MEET THE TEAM: Gary Geipel
JWA consultants are not only savvy communications professionals. They also lead fascinating lives outside of work. Meet Gary Geipel, who thrives on diverse commitments and interests.
Gary Geipel believes in keeping many doors open. With a B.A. in journalism from the University of Southern California and a freshly earned doctorate in international relations from Columbia University, he took a job as a think-tank researcher and administrator. That work grew beyond foreign policy to include education, workforce development, healthcare, and other domestic policy issues. At the same time, he started teaching at a university and honed his writing skills. Several years later, he moved to the biopharmaceuticals industry as a speechwriter for senior leaders and eventually worked on global policy issues facing drug developers. The other doors stayed open, however. Two years after leaving full-time corporate work, Gary today supports several JWA clients in biopharma. But he also writes policy analyses for the National Institute for Public Policy and is a professor and doctoral-program director for the Department of Defense and Strategic Studies at Missouri State University.
Despite this very full schedule, Gary finds time to volunteer for a literacy program called ReadUP which is administered by the United Way of Central Indiana. “Volunteers help third graders read books, guiding the youngsters over the bumps of pronunciation and vocabulary while making reading fun,” says Gary. “As far as I’m concerned, there is no more urgent challenge in America’s education system than reversing the decline in literacy. Third grade is a pivot point because if reading skills are not embedded by then, students will likely never develop them at a high level.”
Left: Gary volunteers at a literacy program called ReadUP.
When asked why he volunteers with this organization when he has so much already on his plate, Gary says, “I love this program because I do feel it makes a difference. The smile of a kid who learns to read, understand and enjoy a book is a reward like no other. Doing this is no sacrifice. I miss reading to my own kids (long gone from “the nest”), and so I look forward to these hours.”
Gary also notes that he is energized when juggling multiple priorities and does better across all pursuits when he has different areas of focus. He enjoys being a consultant for JWA because it affords him the opportunity to engage in the challenging and exciting aspects of corporate communications while preserving time for other pursuits that he craves. “That’s a tribute to JWA’s founders who recognized the potential of an experienced-talent model on both the client and consultant sides. And it’s a tribute to the assembled JWA team members. In their abilities, attitudes, and collaborative spirit, this is a group of professionals unlike any I’ve had the pleasure of working with throughout my career.”
Above: Gary and his family are avid Green Bay Packers fans.
Above: Gary and his wife Kristin on one of their many adventures at the Olana State historic site above the Hudson in New York State.
In his rare free moments, Gary is a die-hard traveler. “If a cool art or history exhibition, a tennis tournament, a Green Bay Packers game, or a hike still on my bucket list beckons, then I often find a way to get there,” Gary says. He is introspective when considering the things that are important at this stage of his life. He sums it up as follows: “Gaining new insights, the chances to watch exhilarating competitions, having conversations with people who see the world differently, and experiencing nature…these are life’s blessings in my opinion.”