Director of Development
Gabrielle enjoyed an idyllic suburban childhood in a county just outside of Baltimore, MD where she spent many a day wistfully dreaming of life someplace more glamorous; a place full of grit, hustle, ambition, and possibility. Following her first visit to New York City – to see her grandfather and the Broadway production of Tap Dance Kid – that 9 year-old made it her singular mission in life to call that place her adulthood home. Enamored by the endless lights of the town and the sheer spectacle of the stage, she was clear where she belonged.
The road there was less clear. Gabrielle went off to Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY to study ‘International Finance’ – a somewhat contrived academic pursuit that spoke to her interest in traveling the world and achieving financial success. In less than a year in undergrad, a minimal interest in macroeconomics was confirmed, and Gabrielle instead found herself drawn to the Drama Department. It was in the theater that she found her voice, her platform, and her community.
After receiving her BA in Drama and Africana Studies, she finally made the Big Move to New York City where she went on to earn her Master’s Degree in Performance Studies at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She continued to pursue the theater as a director and an actor while also pursuing work in non-profit fund development to support herself. Over time, she moved more and more away from the theater and focused her professional efforts on raising money and securing resources for a variety of important causes and institutions, including United Negro College Fund, Bottomless Closet New York, City College of New York, and Poly Prep Country Day School. She has done freelance and consulting work for a list of clients including NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Fiver Children’s Foundation, Global Language Project and the Peter Westbrook Foundation. She also teaches fund development at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Social Work.
As the former Board Chair of viBe Theater Experience and a member of the Advisory Board of Brooklyn Children’s Theatre, she has been able to merge her love for theater and work in non-profit management through volunteerism. However, it was at Opening Act where she finally found her professional home.
After more than two decades of being a fundraiser and consultant, Gabrielle was introduced to Opening Act. She was especially moved by the emphasis on inclusion and the commitment to providing a space and platform for young people to tell their own narratives in their own words using devised theater and improvisation tools. She was also excited that the organization was thriving with smart, creative, and talented leadership and administrative staff. She is thrilled and honored to be the Director of Development for Opening Act. Every day, she looks forward to doing the work that supports the dreams of incredible and deserving young people is this, the city of her dreams.