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May 7, 2021

Gail Lavielle Launches Petition Campaign for Yale Corporation Alumni Fellow

Gail Lavielle (MA, ’81) announced that she has begun the process of petitioning for a spot on the ballot for the 2022 election for Alumni Fellow of the Yale Corporation, the university’s board of trustees.

Wilton, CT – Yale alumna and Wilton resident Gail Lavielle (MA, ’81) announced that she has begun the process of petitioning for a spot on the ballot for the 2022 election for Alumni Fellow of the Yale Corporation, the university’s board of trustees. The petition to collect the alumni signatures required for her to appear on next year’s ballot will open on May 24th.

“The more I talk with Yale alumni, the more I hear concerns about Yale’s future,” notes Lavielle. “One reason is the opacity surrounding the Yale Corporation. Its meeting minutes are embargoed for 50 years. Candidates nominated by the university’s Alumni Fellow Nominating Committee are selected behind closed doors, and they are instructed to stay silent about their vision for Yale. Their names are not even disclosed until more than a full year after petitioning candidates have declared their intention to seek a spot on the ballot.

“I do not believe that this is the best way to ensure that Yale benefits fully from the competence, intellect, and breadth of experience of its distinguished alumni. The quality of Yale’s graduates is arguably its greatest accomplishment,” continued Lavielle. “Surely they should have a voice in Yale’s future. Yet they are asked to vote for trustees without knowledge of their priorities for Yale. They have no information even on the topics being discussed by the Yale Corporation. While the nominating committee’s candidates have strong credentials, how can anyone cast a truly informed ballot? Where are the lux et veritas in this? The university would clearly benefit from greater transparency around the Yale Corporation and significant reform of its election process.”

In discussing several of her other priorities, Lavielle said, “One of my longstanding interests is supporting and improving our excellent tradition of university education that teaches people how to think – not what to think. For generations, Yale was the unquestioned leader in doing this. If it rekindles that spirit and goal of inquiry now, even as it forges ahead in educating students in today’s new and essential technological and scientific disciplines, I have every faith that Yale can spearhead a welcome return to cordiality and constructive discussion in our society.”

As a petitioning candidate for the 2022 Yale Corporation Alumni Fellow election, Gail Lavielle must collect at least 4,400 signatures between May 24 and October 1, 2021. Once open, the petition will be available on her web site: www.GailforYale.com.

Click here for Lavielle’s full statement about why she is running, her background, and how she would approach the role of Alumni Fellow.

About Gail Lavielle

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 as an elected member of the Connecticut House of Representatives. 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, Lavielle 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, Lavielle 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 her 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, Lavielle 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, Lavielle 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, Lavielle 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. She also advocated 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. A former 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.