Gail Blanke is founder, president, and chief executive officer of Lifedesigns, LLC, a company whose vision is to empower men and women worldwide to live truly exceptional lives.
A renowned executive coach and presentation skills trainer, Ms. Blanke has advised CEO’s, presidential candidates, college presidents – and a jazz musician. Current clients include executives at GE, NY Presbyterian, Merck, TIAA-Cref, Bank of America, McGraw Hill, Feeding America and Gannett. A presidential candidate remarked, “You’ve enabled me to find qualities in myself I didn’t know I had and express myself with power, grace and persuasion. What a difference you’ve made…If I’d met you 10 years earlier, I’d be President by now.”
Considered one of the finest motivational speakers in the country, she has delivered keynote addresses and workshops for scores of corporations including GE, MasterCard, JPMorgan Chase, UBS, AXA Financial, Citigroup, Bank of America, Merck, American Express, Harvard Business School Women’s Alumnae Association and the National Federation of Women Legislators. She’s also delivered keynotes for students at Beijing University, the University of Virginia, the Stern School of New York University and Columbia, among others. She frequently gives keynote addresses for the American Heart Association and is a member of the board of the New York Chapter. She describes her own “Surprise! You Need Heart Surgery!” story on AOL in a segment called, “Living Forward” and in a column for Real Simple called “Follow Your Instincts.”
Ms. Blanke was one of the youngest female senior vice presidents of Avon Products, Inc., where, in addition to her responsibilities as head of global communications, she motivated and inspired Avon’s millions of sales representatives to live the lives of their wildest dreams. A member of the Chairman’s Executive Council, she led the re-positioning of Avon as the world’s premier direct selling company for women and launched the widely acclaimed Avon Breast Cancer Awareness Crusade, which has raised nearly $100 million to date. Prior to her experience at Avon, Ms. Blanke held numerous executive positions at CBS including manager of special promotions for the New York Yankees.
Ms. Blanke is a graduate of Sweet Briar College in Virginia and majored in acting at Yale University Graduate School of Drama. She and her husband, F. James Cusick, a writer, have two grown daughters, Kate and Abigail, and live in New York City.