, along with a new step in Gambrell’s career during the pandemic.
“I launched my own boutique marketing-and-PR agency, (Gift of Gabrielle), and I was really selective.… I was the most successful I had ever been,” says Gambrell, who worked with top-tier companies, like Verizon and Yahoo, explaining that her background and expertise in diversity, equity, and inclusion communications increasingly became in high demand. The timing was a blessing, she adds, with circumstances allowing her to be home for her son’s first year of life. Most recently, she has taken on a full-time senior communications strategy role at Amazon.
With a deep commitment to the value of education, Gambrell also works as a graduate adjunct professor at New York University, where she teaches integrated marketing, digital, and social corporate communications courses, in addition to being an instructor at Columbia University.
“I am very proud to raise my child here. I’m a Westchester girl.”
Success has been fueled by many factors, she says, including surrounding herself with a network of people who are “ambitious dreamers and doers who push me, and I push them,” along with a deep faith and “personal relationship with God,” she says. “That is my utmost, my center; it is my reason.”
Gambrell says that settling in White Plains has been a great fit for her young family — its proximity to New York City, the shopping, restaurants, and the beautiful homes are ideal, she explains. “I became a homeowner at 27, and I am very proud to raise my child here. I’m a Westchester girl.”
In July of 2020, Gambrell was named to the Iona College Board of Trustees, as the appointed representative of the Iona College Alumni Board of Directors. Giving back and fostering success in others is in her DNA, having mentored well over 200 students and graduates seeking guidance.
“She is a superior networker,” says Daly of his meteoric mentee. “Gabby lights up a room when she comes in, and she is well-versed in getting along with everyone.”
Summer flash sale ... subscribe and save 50%
Limited time offer. New subscribers only.