Grit & Grace: The Story of Gabrielle Hays & Rachel Gordon

Your early 20’s can be a list of highs and lows. Many of us were/are trying to figure out what we would do once college was over and we received our first Sallie Mae bill. Maybe you were/are trying to navigate the real world looking for your dream job or your “perfect” relationship. We rarely think of becoming an entrepreneur or building our brand in our early 20’s. I found two talented and fearless young business-savvy women who have shown me that age is nothing but a number and there’s no age limit on when you can become a boss.

Gabrielle Hays is a 23-year-old young woman from St. Louis and found her love for journalism as a high school student. Gabrielle went to college at the University of Missouri-Columbia and made sharing the stories of others her mission. “I picked journalism because I wanted to see more people represented in the media. I wanted to tell stories and to learn about people who came from backgrounds of all kinds. We all have stories of struggle and triumph and being able to share those narratives with people every day is an honor,” she said.

Gabrielle’s journey to success in her early 20’s is a product of her hard work, persistence, dedication, and passion. She utilized the resources in her environment and built genuine connections with others. She’s had the opportunity to have internships at Public Broadcasting Service and NBC Universal, which helped her develop technique in journalism. “PBS taught me the power of a story. It gave me the courage to fight to shed light on communities people would otherwise overlook. Both of my NBC internships showed me how big the world is. They strengthened my will and helped me understand the impact of this work,” she said.

Gabrielle said her internship at PBS in St. Louis was her favorite because it showed her the power of a reporter’s voice. The program initiative was called American Graduate, and they report on why graduation rates are lower in certain parts of the city.

“I was interviewing people my age and to talk to people that come from where I come from but also look like me made me want to do this work because you realize how much of a resource you can be to people, but also how many stories are out there, that people don’t know about,” Gabrielle said.

Now, we’ve all had times when we doubt our abilities and purpose on this earth. Gabrielle said she always tried to keep a positive attitude,

“I experienced self-doubt just as much as the next person. I’d say we all have those days. What I try to remember is that not only am I here for a reason but also that so many people fought for me to be here. My mother literally gave everything. So if she could keep going, so can I,” Gabrielle said.

A positive outlook on life is something that takes time and practice, however as you get better at it, you will start to see doors open for you that you never thought you would.

"I’ve done so many stories on so many topics. But one thing I will always admire is people who have the courage to speak out after experiencing tragedy. People who’ve lost loved ones or people who’ve been hurt. When they take the time to look at me and relive one of their worst days, I try to honor that," she said.

Rachel Gordon is a 24 years-old Philadelphian businesswoman. Rachel is the CEO/ Director for Personally Rachel Group which was started in 2016, which is a woman-led creative agency to help build businesses from the ground up or recreate an existing brand. Personally Rachel Group demographic is millennial women and does it all from content strategy, execution, partnerships, collaborations, and experiential production. Wait, but it doesn’t stop there, she is also the co-founder of Network to Net Worth which launched in 2019 and is a national conference for women from creativity, industry and professional, serving as a resource and community.

During the conversation I had with Rachel I asked her what some of her passions were and she said, “The reason we want to service millennial brands is that a lot of finances aren’t there and we want to invest and show that we believe in people”. Rachel’s business, Personally Rachel Group, works with all kinds of budgets and services businesses at any stage, whether you have been in the game for 15 years or need help getting your idea off the ground, Rachel is your girl!

Having one job is enough, but in this day in age multiple streams of income are vital! I asked Rachel how she keeps everything in balance and she said, “Time management, discipline and knowing when to slow down,” As “I have had a full-time job running both companies, contracted positions and no job while running both companies and I do what works for me at the moment and what I feel is right.

Some people say you’re not a real entrepreneur if you’re not full time, but I don't believe that, if you can make it work and you need to work 9 to 5 to make ends meet and work on your business, then do it!” Rachel said.

Both of these ladies exude the definition of Grit and Grace as they are both on their grind to the top of their goals! They are ambitious, goal-oriented, and have found a way to make their passion a reality. The biggest lesson I have learned from talking to both of these ladies is that you should always keep going and don’t stop until you achieve what you want. Surround yourself with like-minded people to keep you going even when you don’t feel like it or don’t believe in yourself. The power of manifestation is real and more than half the battle is you fighting with yourself, once you get past the self-doubt or comparing yourself to the “competition”, you have already won! These ladies have made a way for themselves as nothing came easy nor was anything handed to them. They made the right connections, participated in programs, asked the right questions to make it to the place they are at now! To be 23 and 24 and to have the courage to start a not one but two business and go out every day to be the voice of the community is amazing! The great thing is that Grit and Grace are going to mean something different to everyone who falls under this category.

“When I think of Grit and Grace first and foremost I think about ambition and that willingness to go hard… you’re allowed to be a masterpiece and working progress at the same time. I think Grit and Grace really encompass that.. You can show courage and that you’re a boss but also a human being that feels and wants what’s best for everyone in the room”. -Gabrielle Hays

“Grit means I am constantly driving towards my goals, I'm relentless, persistent and grounded with my vision, ready to face the obstacles that come along with that. Grace is, having grace with yourself and giving yourself time to recuperate when you’re drained and exhausted. Giving yourself the grace when things don’t work out the way you envisioned”. -Rachel Gordon