Gabrielle (Benson) Elisabeth, is our first alumni spotlight for July. A graduate of Robert Alexander High School (2010) in Douglas County and of the University of West Georgia (2014). She currently lives in New York City, performing in Beautiful The Carole King Musical as Little Eva/ Shirelle on Broadway and is pursuing a career in the film and television industry. She’s also appeared on the TV show, The Marvelous Mrs.Maisel (season 2 on Amazon Prime). She was recognized and awarded by University of West Georgia with the 30 under 30 award for being on top of her career and she serves with several organizations that help give back to her local community through the arts.

Gabrielle says that 21CL provided her a safe place to learn how to be confident and to present herself in a business environment and opened her eyes to a world of opportunities. 

How did participating in 21CL transform you and lead you to where you are now?

21st Century Leaders helped me gain confidence in myself and helped me learn how to present myself in a business environment. I was a very shy child and having a safe place to learn these skills was an amazing opportunity.

How did 21CL prepare you for your next steps? Going into college and taking on leadership roles, heading into a new era of professionalism, etc. What skills/tools/perspectives have helped you along the way?

21st Century Leaders helped me see just how big the world is and how there are so many different types of people with an endless amount of skills. This may sound intimidating at first, but it helped me realize how important it is to work hard at your craft and to find what makes YOU stand out.

Which programs did you participate in, and when? What skills did you gain or improve through those programs?

I attended the summer leadership institute, EarthCare with Georgia Power in summer of 2010. I mainly learned self-confidence and how to conduct myself in business situations.

What was a memorable or ‘aha’ moment in 21CL? (Particular program, meeting professional and diverse peers, speaking in public for the first time, etc.?)

A standout moment for me during the program was having dinner with business professionals. Learning proper table etiquette and conversing with people who have already established themselves in their chosen field was important. It showed me that business is just as much social as it is professional.

Did 21CL assist you in developing a leadership style that makes you an effective leader? if so how? And have you recently learned something else about leadership? Please share!
21st Century Leaders definitely taught me the importance of following through, but also the importance of listening. Sometimes the best leaders say the least. It’s not always about getting the glory or being the face of a project. There is so much strength and professionalism in the details.