The Shrimp Tank - Columbus
The Shrimp Tank - Columbus
Great Reputation Begins with Good Character
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Gayle Saunders / Founder & CEO of The Saunders PR Group

Following a dynamic, robust, and award-winning career as a public relations executive and communications expert in-house for numerous reputable organizations, Gayle Saunders launched her own full-service PR firm in 2014 where she continues to lead as a nationally renowned thought leader and expert in reputation management, media relations, crisis communications, community engagement, stakeholder outreach, and media buying. With a portfolio of high-profile clients, Gayle delivers strategies from conception to execution that transform organizations from within and have a ripple effect across communities.

Gayle’s impactful career began in news as a videographer where she made a name for herself as the first Black female news videographer at a TV network in the city of Columbus. It was not simply her demographic that garnered attention; the high-level quality of her work was honored as she was recognized by the Cleveland Press Club for the creation and production of her well received Community Concerns program where her team highlighted issues throughout the community.

In 1996, Gayle became the first female Deputy Director for the City of Columbus where she was instrumental in earning Columbus their Crisis Communications Certificate from the United States Department of Defense. She went on to manage public and community relations for the Central Ohio region of Ameritech/SBC before she transitioned to the role of Chief Communications Officer for Columbus Public Schools, the state’s largest public school district. In 2005, she moved back to the private sector as the Director of Communications for Nationwide Mutual Insurance; in 2012, she returned to education as the Assistant Vice President of Media and Public Relations for The Ohio State University, one of the nation’s top-tier public universities.

Gayle’s career highlights include serving as the liaison to the White House and managing 100+ media outlets during former President Barack Obama’s 2013 commencement speech at OSU; spearheading community wide engagement to support the passage of a $372M capital improvements plan and $62M operating levy and acceptance of a 15-year, $1.3B Facilities Master Plan for Columbus Public Schools; and acting as spokesperson on the ground during Hurricane Katrina for Nationwide Insurance.

As Founder & CEO of The Saunders Company, Gayle now leads teams to deliver comprehensive, grassroots, and strategic PR projects that exceed expectations and win awards for clients including Ohio Lottery, the City of Columbus, and the Office of the Mayor. The company’s work reaches beyond bottom lines as they were selected to create and execute culturally rich campaigns to address infant mortality and continue the city’s Safe Sleep education. Always willing to tackle difficult subjects head-on, The Saunders Company has played a pivotal role in supporting the diversity, inclusion, and equity initiatives of numerous organizations, and Gayle is especially gifted at engaging target audiences in the subject so that entire cultures are transformed.

For her work, Gayle has received numerous recognitions and awards including Business First CEO of the Year (2021); PR News’ CST & Diversity Award, Honorable Mention (2021); Central Ohio’s PR Society of America’s (COPRSA) Prism Award for Excellent PR Strategy (2019, 2020, 2021); YWCA’s Women of Achievement Award (2020); and, most notably, she was the first person of color to receive Central Ohio’s PR Society of America Practitioner of the Year Award (2018).

A graduate of the University of Louisville with a degree in Communication & Journalism, Gayle earned her Community Relations Certificate from Boston College, and she is an Accredited Public Relations (APR) Professional, recognized by the Public Relations Society of America. She is a graduate of Leadership Columbus and the Nationwide Leadership Development Program, and she is an active board member of the University of Louisville Athletic Association. She serves on COPRSA’s board as the Ethics Chair, and she co-founded COPRSA’s Diversity & Inclusion Committee where she was nationally recognized for increasing the board’s diversity and creating a D&I position on the board, a first for a regional chapter.

 

 

Phil Susi / TCP Asset Management
(Host)

Branda Allen / TCP Asset Management
(Co-Host)

Gayle Saunders / The Saunders PR Group
(Guest)