Gail Hanson happened to enter my life at the exact moment I needed her. I met her at a dinner party, and we got chatting about the work that we do. We spoke about my ambition of building a clothing brand. Gail having held a position for the state of Wisconsin, in a financial capacity, I asked her for advice on loans or grants I could apply for. She instantly offered to connect me with WWBIC. WWBIC was my connection to KIVA loans, a zero percent interest loan that is crowd funded. It worked out brilliantly for me, WWBIC and KIVA connected me with some amazing people and provided me with wonderful opportunities to grow my business.
Gail recently retired from her post as CFO of Aurora Healthcare in Wisconsin. She is a board member for several organizations. She is hilarious, extremely kind and very generous with her connections she has made throughout her careers. She worked in the field of accounting at a time where there were few women.
AMU: You have had an amazing career all your life, you have held several prominent positions. You were an accountant at a time where it was a male dominated industry and very few women were present. Who were the women in your life who inspired you?
Gail: My mother inspired me. She had her own real estate business back in the day. I was raised to believe that girls can do anything. I was never taught that girls could not do math, or could not pursue what they want.
AMU: In your career, did you ever come across people who tried to hinder your career?
Gail: I never had anyone like that. There are two kinds of people, mentors and sponsors. Mentors give you advice and help you in your career. Sponsors are people who go the additional mile to help a person in their career. I have had alot of sponsors in my life. It was a former boss of mine, who recommended me to the board for Aurora Healthcare. Later, when there was an opening for the CFO position at Aurora Healthcare, it was this former boss who recommended me from board to staff.
Try not to burn any bridges through your career, you never know when roles in your past can bring on opportunities in the future.
AMU: When I design my clothes, I imagine a woman who works in corporate. I imagine her wearing AMU at work, for meetings or events. When I worked for a corporate, the attitude was a woman who dresses up, pays more attention to her clothes than her work, and it was frowned upon. What has your experience been seeing women express their personality through their clothes, and the acceptance of it at the workplace?
Gail: I had a staff member who loved to dress in turquoise and peach. She always looked beautiful! At her retirement party, I made sure I wore one of her favorite colors to the party. I started my career in the 70’s . Women used to wear skirts and not pant suits. It was more a quasi male figure in the work environment. But I see alot of changes and acceptance now a days. I think women can wear color at the work place.
AMU: What do you feel about AMU as a brand?
Gail: I enjoy your clothing because they are modest. I feel people can wear them around and to work. I feel AMU is not something you find in stores. I find your clothes to be wearable and creative. I especially like the wrap pants to you in your store.
Gail is wearing a custom printed jacket with a red and blue double block printed lattice print. To place an order for a custom product, click here.
Photographer: Brandon Brown from Roost Photography
Make Up Artist: Jessi Rivera- Walz from www.instagram.com/_river.rose/
“I was raised to believe that girls can do anything. I was never taught that girls could not do math, or could not pursue what they want”