Working for City GrowthThe city of North Las Vegas has developed into a desirable location to live, work and play, due in part to the efforts of Gina Gavan. As the director of the Economic Development Division for the city, she is responsible for increasing and diversifying the economic growth for the city through business attraction, expansion and retention.
Many know her as the founder and visionary behind Project Dinner Table, a purpose-driven platform rooted in community engagement and social responsibility. Gavan also is the founder of Tribal Minds, an innovative Las Vegas-based consulting firm specializing in ground-up strategies, brand and sponsorship management, social responsibility and cause-oriented marketing. She has developed sharp expertise in cause mobilization and community advocacy, and in taking ideas from concept to implementation.
Gavan grew up in Bloomington, Indiana, and received her Bachelor of Science degree in liberal arts from Indiana University. She moved to Las Vegas in 2000 seeking opportunity, which she found. “I could reinvent myself. All of the things I’ve done from working for media companies, a sports team and real estate developers, then owning my own businesses to now working in economic development. The business climate here is very entrepreneurial,” Gavan said. “It’s been a great place to evolve professionally by wearing a lot of hats, being fearless, and simply making the decision to not only work and live here, but to simply get involved in the community.”
As for her current position, Gavan was seeking a new challenge to apply all she learned in her career and was thrilled when she was hired. The inspiration that drives her forward in any kind of work she has ever done has been rooted in her ability to develop, deepen and refine her skills and talents. According to Gavan, “What I love about my role at the city is that every day I have this opportunity to continually evolve through the knowledge I’ve gained, to problem-solving to creativity to deepening connections, and, more importantly, it’s an outlet for my passion in developing and building communities. All of this is present in what I do for the city.”
She also finds inspiration in people, nature, words, art, and in her own head and heart. One book that has had a profound affect on her is “Leadership the Eleanor Roosevelt Way,” by Robin Gerber. This book made her realize how much power women have and “that if we can be courageous enough to tap into it and not be afraid of our own success that anything is possible,” she said.
She also took the approach to seek out successful people and essentially interview them in an informal way to find out what were the driving factors in their life that made them fail or succeed. She also sought out advice from them. Her curiosity and drive to learn and to succeed has been her biggest teacher.
Gavan has paid it forward with many people, including Carolina, who actually started out as her daughter’s babysitter. Carolina eventually worked as Gavan’s intern one summer, helping in the business by doing some community engagement, marketing and organizational work. She attended college and graduated from Northeastern University in Boston, studying public health and food. Carolina has since started several community outreach programs for impoverished neighborhoods through her connection to healthy foods and nutrition, as well as movement through dance. Recently she graduated with a certificate degree in management of community organizations from Tufts University. “She is a very special human who offers this world a deep passion for people and creating outlets for a more healthy and connected life,” Gavan said. “I’m really proud of her and I can’t wait to see what she does next.”
Personally, Gavan enjoys spending time with the special people in her life, including her daughter, boyfriend and friends. Gina Gavan is a determined Fearless Female.