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Frequently Asked Questions

Meet Gail

Why do you want to serve on the Yale Corporation?

I’m running for trustee because I love Yale and am increasingly concerned for its future. This campaign is focused on light and truth, just like Yale’s motto. The quality of its graduates is perhaps Yale’s greatest accomplishment, and we should be justifiably proud of it. Those graduates – our alumni – could and should be one of the university’s most important resources as it confronts decisions about its present and future. But Yale’s alumni cannot contribute their viewpoints unless they have access to important information affecting the decisions of Yale’s governing body, nor can they participate meaningfully in the Alumni Fellow Election when trustee candidates are instructed to stay silent on issues. I want to help ensure that our alumni can be more engaged in the exchange of ideas, and to do this, we must bring transparency and openness to the Yale Corporation.

I also believe that it’s important, as we strengthen Yale’s position in the STEM disciplines, to preserve and reinforce at the same time Yale’s great tradition as a leader unequaled in the liberal arts and humanities. People who are educated not only to rise to new technical challenges, but also to think about and understand their effects on the world and its population and to provide a historical context for current affairs will be the best equipped to ensure that our civilization moves forward, not backward, and that society becomes more cordial and humane.

Finally, I believe it’s important to seek out alumni views on priorities and policies as actively as possible. If elected, I intend to approach alumni regularly through a variety of communication tools in order to be sure that I am properly conveying to Corporation colleagues their priorities and perspectives. 

Why run as a petition candidate?

There are two ways a candidate can get on the ballot for Alumni Fellow: by petition or through the Yale Alumni Association Alumni Fellow Nominating Committee. Candidates put forward by the Committee are expected to stay silent about where they stand on issues. This rule is disrespectful to alumni and inhibits their ability to cast an informed vote. Seeking a place on the ballot by petition is the only way to have an overdue and honest conversation about both the challenges and opportunities our alma mater is facing.

What are your qualifications for serving as a trustee of the Corporation?

I have many years of experience in both the private and the public sectors. In each of these contexts, I was required to collaborate with others, to develop consensus, and to create and grow productive collegial relationships, even with those who disagreed with me. I know that boards are not an appropriate place for personal agendas, and that they are most effective when they come to agreement by reconciling and accommodating diversity of opinion. I know that the job of a board director or trustee is to foster this kind of collaboration – not to bring proceedings to a stalemate.

While working in the private sector, I lived in France for 14 years and worked with clients from all over Europe and Africa. This gave me the gift of an open mind — a readiness to consider diverse points of view and to think in new ways about issues and problems. Thinking in more than one language and functioning entirely in other cultures taught me that listening can be much more important than talking. I never assume that anyone else thinks like I do or that my way is the only way.

As an elected representative in Connecticut state government, I was deeply involved in education issues, and came to understand a great deal about state policies that can and do affect Yale. As SVP of corporate affairs worldwide for Suez Environnement, then the world’s largest water company, I developed a strong commitment not only to water conservation, but also to other environmental policies that are of great interest to the Yale community. This commitment later led me to play a leadership role in passing several key pieces of environmental legislation in Connecticut.

In elected office, I was fortunate to have been able to see how it felt to represent a substantial constituency, which itself represented enormous variation in political viewpoints. So I have the experience of reconciling those viewpoints and of deciding how to vote to support them. It’s not an easy exercise, but I always relied most heavily on facts and constituent input, and I always made it a priority to explain my votes thoroughly to constituents. I have demonstrated that I know how to do these things, and I would certainly do them again as trustee.

The Process

When and how can I sign the petition to place your name on the ballot?

The petition period runs from May 24th to October 1st. You can sign online or by paper form. Sign up here to be notified when the petition process opens.

How many signatures are required to get on the ballot?

I need to collect 4,464 signatures, 3% of all eligible alumni, by October 1st.

When is the actual election?

The election will take place in April/May 2022.

Yale Corporation

What is the Yale Corporation?

The Yale Corporation is the University’s governing body, also known as the Board of Trustees. Six of the nineteen trustees are elected by alumni for a six-year term and are known as Alumni Fellows.

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