Gail Marquis

With perseverance, she pressed on.

Gail Marquis wasn’t born into greatness

She didn’t become a professional athlete overnight. She wasn’t given that corner office at a Wall Street firm. And she wasn’t handed her MBA or her position as a mentor. She started from the bottom and did everything in her power to achieve what she has today. Gail Marquis is a proud, determined University of Phoenix graduate. And now in her 60s, she’s still changing the game.

Born and raised in Queens, NY, Gail Marquis’ leadership accolades began in her teens, when she took part in her high school’s first sanctioned women’s basketball team. She would go on to become a world-renowned basketball star, representing her country in international competition. In a world that didn’t see women’s basketball as an international sport, Gail changed the game.

Gail was determined to be more than a decorated athlete, so she passed the Series 7 examination and walked into one of the largest financial firms on Wall Street. She knew sports, she knew dedication, and she knew she could hang with the toughest guys in the room. She didn’t just survive; she thrived.  And kept thriving for 30 years. In a world that didn’t see a black woman as a Wall Street executive, Gail changed the game.

When Gail fell in love in 1999, it wasn’t in the conventional way either. She loved a fashion guru who was 20 years her senior. Together, they were a same-sex power couple who never cared what people thought. And together, they advocated for marriage equality. They marched, they chanted - and eventually, they won. In a world that wouldn’t see two women marrying, Gail changed the game.

After decades of succeeding on Wall Street, Gail knew her success wasn’t enough. She wasn’t concerned with money, but by how far she could go. So, she enrolled at the University of Phoenix to earn her MBA. She worked tirelessly-on her own time, in between obligations, on a schedule that fit her lifestyle. And in a world that had long considered traditional, conventional colleges as the only route, Gail changed the game.

Today, Gail’s message is that no matter who you are, you belong. She teaches that you can forge your own path into business and you don’t have to be six feet tall to make sure nobody stands in your way. With hopes to inspire hundreds of students’ lives - she’s not stopping any time soon.

Gail Marquis broke records and then she broke barriers. She went from athlete, to mogul, to mentor. And in a world that can be divided and conventional, Gail changed the game. And we are proud to call her a Phoenix.

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