We are thrilled to announce that Gail Lavielle GRD '81 was recently elected to the Buckley Program's Board of Directors.
Our chairman, Roger Kimball, comments: “I am delighted to welcome Gail Lavielle to the board of the William F. Buckley, Jr. Program. Her commitment to the principles of liberal education and open debate will make her a valuable colleague in our battle against the endarkening forces of political correctness."
"I am honored to join the board of the Buckley Program. It has been inspiring to see the impressive growth of this organization over the past decade," notes Lavielle. "Our mission of promoting diversity of thought is more relevant today than ever before, and I am looking forward to pursuing it with board colleagues, our dedicated staff, our talented student participants, and the many eminent faculty members, speakers, and supporters who participate in our events. The Buckley Program has contributed so much to the free exchange of ideas, and I am grateful to play a part in its efforts."
Gail Lavielle’s career has spanned many years in both the public and private sectors and in many countries. After 26 years in the corporate world — about half that time in France and the other half in the United States — she spent a decade in elected office in Connecticut.
From 1981 until 2008, Gail worked in finance, marketing, and communication, holding executive leadership positions in several corporations. She began her career in New York at Morgan Guaranty Trust Company, first completing training in corporate finance and then heading worldwide advertising. Subsequently, she and her husband, Jean-Pierre, moved to Paris, where they lived for 14 years. During that time, she significantly broadened her international experience, as all of her professional activities were focused on France, Europe, and Africa.
As CEO of a French subsidiary of the Interpublic Group specialized in communications and public affairs, she managed a company through a severe recession and doubled revenues while running it for five years at a substantial profit. She also served as Senior Vice President, Corporate Affairs, and member of the Executive Committee of Suez Environnement, the world’s largest water and wastewater services company. There, she managed people in more than 30 developed and developing countries and worked closely with the international financial community.
The Lavielles returned to the United States when Suez Environnement transferred Gail to its North American corporate office. They settled in Wilton, Connecticut, where she volunteered for a number of local organizations and served in Wilton town government.
In 2010, Gail was elected to Connecticut’s state House of Representatives, where for 10 years she represented the 143rd district, covering parts of the small towns of Wilton and Westport, as well as a section of the city of Norwalk. She left public office in January 2021, after choosing not to run for a sixth term.
During her most recent term, Gail was Assistant Minority Leader and House Ranking Member of the Connecticut legislature’s largest joint House/Senate committee, Appropriations, and a member of the Education Committee and the Transportation Committee. In previous years she had also served as Ranking Member of the Education Committee, as well as a member of the Finance Committee and the Higher Education Committee. She was recognized multiple times by various organizations for her work on education and the environment.
Gail was born and raised in Houston, Texas. She holds an MA in French from Yale and a BA in English from Cornell, as well as an MBA in finance from the University of Connecticut. As a classical music critic, she wrote reviews for The Wall Street Journal and is the author of a book on opera. A dual citizen of the United States and France, she is bilingual in English and French.
Gail is a Fellow of the Yankee Institute for Public Policy in Connecticut. She also serves as a Board Director of several organizations: the Center for Workforce Inclusion, a national nonprofit in Washington, DC that works to provide meaningful employment opportunities for older individuals; the American Hospital of Paris Foundation; and the Helicon Foundation, which explores chamber music in its historical context by presenting and producing period performances, including an annual subscription series of four Symposiums in New York featuring both performance and discussion of chamber music.