Gabrielle Simpson Gambrell earned her bachelor’s degree from Iona in Mass Communication with honors, as well as a master’s degree in Public Relations with a concentration in Entertainment and Sports.
Gambrell chose Iona because of its proximity to New York City, for professional opportunities, Division I athletics, a vast alumni network and a campus that felt like home. Iona turned out to be an ideal launching pad for a spectacularly successful communications career, and the place where Gambrell met her husband and many of her closest friends.
“Iona is a small college with a huge community,” she explained. “It also offered many leadership opportunities. I was most active in the Gospel Choir, where I was vice president and public relations manager, and I was president of Iona College Television and the radio station.” She also served in student government.
“After graduation, I entered the competitive field of media and entertainment. I knew how to do the work, and I was prepared with a superb hands-on education.”
This education eventually positioned Gambrell to become the first Black woman and the youngest person to serve as vice president, head of marketing and communications at Barnard College of Columbia University. She was named to PRWeek’s 2019 Hall of Femme: Women to Watch list. Previously, Gambrell was global director of communications and public relations at Foote, Cone & Belding; director of communications for Comcast NBCUniversal; and manager of communications for CBS Corporation. She began her career as a production assistant on ABC’s “Live with Regis and Kelly” and as a broadcast associate for CBS Sports.
Gambrell also works to create opportunities for others. At Comcast NBCUniversal she supported diversity and inclusion initiatives and served as an adviser to the company’s Young Professionals Network. She served as a charter member of CBS’ first corporate-wide diversity council. In 2014, Ebony.com recognized Gambrell for her dedication to diversity and inclusion in the media industry.
As a member of Iona’s alumni board, Gambrell says, “One of my greatest joys in life is giving back to Iona. Iona provided me with an amazing tribe and community. I will forever be connected to Iona.”
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