Gail Hall, the retiring director of finance at the Boys and Girls Club of Albany, came to the organization more than 30 years ago. (Staff Photo: Jennifer Parks)
ALBANY — After her two children were grown, Gail Hall wanted to work at a place that had a positive impact on the community and one in which the people of the community could stand behind. As a result of this, she started off working in bohttp://www.albanyherald.com/admin/news/story/337821/#okkeeping at the Boys and Girls Club of Albany and eventually became director of finance at the organization.
THE GAIL HALL FILE
NAME: Gail Hall
POSITION: Director of finance, Boys and Girls Club of Albany
ON THE JOB SINCE: September 1978
FAMILY: Two daughters, two granddaughters, a grandson and three great-grandchildren
EDUCATION: Cordele High School, and college courses at Darton State College and Albany Technical College
DID YOU KNOW?: Used to work in animal care at Chehaw, feeding and cleaning cages. Her favorite animals were the alligators.
Now, after more than three decades there, she is retiring from full-time work in order to spend time with her growing family — which now includes three great-grandchildren. Having been in the work force since she was a teenager, she recently indicated that she would have to make an adjustment not just to retirement — but from the people she has come to know in her line of work, some of whom who were once children in the program who have since become service directors for the Boys and Girls Club.
In a recent sit-down with Herald writer Jennifer Parks, Hall talks about transitioning into her role at the Boys and Girls Club, her heartthrob crush as a child, her experiences of raising a military family and how the recession has impacted her organization’s financial backing.
Q. What was your first job?
A. The first one I have memory of was with my father’s produce trucking business. I culled peaches at the farmer’s market in Cordele. I was technically too young to be working. I wasn’t there long because I would have to take a shower every time I came home.
Q. What was the first thing you spent money on when you received your first ever paycheck?
A. I can’t remember. Back then, minimum wage was 35-39 cents an hour, so it wasn’t much of a paycheck.
Q. What’s the single most effective technique you found over the past two years for keeping employees motivated?
A. That I do paychecks. I’m very popular on payday, and I’ve never missed a payday in 36 years.
Q. What led you to your current position?
A. When I came to the Boys and Girls Club, I was a bookkeeper and went on to (become) the director of finance. My kids got older, I was a stay at home mom, and I wanted to get back into the work force. When I interviewed, I told him I needed a work home, and it really did become my work home.
Q. Do you have a role model or mentor in your career?
A. Because I worked with the Boys and Girls clubs, I came in contact with some really good friends, including board members Reba Stewart and Patsy Martin. I have an enormous amount of respect for them. Both have such a positive outlook.
Q. What is the biggest lesson you as a business leader learned from the recent recession?
A. We are at a time when services are needed more and services are harder to get, but you can find generous individuals who come to the plate.
Q. If you could turn the clock back on one aspect of technology — examples e-mail, automated phone systems, cell phones, PDAs, etc. — what would you most like to see go away?
A. I really love my cell phone, but smart phones make me feel like a dummy. There are a lot of pluses to technology, but I am dragging my feet. I am planning on getting an iPad.
Q. What is your favorite work-related gadget?
A. This is using the term gadget loosely; I’d say it’s more of a tool. My favorite tool is Excel spreadsheets. I have spreadsheets for everything.
Q. What is your favorite tradition?
A. I’m known for that. Every Christmas morning we have brunch at my house. We all get up and get together Christmas morning.
Q. What was the last book you read? Do you have things you read daily or regularly?
A. I’m more into magazines, articles and non-fiction. I read my Bible regularly, and I Google a lot. I used to read tremendously, but I couldn’t put a book down so I’d stay up all night reading.
Q. What is your morning routine?
A. I read, watch the news and get ready for work.
Q. What famous person would you like to meet, and why?
A. Ed Ames. He was a singer. He was my favorite singer and heartthrob when I was growing up. I love his music.
Q. Favorite hobbies or activity outside work?
A. I sit on the patio and read, and I love to get use out of my pool. And, I’ve been a volunteer at Chehaw for quite a while.
Q. If you could take back one business decision you made in your career, what would it be?
A. I can’t think of one.
Q. Best and worst things about your job?
A. It is a really good organization with a good purpose, and there are good people I get to work with. We have some of the best people in Albany on our board, and we come in contact with some of the best people in Albany. The worst is the frustration in dealing with the red tape involved in funding. For me, that’s the most difficult thing. Getting government funding is getting more and more complicated.
Q. The most beneficial course I took in school was?
A. When I was in high school, most girls didn’t go to college — they got married and raised children. In high school they offered business courses. That’s what I took in the last two years of high school. It prepared me for what I do.
Q. What would be your dream job if you were able to pick a position outside your current career path?
A. Something involving working with animals. I love Chehaw.
Q. Where do you see yourself on the first anniversary of your retirement?
A. Maybe still at the pool … I don’t know; I’ve worked since I was 13. It’ll be an adjustment. I will be 75 at my next birthday, so it’s time.
Q. What is the one trait a strong business leader cannot afford to be without?
A. In relation to my job, I think integrity is important, and to make decisions quickly. My boss is always good at delegating, which is good if you are a leader.
Q. What kind of music do you like listening to?
A. Ed Ames, and classical and easy listening. I watch “The Voice” and “American Idol,” so I listen to that music, too.
Q. What do you think is the biggest change Albany will see in the next 10 years?
A. I can’t imagine. I hope it changes for the better.
Q. What was the best vacation you’ve ever taken? Why?
A. We were a military family. We lived in Germany, and I was able to go to countries throughout Europe and I never got tired of it.