Gay Gaddis: How to Kick Ass in Business and Life

May 7 - On The Dot

FIRST THOUGHT: Tapping into Cowgirl Power

Here’s a fun piece of trivia for you: In the heyday of cowboys, in the early 1900s, one of the best lassoing and roping cowboys was, well, actually a cowgirl! Her name was Lucille Mulhall, and at just 14, she was so good at cowgirling that she was invited to compete in a Rough Riders rodeo, with Teddy Roosevelt cheering her on, no less. After taking first place, Lucille went on to create her own touring show. While many embraced her, the media wasn’t sure what to call her. While her skills often exceeded those of cowboys, at least one newspaper referred to her as the “lassoer in lingerie,” even though she was quite clothed. This got me thinking that women have even tougher skin when we’re pursuing exactly what we want. This cowgirl just wanted to ride a horse instead of sipping a dainty cup of tea. And despite others’ opinions, she more than proved her mettle. Today, take Lucille’s story as a little inspiration. Rally your inner cowgirl and trot your own way!


More than a century after Lucille Mulhall took the rodeo world by storm, women are still fighting to be equal in most industries. Take the biggest event in modern-day entertainment, for instance, the Super Bowl. According to Ad Age, in the past decade, a whopping 76 percent of Super Bowl ads featured men as the central characters. And when women were principle characters in these ads, they were most often portrayed as sex objects. I guess someone forgot to inform marketers that women watch football too!

WOMAN TO WATCH: Gay Gaddis, Founder and CEO of T3

If you think cowgirl boots and business success don’t go together, you haven’t met today’s sassy and savvy Woman to Watch, Gay Gaddis. Gay is the proud founder and CEO of T3, aka The Think Tank, an award-winning advertising agency that has innovation and soul at the core of everything it does.

T3, which has offices nationwide, has been crafting unique and engaging campaigns for big-name brands for 30 years, developing key digital marketing plans for Fortune 200 clients and creating meaningful experiences for consumers.

But it’s Gay’s most recent endeavor that has us most excited. She recently released a book titled Cowgirl Power: How to Kick Ass in Business and Life, in which this fiery powerhouse shares her no-nonsense approach to how she created one of the biggest and most successful woman-owned ad agencies in the United States.

Cowgirl Power, however, is about so much more. Gay’s words are part story, part lesson. Using her own ambitious journey, woven with gritty and impassioned stories of early 20th century cowgirls, Gay emboldens female readers to access a little of their own horse sense in order to cultivate their power in life and career, and lead like the fearless cowgirls they are.

Amid all her success, Gay gracefully balances her down-in-the-dirt, ranching cowgirl life with that of her perceptive, boardroom-ruling, business-savvy persona, all the while cultivating an empowering company culture at T3. It’s no surprise then that Gay has received countless awards and honors for her work, including being named one of Fast Company’s Top 25 Women Business Builders and one of Inc. magazine’s Top 10 Entrepreneurs of the Year.

At the core of Gay’s success is what she believes is paramount to being a good leader: building and maintaining trust among your team and keeping the collective spirit high. Combined with her penchant for being thankful for her blessings while unapologetically tapping into her limitless cowgirl power, Gay has lassoed an enviable career in a male-dominated field, and done it all on her own terms.


One of Gay Gaddis’ favorite quotes is from Muhammad Ali, who said:

“If your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough.”

This is Melinda Garvey signing off until next time. Remember, ladies, empowered women empower other women. Share On the Dot so more women can have a voice. Thanks for getting ready with us.

To learn more about our conversation, check us out at and talk to us @OnTheDotWoman on Twitter and Instagram. We’d love to hear your voice.

Head shot by Mark Seliger.

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