Light and truth for Yale’s future
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. She credits her time at Yale with giving her the necessary tools for an interesting and varied career: an inquiring and rigorous thought process, an openness to different perspectives, and a keen understanding of the value of listening and clear communication.
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, where local communications were key, 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.
As a legislator, Gail developed or supported many proposals to make Connecticut’s government less costly and more efficient, create a fertile climate for jobs, and make the state more competitive as a place to live, work, raise a family, and retire. She also advocated for protection of environmental resources and open space, strategic workforce development, and equitable state funding for urban schools. She was also an outspoken opponent of expanding the state’s powers of eminent domain. 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.