Membership Spotlight – Gayle Gallagher

Gayle Gallagher2

On a continuous basis, IABC highlights one of its diverse members through a Q&A feature. We are pleased to showcase Gayle Gallagher, ABC, senior copywriter for Harland Clarke. Gallagher has been an IABC member for 23 years.

IABC:  What is your background?

GALLAGHER:  I worked my way through college after getting married at the age of 21. After too many years, I graduated with a degree in Literature from the University of North Florida in Jacksonville. I had taken advertising and communication courses to supplement my useless knowledge of Chaucer and other British poets, and parlayed that into a position as direct mail manager and advertising copywriter at Florida National Bank. I later worked at Barnett Banks, Inc. (now Bank of America) in their Corporate Communications Department, where I was editor of the employee newsletter, wrote and reported for our corporate video news program, and wrote speeches for bank executives. My experience in direct marketing led me to Harte Hanks, a multi-channel marketing company. From there, I was recruited by a boutique data-marketing agency in Franklin, Tennessee.


IABC:  How did you get started in your business?

GALLAGHER:  I was managing direct marketing (DM) for Florida National Bank back in the day when DM was becoming more sophisticated in the use of data for market segmentation. I relied on data experts for that part, while honing my skills as a DM copywriter—which is a horse of a different color compared to writing for brand advertising. DM is measurable and adjustable–allowing offer, copy, design, and mail format to be tested for best results.


IABC:  What is your current position and business affiliation? How long have your been in this role?

GALLAGHER:   I am Senior Copywriter for Harland Clarke and have been in this role for almost nine years.


IABC:  What makes your business/organization stand out?

GALLAGHER:  Harland Clarke is a leading provider of best-in-class integrated payment solutions, marketing services, and retail products for financial institutions, investment firms, B2B clients, businesses, and individual consumers.


IABC:  If you could describe yourself in three (3) words, what would it be?

GALLAGHER:  Curious, Happy, Resourceful.


IABC:  Tell something about yourself people would be surprised to learn.

GALLAGHER:  Most people know I’m an animal advocate and work with rescue groups. But many people don’t know that I dabble in song writing. I’ve been privileged to co-write with two accomplished songwriters—one who produced Brittney Spears’ early hits and co-wrote the McDonald’s theme song “Lovin’ It” — and one who has written hits for A-list artists. My collaborations with them have not produced anything you’ll hear on the radio, but we’ve made some good music.


IABC:  What lesson(s) have you learned along the way that you believe has made you a better communications professional?

GALLAGHER:  I used to read an excellent newsletter called Communication Briefings (still available online), and it once had a quote I’ll never forget: Avoid pompous pen paralysis for plain-talk English. That summed up clear communication for me. I also think that studying Literature in college prepared me to be an effective copywriter. I had to read tomes on a subject and boil it all down to a thesis statement. So the other critical lesson was how to write with an economy of language.


IABC:  What makes an effective communications leader?

GALLAGHER:  Professional communicators hunger for results and feedback. When you can show them, for example, how a particular study on consumer behavior—or even a point of grammar—affects their craft, this stirs their professional passion and gives them renewed vision and purpose. Good leaders care about the effect of their work, and infect their team likewise.


IABC:  What do you feel is the greatest benefit of IABC?

GALLAGHER: There are so many: the shared challenges and victories, the professional development opportunities, the networking, the global connections.


IABC:  What prompted you to join IABC?

GALLAGHER: My manager at Florida National Bank took me to my first meeting in 1989. My manager at Barnett Bank encouraged her internal communication team to join, which I did in 1991. I became an ABC in 1995. I’ve loved every second of my membership. It’s the best professional association on the planet!

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