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Introducing the very first episode of Wild Cards, the podcast for anyone looking to take their game to the next level.
In this episode, Tillo CEO and Co-Founder Alex Preece sits down with none other than Gail Cohen, Director General of the Gift Card and Voucher Association (GCVA) – a role she has held since 2015.
Anyone with connections to the GCVA knows just how much Gail has contributed to the gift card industry. Her infectious personality, passion, drive and perseverance have helped her take the GCVA from fledgling Voucher Association to a world-renowned organisation with more than 90 active members, including major retailers and service providers.
From holding a senior position at Cartier in her mid-twenties to starting a family as a single parent and working cash-in-hand, the episode unravels the ups and downs of life as a maverick and how ultimately, after many years of successes and learnings, Gail ended up working for the GCVA.
In this episode, Gail reveals personal insight into what it was like to grow up with undiagnosed ADHD, how she learned to work with her neurodivergence instead of against it and what this meant for her throughout her career.
“It’s a struggle when you’re a very smart person with a lot to say and a brain, but you can’t get it down on paper, and you constantly interrupt people, can’t get it down on paper and can’t listen, it’s not considered a good trait.”
It also uncovers some uncomfortable truths about what it was like for Gail as a young woman in a male-dominated business world, revealing what she had to do to overcome gender inequality and how this ultimately shaped many of her earliest years in business.
“It was one of those situations where powerful little bossy women who gained too much power, when the big boys came in, they didn’t like much, and they didn’t make it easy for me, and I found myself ousted…”
Gail also gives us some valuable insight into what the future of gift cards may look like, how Fintechs have an increasingly vital role to play and what the industry needs to do to stay relevant in our modern and ever-changing world.
“People want to be part of something that looks good, feels good, that sounds good and is modern and contemporary. And we (the GCVA) keep moving and changing because this is a dynamic environment.”
For all this and much more, including the biggest myths about gift cards, how gift cards can save lives and whether we need to change how we name gift cards, be sure to listen to the full Wild Cards episode on Spotify or Apple music. Alternatively, you can find the full video on YouTube.